Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Chris Bright vs Ian Swart fight prediction - CFL 01

Cape Fight League 01 is scheduled for this weekend in Cape Town. The main event will be contested between two fighters who are no strangers to each other, Chris Bright and Ian "Chucky" Swart.

On paper this fight seems very much like a mismatch. Chris Bright (#2 MMASA Lightweight Rankings) is somewhat of a legend in the South African MMA scene, carrying a record of 26-3, the Port Elizabeth resident has competed at the highest level and yet to lose in his favoured lightweight division. Ian Swart on the other hand has not won a fight in his last seven appearances, but still has a respectable 11-6 record. Add to this, the fact that Bright dispatched of Swart at EFC 03 in May 2010 and it is no surprise that Chris Bright will be an overwhelming favourite come Saturday night.

This is MMA though, and with Swarts background in boxing, he always carries a punchers chance. Still it would be negligent to predict anything other than a Chris Bright submission victory. The BJJ brown belt is too well versed on the ground, and with his experience in the cage, should have no problem getting Swart to the mat and finishing it from there. I predict Christ Bright to win a one sided fight via submission in the first round.

EFC Africa 13 - Matches to make in Cape Town

We are only a month into the new year and already there has been talks about the EFC's much anticipated venture into the Cape Town MMA scene at EFC Africa 13. Already a staple in Johannesburg, it is no surprise that the promotion has opted to head into the second largest city in South Africa. 

There has been a lot of speculation as to who will fight in this inaugural event, especially considering that some of the country’s biggest names in MMA hail from the Mother City. Unfortunately, the EFC have already stated that the highly anticipated bout between heavyweight Capetonians RuanPotts (the current EFC Heavyweight Champion and #2 Heavyweight Rankings) and Rico Hattingh (#1 Heavyweight Rankings) will not headline the event as Hattingh is injured. This almost certainly rules out a heavyweight title bout, as short of Hattingh, no viable contender has yet been established.

While injuries have halted the possibility of a Heavyweight clash, they have done the inverse for the Welterweight division. A neck injury to Martin van Staden forced him to pull out of his EFC 12 fight with Dino Bagattin, but has ultimately thrown him into the mix for EFC Africa 13, an event he has already expressed an interest in participating in. With Bagattin stating that he will fight at EFC 12, van Staden will have to find a new opponent to enter the Hexagon with come April.

No official fights have been released, but here are some potential matchups I would like to see at EFC 13

Don Madge vs Leo Gloss (Featherweight)
Don Madge made an impressive EFC debut at EFC 11 against Wade Groth. The Muay Thai standout has an impressive resume and this would prove to be a great standing battle against two traditional strikers. Gloss will be looking to bounce back from his loss against Demarte Pena in their title fight at EFC Africa 10, and this fight will be the perfect opportunity against another hungry young fighter. Madge, a Cape Town local, would enjoy the prospect of fighting in front of his home crowd at EFC 13.

Wentzel Nel vs Alex Cheboub (Lightweight)
Both Wentzel Nel (#4 Lightweight Rankings) and Alex Cheboub (#5 Lightweight Rankings) have had an impressive run halted by Costa Ioannou and will be looking to build their way towards another shot at the Greek champion. This fight will be a great match between a talented wrestler and a talented Jiu-Jitsu player and will almost certainly be won on the ground. The winner will move one step closer to that coveted title rematch.

Martin van Staden vs Adam Speechly (Welterweight)
The aforementioned injury in the history books, Martin van Staden (#3 Welterweight Rankings) will be keen to challenge a high level contender in a bid to get a crack at Welterweight Champion Dallas Jakobi. There are few bigger than Adam Speechly (#2 Welterweight Rankings), who will certainly be looking to return to his winning ways and earn a rematch with the man who took his belt.

Darren Daniel vs Liam Cleland (Middleweight)
Liam Cleland looked slick in his fight versus middleweight title contender Jeremy Smith at EFC Africa 9. The ground specialist will be a perfect test for fan favourite Darren Daniel (#4 Middleweight Rankings) upon his return to the Hexagon. A win will certainly move both men a step closer to a title shot in the stacked middleweight division. A title which will be on the line at EFC Africa 12 McLellan vs Smith.

