There is a reason why MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world. It’s exciting, dangerous, and dudes beat the daylights out of each other. What’s not to like?!
However this sport can change the tide with a single punch, a single kick, or a single submission and that’s what makes this sport truly unpredictable. It’s not a system of points and plays, it’s a ballet of violence that can end at a moments notice.
These are five examples of MMA finishes that no one saw coming and shocked the world.
1) Joe Lauzon vs Jens Pulver
UFC 63 boasted the supposed triumphant return of Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver. The former champion had left the organization and found success overseas in Japan knocking people out in PRIDE. His hands were like bombs and to get hit was to be .
So at UFC 63 they brought him back against the unknown Boston fighter Joe Lauzon. What happened next sent a shockwave through the UFC and MMA community alike.
Joe Lauzon has gone on to be one of the most exciting and respected fighters in the UFC today. For years he held a 100% finish rate in fights, something virtually unheard of, and continues to put on some of the best fights the organization has ever known.
2) Scott Smith vs Pete “Drago” Sell
Season four of the hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter saw a twist on the current format. Previous UFC fighters who were very talented but had fallen on losing streaks were the contestants. The winner would get a shot at the title.
However, something interesting happened during this season. Many of the fighters ended up becoming great friends as opposed to constantly trying to think of ways to beat each other. The drama of the season came from newfound friends having to fight each other in the elimination rounds. This all came to a head when friends Scott Smith and Pete Sell were scheduled to fight during the live finale of the show.
The way it ended is still considered one of the greatest and unexpected finishes the UFC has ever seen. The full fight is below, but the ending starts at 9:10
Both fighters have since left the UFC, but Scott Smith’s legendary knock out is still talked about by fans and commentators alike.
3) Fabricio Werdum vs Fedor Emelianenko
2010 saw the rise and fall of the now defunct Strikeforce organization. Posed to rival the UFC, they had their fair share of great fights and were steadily gaining momentum. A few years later, the UFC bought them out and merged all the fighters onto one roster.
However in a defining fight, Fabricio Werdum agreed to take on Fedor Emelianenko. To put it simply, Fedor had NEVER LOST A FIGHT in over TEN YEARS! Widely considered to be the best fighter to ever live and the most dangerous man on the planet with his expressionless face and killer instinct, he was the heavy favorite going into the main event.
Fedor has since retired and to his credit, his legacy will be talked about for years and years to come. Fabricio Werdum now fights for the UFC and is poised to fight for the title before the end of the year.
4) Nick Diaz vs Takanori Gomi
The now defunct PRIDE organization from Japan made its way to the US in 2007 in an attempt to expand their fan base. The hardcore MMA fans were familiar, but the general public was not and so this was meant to be a great introductory event for American viewers. What they got was perhaps one of the greatest MMA bouts of all time.
Takanori Gomi,a.k.a. the Fireball Kid, was a knockout machine. He was dropping people left and right holding a 13-1 record in PRIDE. His opponent was the smack-talking bad boy Nick Diaz, one of the few fighters who could both run his mouth and back it up. Nick had fought all over the world and was known for his durability, technique, and deadly submissions. Even still, he was considered the underdog coming into this fight and few people gave him a chance against the world-class Gomi.
The verdict was eventually overturned because a post fight drug test found marijuana metabolites in Nick Diaz’s system and ruled the match a No Contest. It did lead many journalists and MMA fans to speculate that if Diaz could beat Gomi potentially under the influence, then maybe his skills were better than he was being given credit for.
5) Gabriel Gonzaga vs Mirko Cro Cop
To understand the importance of this fight, here is a highlight reel of Mirko Cro Cop. He refers to his right leg as “Hospital” and his left leg as “Morgue.” This is why.
Gabriel Gonzaga was scheduled to fight Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 70. It was widely believed that if Gonzaga had any chance to win, it would be to bring Cro Cop to the ground and attempt a submission. For the first part of the fight, this is what happened. Then the referee stood them up and seconds later one of the craziest finishes in MMA history unfolded.
To this day, the knockout is considered one of the greatest of all time. Both fighters have since passed their prime and moved on to other organizations or fought lower-tiered fighters, but this finish remains one of the most shocking that the world has ever seen.
Tyler Paterson is a Chicago native that tours the country with his comedy band. He loves ghost hunting and writing music. But not writing music about ghost hunting.
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