The overhand right is as common in MMA as goals are to soccer. Fighters like Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson can attribute some of their most memorable career highlights to this punch, as can numerous others.
Great fighters around the world have suffered defeat at the hands of this legendary attack. It doesn't have the flash of a flying knee or a head kick, it might not be as technical as a well placed jab, it might lack the intrinsic beauty of a well placed submission, but one thing is certain; this punch can and often does end fights at a moment's notice.
The list that follows are my top picks for MMA's favorite punch. We will see iron chins being bent, glass jaws being shattered, and egos being deflated at the end of one mighty swing. We will watch as knees buckle and backs meet canvas. We will see what has come to be expected of the overhand right: knockouts. Whether it's ending the fight or leading to it, spectacular finishes are sure to follow. Here's my take on the top 10 overhand rights to ever end a fight.
Gary Goodridge and Oleg Taktarov are two names that are often associated with the UFC's early years. Goodridge had a much more lackluster UFC career than that of Taktarov. While Taktarov would amass a record of 6-2-1 and win the UFC 6 tournament, Goodridge would go on to have a 3-3 record for the company and fall short when faced with high level competition.
It was fitting that two men known for the UFC's early days would take part in Pride FC's inaugural event. Taktarov looked dwarfed in comparison to Goodridge when stepping into the ring and found himself getting outclassed throughout the fight. Soon the inevitable followed and Oleg was put to sleep by a vicious right hand. This would be Pride FC's first knockout, and one of its most memorable to boot.
Video: Goodridge vs. Taktarov from Pride 1 (knockout comes around 2:24)
Demian Maia and Nate Marquardt are two of the UFC's best middleweights. Entering this bout, Maia held an undefeated record of 11-0 while Marquardt had just come off back to back TKO victories against Martin Kampmann and Wilson Gouveia.
Many thought this fight would become a grappling battle between the two Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts, but Nate "The Great" thought otherwise. As Mike Goldberg pointed out, every fight starts standing. It didn't take long after the start of the fight for things to hit the ground however; too bad for Maia it wasn't in the way he expected to get there.
Video: Marquardt vs. Maia from UFC 102
Tim Sylvia is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion. He's fought and beaten some of the sports best, and for some time was considered one of the top fighters in the world.
He was scheduled to face Olympic gold-medalist in boxing, Ray Mercer, in a boxing match following his losses to Minotauro Nogueira and Fedor Emelianenko. Days before the fight was to occure, the fight was switched to be held under MMA rules. Surely, Sylvia had nothing to worry about.
Too bad Sylvia forgot something, never stand still in front of a boxer.
Video: Mercer vs. Sylvia from Adrenaline MMA 3: Bragging Rights
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, was once considered the best light-heavyweight in the world. After the collapse of Pride, he was introduced to the UFC. Following a submission loss to Forrest Griffin, an unenthused victory over an exhausted Mark Coleman, and a knockout of Chuck Liddell who was coming off yet another devastating knockout loss to Rashad Evans, Shogun was set to face champion Lyoto Machida.
Machida was undefeated and had thoroughly trounced his last two opponents in Thiago Silva and Rashad evans, both by way of knockout. Surprising to most, Shogun entered the fight and brought the fight to Machida, landing almost double the amount of strikes Machida did over 5 rounds. He seemed to have won a clear cut unanimous decision, but the victory was awarded to Machida.
In their rematch at UFC 113, Shogun made sure judging would be unnecessary.
Video: Shogun vs. Machida 2 compilation
This might possibly go down as one of the oddest moments in UFC history. Paul Buenetello earned a shot at Andrei Arlovski's heavyweight championship with his 6 fight win streak that saw all 6 fights finished. Heading into his fight with Arlovski, it was presumed that fists would fly as these two predominant strikers faced off.
Fists did fly, but unfortunately, nobody saw it. Sure thousands of people were watching and it was aired nationwide via pay per view, but most people had no clue what had happened. This clip goes to show you, a well placed over-hand right isn't always pretty but it gets the job done quick.