Normal Wessels vs JP Joubert (Light Heavyweight)
Former heavyweight champion Norman Wessels will have his decision to move to light heavyweight put to the test in this bout against Joubert, who is currently on a three fight tear. The Light Heavyweight title is still up for grabs and this would be a perfect number 1 contender match to find an opponent for Chett Meyer, who is all but guaranteed a first shot at the title. 

Andrew van Zyl vs Dain Neveling (Heavyweight)
Following his first professional loss to Ruan Potts at EFC Africa 11, Andrew  van Zyl (#4 Heavyweight Rankings) will surely be anxious to get back into the Hexagon. The former heavyweight title contender will look to rebuild his impressive winning streak, while EFC rookie Dain Neveling will look to begin a legacy in South Africa’s top MMA promotion

Sunday, 29 January 2012

UFC on Fox 2 in Restrospect

UFC on Fox 2 was a huge event for the UFC. Diminishing the importance of the fact that it was only the promotions second live event on Fox television, was that fact that two of the major divisions hung in the balance. Both the Middleweight division and the Light Heavyweight division had potential blockbuster title fights lined up - highly anticipated grudge matches that could pack arenas many times over, but before these could be made, the title challengers needed to negotiate some serious threats. En route to a title fight with ex teammate Jon Jones, Suga Rashad Evans was faced with undefeated Light Heavyweight prospect Phil Davis. While Chael Sonnen would have to negotiate Britain's Ultimate Fighter Season 3 winner Michael Bisping in order to get a second crack at pound for pound great and Middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

Fortunately for the UFC and MMA fans around the world, the major fights from last nights UFC on Fox 2 event went as predicted (UFC on Fox 2 predictions), but that is not to say there weren't surprises. While both Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen got the job done in front of a packed United Center in Chicago Illinois, their opponents Phil Davis and Michael Bisping put up a lot more resistance than was initially expected. This leaves many questions surrounding the challengers as they head towards, what appear to be guaranteed title shots against dominant champions in their respective divisions.

Rashad Evans vs Phil Davis
Rashad Evans managed to outclass Phil Davis while standing and on the ground. The former Light Heavyweight champion had Davis in precarious positions more than once in their 5 round fight at UFC on Fox 2. Despite being so dominant, Suga Rashad Evans was unable to finish Mr Wonderful, who put up an admirable yet non threatening performance in the biggest fight of his young career. Evans would go on to win a shutout unanimous decision. While Evans was never in any trouble in this fight, and seemed to almost breeze through it, he did not do much to convince me that he is ready or able to take on current Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who is a much more aggressive and dangerous fighter than Davis. Still, I am glad that the fight will happen and we should be able to put all theory to bed in April 2012.

Chael Sonnen vs Michael Bisping
Chael Sonnen started with a bang, taking Bisping to the canvas seconds into their UFC on Fox 2 bout. Michael Bisping however, had different plans and immediately popped back up and took control of the fight. Bisping was able to dictate the fight for most of the first two rounds, and showed impressive clinch work and defence from his back. Still, Sonnen largely pressed the action and was able to take The Count down a few times in the opening rounds, without inflicting much damage. The third round however was all Sonnen, who was able to take Bisping down early and gain some advantageous positions. Although somewhat controversial, Sonnen won a unanimous decision on the judges scorecards. I personally think he won the fight, though I do think a the first two rounds could easily have gone either way. Although Sonnen's victory was not altogether convincing, a lot can be contributed to a very tough opponent in the commonly underestimated Michael Bisping. Sonnen also stated after the fight that Bisping was a better fighter than Silva. This however is irrelevant, as it is Sonnen himself who will once more do battle with Anderson "The Spider" Silva, likely in Brazil in June this year.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

UFC on Fox 2 - Fight Predictions

UFC on Fox 2 is happening tonight, with a stacked main card including two fights which could very well shape the future of both the UFC Middleweight and Light Heavyweight divisions. The winners of which will certainly be first in line for title fights against two of the sports most dominant champions. This has been more than hinted at by UFC president Dana White.

