The knockout is the exclamation point of mixed martial arts. There's no more definitive way to finish a fight than to leave your opponent unconscious on the mat.
MMA has seen some truly devastating KOs, but its also seen some downright bizarre finishes.
10. Gray Maynard vs. Rob Emerson (The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale)
Sometimes fighters can get a little overzealous -- they may overextend on a punch, causing themselves to go off-balance, or gas while fighting for a submission. In the case of Gray Maynard, he threw everything he had into this slam… including his head, which was rudely introduced to the octagon mat.
Though Emerson tapped out following the takedown, Maynard was knocked silly and the bout was declared a draw.
9. Igor Vovchanchyn vs. Gary Goodridge (Pride 2000 Grand Prix finals)
Igor Vovchanchyn was probably the most feared striker in the early days of PRIDE Fighting Championships. Going into the 2000 open-weight grand prix he was one of the heavy favourites to win the tournament.
In the quarter-finals of the competition, he landed a devastating over-hand right that sent Gary Goodridge tumbling across the ring like he was Glassy Joe in "Mike Tyson's Punch Out!"
8. Mark Kerr vs. Yoshihisa Yamamoto (Pride 27: Inferno)
At one point, Mark Kerr was one of the hottest prospects in MMA -- having destroyed opponents in the UFC and vale tudo competitions.
His time with PRIDE began well enough, but eventually his success in the ring just came to a halt. He began racking up some serious losses, the worst of which came at the hands of Yoshihisa Yamamoto (whose current MMA record stands at 13-23-0).
While attempting a takedown, Kerr ended up driving his own head into the mat, knocking himself out cold.
To add insult to injury, Yamamoto followed it up with couple shots to the face and then proceeded to celebrate as if he had just knocked out Optimus Prime.
7. Anderson Silva KOs Tony Fryklund (Cage Rage 16: Critical Condition)
Considering how broad and open-ended MMA can be, it's somewhat surprising that you don't see a wider variety of techniques on display. There are exceptions -- the Shinya Aoki butt-scoot, for example -- but by and large, most fighters tend to stick to the same tried-and-true maneuvers.
Because of this, it's always a treat to watch Anderson Silva fight -- there are so many ways he can finish an opponent and you never really know what he's going to do next. (Hell, he's probably even capable of knocking someone out with a spinning back head-butt… as soon as he figures out how to execute one.)
A case in point is this crazy back-elbow he used on Tony Fryklund.
6. Matt Lindland KOs Matt Lindland
Matt Lindland vs. Falaniko Vitale (UFC 43)
There's been a bit of a theme here of wrestlers knocking themselves out while attempting takedowns and slams. Consider this the end of that theme.
5. Scott Smith vs. Pete Sell (UFC: TUF 4 Finale)
Pete Sell looked to have Scott Smith wounded with a stiff body shot. However, as he went in for the kill, Smith put everything into one big Hail Mary shot, dropping Sell.
4. Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton (UFC 34: High Voltage)
While trapped in a triangle choke, Matt Hughes lifts Carlos Newton up and rests him against the cage.
The pressure from the submission causes Hughes to temporarily black out and powerbombs Newton to the mat, knocking him out. Hughes' immediate reaction remains funny to this day.
3. Tyler Bryan vs. Shaun Parker (LOF 25: Breaking Point)
Two men enter, neither man leaves.
Since the fight is only eight seconds long, any write-up would last longer than the bout itself. You should probably just watch it.
2. Gilbert Yvel vs. Atte Backman (Fight Festival 12)
We've all had our moments of blind fury towards referees -- hell, a lot of the time they deserve every second of it. But in the case of Gilbert Yvel, he assaulted a ref who was simply trying to do his job.
After several attempts to reposition the fighters, the ref ate a huge right hand from Yvel.
A black-eye for the sport of MMA.
1. Heath Herring vs. Yoshihiro Nakao (K-1 - Premium 2005 Dynamite!!)
For years I've told people that MMA has something for everyone -- action, drama, excitement, action, athleticism, action, and now romance. Well… not really.
With the exception of the ceremonial touching of the gloves, no part of your body is allowed to make contact with your opponent's while the referee is giving his final instructions. So naturally, Nakao's idea to kiss Herring on the lips had "bad idea" written all over it.
Herring didn't take to kindly to this and dropped Nakao with a shot right on the chin. Since both fighters broke the rules, the match was called a no contest.
You can't really blame Nakao, though -- how was he to know that someone with a nickname like ‘The Texas Crazy Horse' would flip out?