Video: Arlovski vs. Buenetello from UFC 55
Robbie Lawler had a tough night ahead of him. Lawler has always had knockout power, but it has often come at the expense of technique. Manhoef on the other hand is a K-1 level kick boxer with explosive power in all four limbs.
As the fight began, Manhoef began to unload on Lawler with powerful leg kicks. He stalked Lawler around the ring continuing to batter Lawler's legs and unloading on him with harsh combinations. Lawler was already limping, and had taken some punishing shots to the rest of his body as well.
When it looked like the fight was going to be over for Lawler, he loaded back his right hand and made sure that he'd be the one walking away the victor...even if he didn't so much walk but limp.
Video: Lawler vs. Manhoef at Strikeforce: Miami (knockout comes at 4:00 mark)
UFC 71 was bound to do one of two things. Solidify Chuck Liddell as the best light heavyweight in the world, or introduce Rampage Jackson to American stardom.
Their first meeting took place in 2003 at Pride Final Conflict 2003. Liddell had just been beaten by Randy Couture in the U.S. and looked to establish himself again by taking the Pride organization by storm. After knocking out Alistair Overeem he met up with Quinton Jackson. Jackson would go on to win the fight by TKO after thoroughly countering all of Liddell's offense.
This rematch was thought to be a much different story than the first fight. Liddell was on a 7 fight win streak, all of them finished by KO or TKO against tough competition. It turned out this fight would be different than the first, as Rampage's improvements as a fighter far surpassed Liddell's.
Video: Liddell vs. Jackson at UFC 71
Fedor Emelianenko is a dangerous man. He can knock you out, he can submit you, he can judo throw you, and he can do it all while maintaing an oddly emotionless face.
He looked to face Andrei Arlovski in the main event of Affliction: Day of Reckoning, and stamp another w in his career win column. Arlovski was coming off of a 5 fight win-streak that saw him end 3 fights by KO and one by TKO.
As the fight began Fedor looked to be in trouble. He was being stalked by the larger Arlovski and was eventually backed into a corner.
I've always heard it's bad to back a wild animal up into a corner, and after watching this fight I began to wonder if maybe Fedor was the real pitbull in this fight.
Video: The ending of Fedor vs. Arlovski
It wasn't long ago that Rashad Evans was a rising star in the UFC. His first true test of skill would come against "The Iceman" Chuck Liddell. Many thought that Liddell's sprawl-and-brawl tactics would put an end to Evans' unbeaten streak, which was largely maintained due to his wrestling prowess. He showed some knockout prowess when he faced Sean Salmon, but against a striker at the level of Liddell he wasn't given much of a chance.
The first round didn't see much action, but gave Evans some time to show off his speed and his comfortability in the standing game. When the second round arrived, things began to heat up quickly. Too bad for The Iceman that heat and ice don't tend to mix.
Video: Rashad Evans Highlight (knockout at 1:03)
This knockout is not just one of the best overhand right knockouts of all time, it is quite possibly the best knock out of all time.
No words can properly sum up how vicious this knockout was, but I'll try.
Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping were opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter. Michael Bisping ran his mouth as usual, and despite Henderson's best efforts, his team was dismantled week after week by members of Team Bisping. Only one of Henderson's fighters made it to the finale and was defeated in the end. Henderson had lost this battle, but the war hadn't begun yet.
All of Bispings badmouthing carried over to UFC 100, where he ensured that he would conquer Henderson much like his UK team was able to do to Henderson's US team. Bisping's words ended up meaning very little come UFC 100 as Hendo's right arm did the talking that night.
Video: The ending to Henderson vs. Bisping at UFC 100
Why Morgan Freeman? Why not? Have you not watched Shawshank Redemption?
Well...that was random...
Those were my picks for the 10 best knockouts by overhand right in MMA history. If I'm missing any, let me know. If you disagree with the order, let me know. Mind you, these are just my favorites but I'd love to hear from the rest of you about yours!