Anderson Silva's Front Kick of Doom and 6 of the Best Kicks in MMA/UFC History
There’s something almost universal about an epic KO. Fans of Mixed Martial Arts like the sport for many reasons, reasons that sometimes divide them into groups: those that prefer the ground game over striking, those that prefer Japanese MMA rules as opposed to America’s Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, etc.
Occasionally, those groups argue with each other. But if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s this: there’s almost nothing quite as amazing as an awesome KO.
And at least in my opinion, it’s tougher to knock someone out with a kick than with a single punch or even a barrage of punches. A perfect KO kick requires exact balance, precise timing, and deadly power.
So, with that in mind, I’d like to present six of my favorite kicks from all around the MMA world: from the Ultimate Fighting Championship to PRIDE Fighting Championships to World Extreme Cagefighting to DREAM. Let’s get started.
Anderson Silva and the Front Face Kick of Doom
First up is, of course, the headlining attraction of this list: Anderson Silva. In a fight that was planned as far back as UFC 108 in January 2010, Silva finally fought a resurgent Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 in February of this year.
Belfort walked into the Octagon after an absence of over a year, but also with a five-fight win-streak that included four (T)KO’s. After several minutes of feeling each other out, Silva launched an amazing kick that caught Belfort flush and gave “The Phenom” the first straight KO loss of his career.
And in a career that was already dominated by many highlight-reel stoppages, this was one of Anderson Silva’s finest moments.
Lyoto Machida Is "The Karate Kid"
So, how do you possibly out-do a Front Kick KO? Simple: with a Jumping Front Kick KO. That’s exactly what Lyoto Machida did to UFC legend and Hall of Fame member Randy Couture when the two met at UFC 129 back in April 2011.
In the opening round of their bout, it became apparent that the “Machida Enigma” still had a few puzzles left, as Machida was able to control Couture and nullify basically all of Couture’s famed wrestling offense.
In the second round, Machida would fake both strikes and a flying knee before leaping into the air, feinting with one leg and kicking Randy Couture square in the face with the other.
Much like Machida’s championship-winning performance against former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans at UFC 98 back in May 2009, this KO kick should go down as one of the defining moments in Lyoto Machida’s career.
Anthony Pettis Is Neo from "The Matrix"
So, if you outdo a Front Kick with a Jumping Front Kick, how do you outdo a Jumping Front Kick? You do what Anthony Pettis did: you walk across the cage in a scene right out of “The Matrix”.
The final event in the history of the WEC promotion, WEC 53: “Henderson vs. Pettis” featured Benson Henderson defending his WEC Lightweight Championship against Anthony Pettis in the main event.
After five rounds of intense back-and-forth action, it became clear that both fighters needed to do something drastic to firmly tip the judges in their favor. Pettis did just that when he walked across the cage and caught Ben Henderson flush on the face, nearly knocking him out.
It was one of the best fights in WEC history, and also one of the most spectacular kicks in MMA history.
Mirko Cro Cop Scalps... Well, Just About Everybody
Skip to 1:30 for the KO
You really didn’t think I’d make a “Kick KO” list and forget Mirko Cro Cop, did you? Mirko Filipovic is perhaps the one fighter that’s most synonymous with highlight-reel finishes due to his tree-trunk legs.
One of his best Left High Kick KO’s occurred when he took down Wanderlei Silva in the Semi-Final of PRIDE’s 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix tournament.
For most fighters, a good kick results in a loud snapping sound. Not so for Mirko Cro Cop. When Mirko Cro Cop kicked a man, all you could hear was a dull thud. But that was the dull thud of solid bone hitting solid bone.
And back during his glory days, anyone who put their face bone against Cro Cop’s leg bone ended up staring at the ceiling and wondering what just happened to them… once they woke back up, of course.
Marius Zarmoskis Is "Lil Cro Cop"
Skip to 3:15 for the KO
Speaking of glory days and Mirko Cro Cop, one of the fan-given nicknames of Marius Zaromskis was “Lil’ Cro Cop” back in his glory days. In 2008, Zaromskis entered DREAM’s inaugural Welterweight Grand Prix as a “dark horse” that very few people knew about.
He then proceeded to punch his ticket to the finals after a big win over Seichi Ikemoto and a bigger win over one of the favorites to win the tournament, Japanese veteran Hayato Sakurai. The fight with Sakurai also ended with a High Kick KO, but it would be Zaromskis’ next performance that was his best.
Pitted against the 9-1 Jason High in the finals, Zaromskis blasted High early in the first round of action with a High Kick so vicious that High was unconscious before he hit the floor.
The visual of High’s lifeless body falling limply onto the ropes is one I won’t soon forget, and for a time, Zaromskis was one of my favorite “dark horse” fighters.
The One and Only "Cro Cop Killer Kick"
And now we come to the part where I’m sure every Cro Cop fan is going to hate me. After an amazing career in PRIDE FC, many PRIDE fans predicted that Mirko Cro Cop would storm through the UFC’s Heavyweight division when he debuted in the promotion in 2007.
After an easy victory over a woefully mismatched Eddie Sanchez, Cro Cop was put into an immediate “contender eliminator” bout against Gabriel Gonzaga, with the winner receiving the next shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
What happened was very simple and very brutal: after a career highlighted by amazing High Kick KO’s, Mirko Cro Cop finally got a taste of his own medicine.
Towards the end of the first round, Gonzaga caught Mirko Cro Cop with a kick that absolutely no one, including Cro Cop, saw coming. The kick resulted in a stone-cold KTFO, with one of Cro Cop’s legs bent at a hideously awkward angle as a result.
It would forever be known as the “Cro Cop Killer Kick”, and Mirko Cro Cop would never be the same.