Now that we have had time to take in Anderson Silva’s stunning front-kick knockout of Vitor Belfort at UFC 126, it got me thinking where does it rank in MMA history in terms of the best kicks?
There have been plenty of great devastating kicks to choose from but, this list ranks the top five of the greatest kicks that I have personally seen in MMA, both inside the octagon and outside. Feel free to comment if you think I missed someone out or have a different opinion.
David Loiseau was one of the top fighters in the UFC several years ago, and most famous for his fights against Rich Franklin in which Franklin fought four rounds with a broken hand to retain his middleweight title. But Loiseau earned himself with a string of wins, including this ridiculous spinning back kick KO to defeat Charles McCarthy.
This was McCarthy’s first fight in the UFC, suffice to say that he didn’t stick around for much longer. Interestingly spinning Tae Kwon Do style kicks were considered to be ineffective by many MMA experts and trainers at the time, not after this fight.
"Right leg, hospital; left leg, cemetery"
Not only one of the best knockouts in MMA history but one of the best fights, as Mirko Cro Cop unleashed a barrage of punishment on the ‘Axe Murderer’ Wanderlei Silva in possibly the last open weight tournament in MMA history, a rematch of a previous fight which was called a draw, between two of the heaviest and most dangerous strikers in MMA, somebody was getting knocked out.
A scary knockout which left Silva motionless and bloodied on the canvas, and Cro Cop; famous for his deadly left leg proving that he remained the best striker in all of MMA.
After dominating in Pride, Cro Cop joined the UFC and things went according to plan in his first fight putting away Eddie Sanchez in the first round, but then a significant step-up from Sanchez he faced Gabriel Gonzaga, a Brazilian ju-jitsu master and Chute Box striker.
What occurred that night in Manchester still sends shivers down my spine.
Cro Cop one of the greatest strikers in MMA history, known for his high left leg-kick putting opponents away, was sent to the proverbial graveyard by his own vicious method. A right leg straight to the temple, add another few punches for good measure and you have one of the greatest upsets in MMA history, and how it happened rendered fans and experts around the world speechless.
Cro Cop ever since that fight, has looked a shadow of his previous self from the glory days of PRIDE.
Two fighters who plain don’t like each other, since the fight was first announced, to the trash talk, and then the almost-brawl at the weigh-ins with Anderson Silva wearing a mask in response to Belfort’s comments about his personality.
"I just know one thing, when you say silly things, when you do silly things, it’s because you’re worried and you’re trying to wear a mask," Belfort said. "The way I fight, and the way I am, I have respect. I just need to wear one mask, myself."
"He can see it in my eyes. I’m on fire. I’m not getting intimidated by anyone."
After a feeling-out process early on and some brief exchanges in the first round Silva unleashed something that most people have never seen before, a front kick to the face of Vitor Belfort; who to that point had never been knocked out in his MMA career, instantly putting him on the ground and finishing it off with two clean punches to finish the fight. The kick came out of nowhere but that’s the Anderson Silva way, as he secured his UFC record 13th consecutive victory.
In what can be considered one of the greatest fights of all time, this fight had absolutely everything, great stand-up exchanges, good ground scrambles and submission attempts and a kick in which Anthony Pettis entered The Matrix to execute.
The "Showtime Kick" as it now called will go down in history as one of the most ridiculously insane moves in any sport, not just MMA, this kick was seen all over the world from America to Afghanistan.
A back and forth battle with both fighters having dominating rounds and fighting for the right to be the last ever WEC champion and become the number one lightweight contender in the UFC.
Many had the fight scored two rounds each going into round five, but with 65 seconds left in the fifth round. Pettis used the cage as a launching pad with his right foot, then swatted the same foot across the champion's face, dropping him to the canvas in what was easily one of the greatest moments in MMA history, and that kick pretty much won him the final round, and the fight making him the last ever WEC champion before the merger with the UFC.
Pettis has since gone from a relative unknown to one of MMA’s biggest stars earning fight of the year awards and 2010 breakout fighter of the year awards from ESPN and Sherdog.
So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the definitive list of MMA kicks. With the young gun winning out and taking the number one spot with a move that is only supposed to be seen in ninja movies. One thing is for sure though, Anthony Pettis has a very bright future in the UFC, he will go up against Clay 'The Carpenter' Guida in his next fight which could be another barnstormer of a fight.
If you have anything to say about this list or felt that I left someone out (Rashad Evans vs Sean Salmon comes to mid), feel free to leave a comment and discuss below.
Thanks for taking the time to read my article, hope you enjoyed it.