Rashad Evans vs Phil Davis
Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Rashad Evans has been vying for a title shot with nemisis Jon Jones for some time now. Phil Davis, it appears, is the final hurdle. While Davis has an amazing wrestling pedigree, Mr Wonderful has not impressed me with his standup. I believe Rashad Evans will be too quick, too clinical in his standup game and will school the young up and comer, who will try struggle to get Evans to the mat. Rashad will be able to dictate the terms of the fight and will eventually finish the young wrestler in the second round.

Chael Sonnen vs Michael Bisping 
This is a very interesting matchup between two fine Middleweights. Bisping definitely carries an advantage standing, while Sonnen has shown that he can wrestle with the best. It is a tough one to call, but I must go with my instinct which tells me that Sonnen will be able to get Bisping to the ground and into his world, where he will put some standard Sonnen ground and pound on him and eventually finish the British superstar and earn another crack at Middleweight Kingpin Anderson Silva 

Friday, 27 January 2012

EFC 12 Donavin Hawkey vs Tyron Rightford fight Preview

With EFC 12 just around the corner, both Donavin Hawkey and Tyron Rightford are fired up for their Middleweight clash. The two fighters have taken to twitter to exchange pleasantries and a public interest in this bout has since ensued. This however is fighting, and all the smack talk in the world isn’t worth much come fight night. So, who will win this fight where it really matters... in the Hexagon? Either way, we are in for a brutal encounter between two warriors.

Donavin “Bam Bamz” Hawkey
Donavin Hawkey (20-7) who debuted in the EFC late last year with a first round knockout of Yehia Akram Deghidy, will look to build upon his Fight force legacy, a promotion which he dominated for a couple of years. With a background in professional boxing, Hawkey has impeccable stand-up abilities, though surprisingly, the fast majority of his victories have come via submission, which highlights just how well versed Bam Bamz is on the ground. Hawkey also has a wealth of fighting experience, having dabbled in professional boxing, won and defended titles in MMA and fought some of the biggest names in the country, including Rico Hattingh (#1 Heavyweight Rankings). Donavin Hawkey is certainly one of the most well rounded and dangerous MMA fighters in the country and will look to prove this come March 2nd.

Tyron “The Rush” Rightford
Tyron Rightford (3-0) is somewhat of an enigma in the MMA community. With his karate background, The Rush brings a somewhat unorthodox style to the cage which has baffled many of his previous foes. His striking speed and precision is beautiful to watch, and can end fights in an instant. Rightford however has not been thoroughly tested in all facets of his game, and this makes it very difficult to judge just how adept he is in these departments. If history repeats itself however, we shall never know. Fresh off a big win against Jacques Joubert at EFC 11, Tyron Rightford could catapult himself into the halls of the MMA elite with a win over Donavin Hawkey.

Fighter Comparison
Donavin Hawkey has proven time and time what a complete fighter he is, I would give him the edge over Rightford on the ground, as well as the mental edge due to his experience. Standing up, I think this could be a fairly even contest, though I do give Rightford a speed advantage, which could be significant on the night.

Hawkey vs Rightford Fight Prediction
The longer this fight progresses, the more I believe it favours Hawkey. Having more tools at his disposal and vast experience, Hawkey will look to figure out Rightford and exploit his weaknesses over time. The latter rounds, if we get there , will belong to Hawkey. That being said, I believe that Tyron Rightford will continue his vein of form, using his superior speed to land a devastating strike early on and take the upset victory via TKO in the first.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Cape Fight League 01 full fight card

The Cape Fight League has released its full fight card for its inaugural event at the Belville Velodrome in Cape Town on 4 February 2012. The fight card will feature a wide array of fights encompassing professional Mixed Martial Arts bouts, Professional Extreme Striking bouts as well as Amateur MMA bouts. Headlining the event will be a lightweight fight between Chris Bright (#2 MMA Lightweight Rankings) and Ian Swart. It will be interesting to see how this first event goes, especially with the EFC's scheduled venture into the Cape Town market in April.

