What Anthony Pettis did last night in the WEC’s final event against Ben Henderson at the Jobing.com arena in Glendale, Arizona, is something that we will be telling our grandchildren about in the future for years to come.
Instead of reminiscing about the days where we used to be able to buy a candy bar and a pack of Trojans for a nickel, we will be telling all future generations about the insane leaping kick Pettis dropped on Henderson within the fifth and final round of the fight.
It was the type of out of this world technique that further proves my point that MMA is undeniably the most exciting sport in the entire world, bar none.
While Pettis’ kick, which was later renamed the Showtime Kick, was arguably the flashiest move ever landed in the cage, it wasn’t the only one.
Let’s take a look back at some of the flashiest finishing maneuvers in the sport’s history.
By finishing, I don’t necessarily mean fight ending, because obviously Pettis didn’t finish Henderson with that kick.
But anytime a fighter lands a crazy technique that just comes out of nowhere, it really doesn’t matter if he ends the fight with it or not.
I was sitting there live cageside with B/R and MMA Weekly’s Erik Fontanez and we, along with everyone else in the arena, were in complete awe at what we just witnessed.
We just could not believe that Pettis was able to land and drop his opponent with such a high risk maneuver.
Let’s not forget, the first four rounds of the fight were extremely grueling and competitive.
The fact that Pettis pulled off such an unbelievable strike in the fifth round of a championship fight just goes to show you how talented this young 23 year old is and could be in the future.
Yves Edwards was the most versatile lightweight in the world at a time where the sport and the 155 lbs division weren’t recognized by anyone aside from die-hard fans.
Developing a style called “Thugjitsu” Edwards blended violent standup technique with a devastating submission game.
After compiling an impressive five fight win streak in the UFC, Edwards faced Josh Thomson at UFC 49 and finished Thomson with an incredible leaping head kick knockout that is still shown on highlight reels.
In 2001, eventual one-time welterweight champ Matt Serra made his debut with the UFC. Serra fought Shonie Carter at UFC 31 in the second UFC event under the Zuffa banner (Zuffa officially purchased the UFC after UFC 29).
Serra and Carter fought a competitive two rounds with Serra seemingly up on points going into the third.
With just seconds left in the fight, Carter lands a swift spinning back fist knocking Serra completely out cold.
To this day, it was the only time that the former welterweight champion has ever been knocked out in a fight and it still haunts Serra in highlight reels.
An exciting finishing maneuver isn’t limited to the striking game.
There is just something about a beautifully executed submission hold that, under the right circumstance, can blow almost any knockout out of the water.
At PRIDE 33 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Nick Diaz did just that with his gogoplata submission victory over PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi.
Unfortunately, the decision was overturned to a no-contest due to Diaz failing his post-fight drug test but that doesn’t make the submission any less spectacular.
Before he was the undisputed UFC middleweight champion, Anderson Silva was the 185 lbs title holder of the U.K based Cage Rage promotion.
After destroying both Jorge Rivera and Curtis Stout with vicious Muay Thai, Silva put his title on the line against Tony Fryklund at Cage Rage 16.
Before the fight, Silva drilled a reverse elbow technique over and over again during his training camp in Brazil.
The idea was to throw his opponent off guard and finish in unbelievably devastating fashion. I think it’s safe to say that he accomplished just that and then some.
While not quite as spectacular as Pettis’ kick, Alan Belcher’s superman punch off the cage against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 100 was still very memorable.
Belcher didn’t drop Akiyama with the punch but he did connect and it was something that was never seen before in the Octagon.
One fight prior to destroying Mike Brown for the featherweight title, Jose Aldo met Cub Swanson at WEC 41.
With four consecutive stoppage victories in WEC preliminary card fights, Aldo was a familiar face among hardcore fans but relatively unknown to the casual observer.
However, all it took was a mere eight seconds for a large portion of those casual fans to hop on the Aldo bandwagon.
Click the video above and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Over the course of a year and a half, the Bellator Fighting Championship has seen their status in MMA grow at a rapid rate.
They can thank most of their rise in popularity to Toby Imada for his submission of the year victory over Jorge Masvidal at Bellator 5.
Imada’s incredibly rare reverse triangle choke victory became an overnight hit on YouTube and put more eyes on the upstart promotion.
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has provided us with some of the most vicious head kick knockouts that the sport has ever seen.
His infamous catchphrase “right kick, hospital… left kick cemetery” was once the most feared pre-fight quote in the game. Filipovic truly was a master of the head kick so instead of highlighting one particular finish the video above highlights all of them.
At UFC 70, the entire world was in complete shock after witnessing the main event between Gabriel Gonzaga and PRIDE icon Mirko Filipovic.
As I mentioned in the previous slide, “Cro Cop” had made a career out of knocking opponents out with high kicks.
But on that particular night, Filipovic became a victim of his own technique as Gonzaga sent the Croatian crashing to the mat with a thunderous head kick heard around the world.
Masakazu Imanari is the type of fighter that specializes in one particular technique; the leg lock.
If he comes even remotely close to locking in the maneuver, there is at least a 90% chance that he is going to either win by submission or leave with his opponent’s leg in a doggy bag.
Don’t believe me? Well just watch the video above featuring Imanari’s 2003 bout with Jorge Gurgel and try to tell me, with a straight face, that you don’t feel pain just from watching that.
In his prime, Bas Rutten was the most devastating striker in all of mixed martial arts. The liver kick was “El Guapo’s” bread and butter technique and if you watch the video above you’ll understand why.
In one of the most memorable MMA fights of all time, Quinton Jackson squared off with BJJ expert Ricardo Arona at PRIDE-Critical Countdown 2004.
Usually, technique will overcome power but when you have Jackson’s strength sometimes not even technique can save you.
Such was the case in this fight as Jackson powered out of Arona’s triangle choke by lifting Arona up into the air and slamming him unconscious to earn the knockout victory.
Any Jiu-Jitsu coach will tell you that when it comes to triangle chokes you should never attempt to slam yourself out.
Nine times out of 10, it usually just makes the choke even tighter but “Rampage” was a rare case.
MMA fans were first introduced to the versatility of Jon Jones at UFC 94 against TUF veteran Stephan Bonnar.
Jones displayed a ton of athleticism and technique landing an unorthodox spinning elbow strike on Bonnar. He also utilized a solid Greco-Roman wrestling base in his German Suplex-esque slam that excited the crowd as well.
Mitch Ciccarelli is the sexiest columnist in MMA but according to some (thanks to Erik Fontanez) he is known as the creepy white guy who “allegedly” put his phone number in Brittney Palmer’s black berry at WEC 53.
A staff writer for Heavy MMA in addition to being a featured columnist here on B/R, Ciccarelli hosts TUF Crap Radio every Sunday via Blog Talk Radio.
In March 2011, Ciccarelli officially begins his career with the U.S Air Force.
Follow this ridiculously good looking MMA writer on twitter, unless you have herpes.
Don’t miss TUF Crap Radio this Sunday night starting at 4 pm PST/ 7 pm EST.
Former Strikeforce ring girl and current Shark Fights ring girl Nicole Craner and Combat Lifestyle’s Tracy Lee will join Mitch Ciccarelli for some super-shmexy MMA discussion.