UFC: 10 Memorable Moments from Februaries Past
February is historically a month of celebration.
February has a day dedicated to those we love. We remember the trials, tribulations and contributions of African Americans who helped to shape our country, and most importantly, we annually check to see if a groundhog can accurately predict the weather (some of us more than others).
In the world of MMA, February has been the home of some of the sport's most incredible and memorable moments.
Here is a look at the 10 most memorable moments in MMA that occurred in February.
Author's Note: Recently, we published an article on the most memorable moments from UFC events on Super Bowl Weekend. Any moments from those cards are not included in this article. You can read about them here.
UFC 8 Draws Criticism for David vs. Goliath Tournament
When Don Frye showed up in Puerto Rico for UFC 8, he was a no-name hopeful making his professional MMA debut in a David vs. Goliath tournament.
Only 56 seconds later, Frye was 2-0 and heading to the tournament final against Gary Goodridge, where he would become the UFC 8 tournament champion. Score one for the Davids.
The tournament drew fire from many, and ultimately sparked the nationwide movement against the sport in 1996.
In the main event, Ken Shamrock defeated Kimo Leopoldo in defense of the Superfight championship.
UFC 12 Gives Fans a Title Unification, Two Tournaments and Joe Rogan's Debut
While the pre-Zuffa era had some lackluster events, UFC 12 was certainly not one of them.
The main event saw a collision between UFC Superfight champion Dan Severn and UFC Heavyweight champion Mark Coleman. Coleman used a neck crank to finish Severn in less than three minutes, keeping his flawless record intact.
In exactly 2:00, Vitor Belfort utilized his incredible speed and punching power to finish both Tra Telligman and Scott Ferrozzo. The wins earned "The Phenom" the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament championship.
Also, as you can see in the attached video, this event marked the first UFC appearance of future commentator Joe Rogan.
Tito Ortiz Knocks out Evan Tanner in Only 30 Seconds to Defend Belt at UFC 30
Tito Ortiz was once the most dominant fighter in the UFC. Never was that more evident than at UFC 30, when he needed exactly 30 seconds to slam future middleweight champion Evan Tanner into unconsciousness.
It was an exclamation point that ended the first UFC card after the company was purchased by Zuffa LLC.
Also on the card was a "bantamweight" title fight between Jens Pulver and Caol Uno. Shortly after, Pulver won this fight to be crowned the inaugural champion, the division was renamed lightweight to reflect divisions defined in the Unified Rules of Combat.
This was the last time that the UFC would host a non-Super Bowl Weekend card until UFC 95 eight years later.
Promotional Newcomer Paulo Thiago Shocks Josh Koscheck at UFC 95
Anything can happen in MMA, and Josh Koscheck found this out the hard way at UFC 95.
Squaring off against promotional newcomer Paulo Thiago, Koscheck was looking to rattle off a quick win to follow his December KO of the Night against Yoshiyuki Yoshida. However, the Brazilian SWAT member was not looking to be anyone's can that night.
As Koscheck came in with a jab, Thiago scored a right uppercut/left hook combo that sent "Kos" crashing to the canvas with his eyes rolled back in his head. This all happened despite the Ultimate Fighter contestant being a 9-to-2 favorite according to oddsmakers.
In the main event, Ultimate Fighter winners collided when Diego Sanchez and Joe Stevenson battled for lightweight dominance. Sanchez won the unanimous decision.
Also on this card, Demian Maia made quick work of Chael Sonnen with an incredible lateral drop that set up a fight-ending triangle choke.
Velasquez Becomes a Title Contender with Vicious KO in UFC's Australian Debut
The UFC continued their expansive ways in 2010, and in February, Zuffa moved to Australia for their first card down under.
At UFC 110, Cain Velasquez took a major step up in competition when facing PRIDE legend and former world champion Antonio Rodrido Nogueira. It was a fight that would determine the next title contender for UFC champion Brock Lesnar, and the high stakes were felt in the atmosphere.
Velasquez used exquisite boxing to KO Nogueira with a hellacious combo before following him to the ground for a quick flurry. It was the fight that launched his career and showed the world that this kid was much more than just another prospect.
Also on this card, Wanderlei Silva and Michael Bisping put on a thrilling show for three rounds. It was a razor-thin decision, although "The Axe Murderer" took home the win unanimously from the judges.
In addition, hometown Aussie made his first stride towards becoming a true contender at lightweight when he dominated Ultimate Fighter winner Joe "Daddy" Stevenson.
The UFC Returns to the Land Down Under for Penn vs. Fitch
The UFC loves to send B.J. Penn into foreign soil. In recent years, Penn has headlined or co-headlined events in the United Kingdom, Abu Dhabi as well as Australia.
Coming in against Jon Fitch, UFC 127 saw Penn outwork his wrestling-intensive opponent for the first two rounds, but get dominated in the third to earn one of the only draws in the history of UFC main events.
Also on this card, a bitter rivalry between Michael Bisping and Jorge Rivera came to a head when Bisping threw an illegal knee to a clearly downed Rivera before spitting at the corner of his recovering opponent. Rivera refused to quit due to the strike and spared "The Count" a much-deserved DQ loss.
In addition, this event saw the UFC debut of Brian Ebersole, who upset welterweight contender Chris Lytle in one of the night's featured bouts.
The UFC Debuts on FUEL TV
With 2012 kicking off a new deal between the UFC and Fox, fans were promised exclusive UFC programming on the popular network, as well as it's child networks FX and Fuel TV.
On February 15, 2012, the UFC gave fans their first Fuel TV exclusive event. It was headlined by a three-round scrap between welterweights Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez.
Ellenberger routed Sanchez in the first two rounds and was awarded a decision victory in a fight that solidified his position as a true contender at 170 pounds.
Also on this card, Team Alpha Male's T.J. Dillashaw put on the most dominant performance of his career, Stefan Struve knocked out "Pee Wee" Herman and Stipe Miocic earned a thrilling knockout against Phil de Fries in perhaps the greatest fight to ever last less than 45 seconds.
UFC 144: Benson Henderson Wins UFC Lightweight Championship in Japan
WEC founder Reed Harris couldn't have been prouder upon the UFC's return to Japan. Not only did Anthony Pettis light up Joe Lauzon with a head-kick KO, but former WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson also made headlines.
At UFC 144, Bendo proved himself to be the best in the world when he outworked tough-as-nails Frankie Edgar to become the UFC lightweight champion.
Other big moments from this card include Tim Boetsch's comeback victory over Yushin Okami, Mark Hunt's ascension towards the top by knocking out Cheick Kongo and Ryan Bader's upset victory over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
The Ultimate Fighter 17: Urijah Hall Scores Epic KO over Adam Cella
We end our countdown with the MMA moment that is still freshly scarred on our brains.
On Tuesday's Ultimate Fighter, strikers Urijah Hall and Adam Cella met in a fight that promised to provide fireworks.
Though closely contested through the first round, Hall leveled Cella with this brutal knockout with only seven seconds left on the clock.
UFC President Dana White says he has only seen five KOs like it in all of his years promoting fights.