Full Fight Card for CFL 01

Professional MMA fights

Chris Bright vs Ian "Chucky" Swart (Lightweight)
Alain Alunga vs Mbasa Cakta (Welterweight)
Sors Grobbelaar vs Chris Du Pont
Gavin Green vs Warrin Allison

Extreme Striking Pro fights
Dale Alexander vs TBA
Jeovani Bushby vs Pat Mafika

Amateur MMA fights
Jamie Williamson vs Matthew Granger (Featherweight)
Schalk Burger vs Dean Lotz (Lightweight)
Amedeo Musini vs Mullen Mivillier (Lightweight)
Graham Roberts vs Brandon Maddoc (Lightweight)
Regis Muyambo vs Bruno Bella Bella (Welterweight)
Themba Gorimbo vs Ivor Petersen (Welterweight)
Raymond Botha vs Pupanga Zoulu (Middleweight)
Mishal Davis vs Daniel (Middleweight)
Ryno van Zyl vs Gideon Drotschie (Light Heavyweight)
Shaun Harding vs Jean Woodman (Light Heavyweight)
Ernest Reyneke vs Johan du Toit (Heavyweight)
JP Menlin vs Morne Swart (Heavyweight)

EFC Africa 12 fightcard shakeup

EFC Africa 12 has taken its first casualty. Welterweight contender Martin van Staden has been forced to pull out of his March 2 bout with Dino Bagattin due to a neck injury. In a video released yesterday, the Fight Fight Militia fighter announced that he had been suffering from an inflamed disk in his neck, which pinched a nerve and said he would not risk permanent damage for a single fight. Below is Van Staden's youtube video release:

This is the second time that the much anticipated Welterweight clash between Dino Bagattin and Martin Van Staden has had to be cancelled. Last year, Bagattin was forced to withdraw from their EFC 10 fight due to injury.

Van Staden has expressed an interested in facing The Lion at EFC 13 in Cape Town come April, once he has fully healed and full prepared. Bagattin however, has stated that he will be fighting at EFC 12 against a yet to be determined opponent.

While this fight, which was almost certainly a number 1 contender bout, has left the Welterweight division in a bit of a predicament, there are potential replacement fights which make sense. Here are my recommendations:

Adam Speechly (#2 Welterweight Rankings) vs Dino Bagattin (#4 Welterweight Rankings)
Adam Speechly will be anxious to get back in the hexagon following his recent title loss. With Van Staden out of the picture, this fight, a rematch of their 2010 clash will certainly determine the number 1 contender and offer Speechly a potential launch pad to reclaiming his title.

Dino Bagattin vs Neil Diesel (#5 Welterweight Rankings) 
This fight would go a long way to sorting out the top 5 of the division. It's a great fight for the MMA connoisseur but may leave the division without a legitimate title contender for Dallas Jakobi, as both Van Staden and Speechly would still have a claim to the shot. It does however open up a potential bout between the Punisher and the Prodigy.

Monday, 23 January 2012

De Vos vs van Niekerk at EFC 12

The Extreme Fighting Challenge has released the details of the final fight for their upcoming event EFC Africa 12. The fight card, consisting of 11 bouts, will now include a lightweight scrap between Paul De Vos and EFC debutant Ryan Van Niekerk.

Van Niekerk, however, is no newcomer to Mixed Martial Arts and has fought some of the biggest names in the game, including Chris Bright (#2 Lightweight Rankings), Wesley Hawkey and William Bentley. Citing a need to push himself as his reason for fighting in the stacked Lightweight division, Van Niekerk will look to impress in his maiden hexagon appearance.

De Vos too has fought some big names in Brendon Katz (#3 Lightweight Rankings) and Leo Gloss. Coming off a year break, "Dynamite" will have an opportunity to start a good run with a big win over a seasoned campaigner.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

MMA fighters are athletes

As fight night approaches, it is common enough for fans to want to predict results, I myself do this religiously. But how does one determine the outcome of something as fickle in nature as a fight? The winner is usually chosen based on the fighters’ history, more often than not their last fights, or greater yet, a subconscious bias towards a favoured athlete. What other information do we have to base our decisions on, we have not been through the fighters camp with them, we do not know how hungry they are for victory... or do we? 

The weigh-ins are always a great opportunity for fans to gauge whether the athlete is both physically and mentally fit. The two are mutually inclusive. There is more to it than bulging muscles and a ripped six pack (though this is a common enough side effect), a good training camp should yield a powerful, comfortable, confident athlete at the weigh in, a poor one - very much the opposite. A fighter invariably knows when he is ready to step into the cage, when he has left everything in the gym, and this is easily perceived.

In the current era of MMA, most of the top fighters have an amazing all round technical game, and conditioning can be the decisive factor, separating otherwise even combatants. This is where the weigh-in proves invaluable in picking winners, as added to their experience and history, we now have a glimpse into what sort of shape they are in. In my opinion there is never an excuse for a professional athlete competing periodically throughout the year to be out of shape come fight time, regardless of the division.

For too long conditioning has been a secondary consideration for fighters. Fighting superstars of the past have been made and broken on conditioning alone. BJ Penn, one of the most talented fighters of our era, who stood atop the lightweight and welterweight divisions for many years often came into the Octagon looking less than impressive. As the sport evolved, Penn would lose more and more of the latter rounds and consequently fights due to poor conditioning. Conversely, current UFC Welterweight champion Georges St Pierre, seemed to build a career on conditioning alone. GSP began his career as a decent striker with an solid ground game, but brought such an impressive athletic package to the ring, that he just steamrolled his competition. GSP, who has since evolved into one of the top Pound for pound MMA fighters in the world, still maintains that which got him to the top - an athleticism second to none. This, coupled with his every increasing skills repertoire make him arguably the most well rounded MMA fighter in the world.

Fighter athleticism in South Africa
South Africa fortunately seems to have learnt from the mistakes of our predecessors and even in its infancy, our MMA community is producing some of the finest athletes in the country. It is indeed rare to see a top level fighter entering the cage in anything less than spectacular shape. This impressive conditioning practise by the elite raises the bar for the fighters attempting to catch and surpass them and will ultimately ensure that in the future being an athlete will continue to be a pre-requisite to being a great fighter.   

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Cage Men: Exploring South African MMA

I recently stumbled upon “Cage Men”, a 3 part no-holds-barred documentary on South Africa's exploding cage-fighting scene. Created by Speller Macleod productions and The Unleashed, this series briefly looks at South African MMA from a host of different perspectives, educating the audience about MMA in SA and allowing us to formulate our own, more informed, opinion on one of the fastest growing sports in both South Africa and the world.

Although just shy of twenty minutes across all 3 episodes, Cage Men, covers some of the following controversial topics:
  • Why are fans and fighters so passionate about the sport
  • Are MMA fighters athletes or savages
  • The safety and consequences of the sport
  • The implications of MMA on our communities
We also get up close and personal with some of the biggest names in MMA, including:
  • EFC Africa president Cairo Howarth
  • EFC Middleweight champion Garreth “Soldierboy” McLellan
  • Former EFC Heavyweight champion Norman “Chef” Wessels
  • EFC Welterweight fighter Wade “G.O.A.T” Henderson
  • Ex-EFC Welterweight fighter Ozzy “Daddy” de Paiva
  • EFC Welterweight fighter Remo Ralph
  • Crazy Monkey Defence system creator Rodney King
Cage Men summarises the MMA scene in SA quite nicely and is definitely worth a watch for anyone who has an opinion about MMA. It is also great to see something based on the South African community. With the sensitivity of the topics raised, it could easily have spanned many more episodes and I look forward to any additional productions which may be created in the future.

Cage Men - Episode 1

Cage Men - Episode 2

Cage Men - Episode 3

EFC Africa 12 to be broadcast live on eTV

Following the success of the Extreme Fighting Championships venture into free-to-air terrestrial television with eTV late last year, the EFC now looks forward to a historic 2012. The partnership brought MMA to the mainstream when it aired highlight episodes from EFC 10 and 11, but has much bigger plans come March 2, when Africa will be treated to its first live broadcast of an MMA event.

EFC 12, is the first of 8 EFC events scheduled from 2012 which will have their main card fights broadcast live in South Africa, and a large part of the African continent. What does this mean for MMA in SA? Only big things. eTV is the largest English television station on the continent, and will do wonders for bringing Mixed Martial Arts to the public, which can only help the sport to flourish.

EFC Africa 12 main card fights to be broadcast live
Garreth McLellan vs Jeremy Smith (Middleweight title fight)
Sean Robinson vs Tumelo Maphutha (Light Heavyweight)
Donavin Hawkey vs Tyron Rightford

Friday, 20 January 2012

Changes to EFC Africa 12 Fight card

The Extreme Fighting Championship has been forced to make some changes to their EFC Africa 12 - Mclellan vs Smith fightcard due to medical reasons. Super heavyweight turned heavyweight fighter Daniel "Tiny" Strauss was forced to withdraw from his bout with Mohmed Karim due to a clot in his leg which needed immediate attention.

The EFC were quick to replace the fight and have announced the inclusion of a Middleweight fight between decorated strikers Pete Motaung and JP Kruger. The two kickboxers are no strangers to each other, having fought twice before in kickboxing competitions, and both have a healthy respect for the other. This fight has the potential to be a real crowd pleaser, and we are almost certainly assured of a knock out.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

5 South African MMA title fights I want to see in 2012

2012 promises to be a big year for MMA in South Africa. Spearheaded by EFC Africa, the sport has been taken to the masses, and continues to grow and evolve at a rapid rate. There are also a few new productions which will hopefully add to the momentum that Mixed Martial Arts currently has within the South African community.

The year has already seen some titanic fights inked, which are most welcome. Here is my list of additional dream title fights I hope to see in the coming year. Here’s to hoping that the necessary contract work can be sorted out to make them happen, though I won’t hold my breath.

5. Demarte Pena vs Denzil Wait / Wesley Hawkey Winner (Featherweight)
Denzil Wait and Wesley Hawkey will compete in a number one contender match at EFC Africa 12 in March 2012. The winner of which will no doubt be first in line for a crack at Reigning EFC Africa Featherweight Champion Demarte “The Wolf” Pena. The young champion will have a tough challenge in either fighter, as both Wait and Hawkey bring a wealth of experience to the Hexagon.

4. Dallas Jakobi vs Martin van Staden / Dino Bagattin winner (Welterweight)
Having dropped from Middleweight, EFC Africa Welterweight Champion Dallas Jakobi still has a lot to prove in the Welterweight division. This fight offers the perfect chance for the new champ to silence his critics with a convincing win over one of the divisions stalwarts. Bagattin and Van Staden will have a chance to put up their hands for this fight when they meet at EFC Africa 12 in March, and the winner certainly deserves a chance to take the Welterweight belt from Jakobi.

3. Garreth McLellan / Jeremy Smith winner vs Donavin Hawkey / Tyron Rightford winner (Middleweight)
The Middleweight division is possibly going to be the hottest division of the year. Already we have two cracker fights set for EFC Africa 12, the winners of which must certainly square off within the year in yet another premier title bout. Throw Darren Daniel into this mix and we certainly have a plethora of blockbuster fights to keep the fans coming back for more.

2. Ruan Potts vs Rico Hattingh (Heavyweight)
This colossal bout between two of the top South African heavyweights is impossible to call, and that is exactly what makes it so exciting. Both Ruan Potts and Rico Hattingh have had stellar runs in the heavyweight division and are both considered by some to be the best, it is however time to put the theory aside and determine just who the best heavyweight in South Africa is.

1. Costa Ioannou vs Chris Bright (Lightweight)
This is the title fight I would most like to see in 2012. Costa Ioannou has looked almost invincible in his recent fights, especially when things move to the ground. Bright however, brings a world class grappling pedigree to the fight, which raises many questions about how the fight would play out if it goes to the ground, as I  suspect it would. Will the immensely talented young champion be able to defend his crown against the class and experience of Bright and in doing so effectively clean out the lightweight division? That is the question I would like answered.

5 most momentous kicks in MMA history

Kicks, a stable of traditional Martial arts, are often underutilised in MMA. However, when used properly, they are one of the most destructive weapons in a fighters arsenal. Some fighters have made a name for themselves on their kicking ability alone, enter Mirko Cro-cop, Cung Le and even featherweight champion Jose Aldo, whose leg kicks are beautifully brutal. 

MMA however is always evolving, and a new era has begun in which Martial Artists are bringing more traditional kicks into the cage, with malicious intent. Here is my list of some of the most amazing and vicious kicks in MMA history and the significance behind them :

5. Anderson Silva vs Yushin Okami
Though technically illegal, Anderson Silva’s up kick against Yushin Okami at Rumble on the Rock 8 was one of the most incredible moments in MMA history. It highlighted Silva as a freakish Athlete who could achieve what was previously believed impossible and was ironically, as he was disqualified, the beginning of an amazing 15 fight winning streak which would see Silva perched firmly atop most top pound for pound fighter lists. Silva’s ability to not only get his leg back to the necessary position, but then strike with the necessary force and accuracy, all while under constant threat of ground and pound from Yushin “Thunder” Okami, is truly unbelievable. This once in a lifetime strike is in many ways a synecdochic representation  for the truly unique martial artist that Anderson Silva is.

4. Anthony Pettis vs Benson Henderson
Anthony Pettis’ matrix-like kick against Benson Henderson at WEC 53 was spectacular on so many levels. It was a kick that to my knowledge has never been attempted before, let alone executed successfully. It was performed in the 5th round, when even the fittest fighters are fatigued and to top it off, it was a very close lightweight title fight. The sole reason that this impossibly crazy kick is not higher up on this list is that it simply didn’t finish Henderson, who managed to recover and fight up until the final bell. What the kicked lacked in effectiveness, it certainly made up in style, and was not only a fitting cherry on top of WEC’s final event, but a promise of the potential that the future held with the upcoming merger with the UFC.

3. Anderson Silva vs Vitor Belfort
Unsurprisingly, Anderson Silva once more enters this list, this time for his brutal front kick knockout of Brazilian Vitor Belfort in their Middleweight title clash at UFC 126. The traditional front kick, one of the oldest in the book, had never been favoured in the UFC and certainly never been executed as clinically, until Silva unleashed it on Belfort with lightning speed, pinpoint accuracy and catastrophic effect. Belfort was out before he hit the mat, proving just how devastating a front kick can be and etching Anderson Silva deeper into our minds as the one of the greatest fighters of all time.

2. Edson Barboza vs Terry Etim
The UFC’s second stint in Brazil would prove to be a most memorable event with amazing fights and an atmosphere second to none. One moment will be remembered above the rest – Edson Barboza’s knockout of Terry Etim. Barboza, a standout Brazilian Muay Thai practitioner whipped the Rio De Janeiro crowd into a frenzy with his perfectly executed spinning heel kick which landed cleanly on Etim’s chin, sending him rigid towards the canvas. Barboza can lay claim to the first spinning heel kick knockout in mainstream MMA history. It seemed somewhat fitting that such a spectacular moment performed by a local fighter would highlight the UFC’s return to the country of its origin.

1. Lyoto Machida vs Randy Couture
Lyoto Machida’s crane kick knockout of Randy Couture is in my opinion the greatest kick in MMA history. Popularised by Daniel LaRusso and Mr Miyagi in the eighties classic ‘Karate Kid’, the crane kick was practised by a generation of kids, who almost 30 years on had written the move off as a movie stunt which was completely impractical and unrealistic. Karateka Lyoto Machida, however, had different views, and a minute into the second round of their UFC 129 bout, the dragon unleashed a modern day rendition of LaRusso’s famous kick in front of a full house, on the biggest MMA stage of them all. The kick, delivered to the chin of UFC hall of famer Randy Couture with sadistic elegance, not only ended the MMA legend’s night, but doubled as the perfect swan song for his career. Couture would officially retire from the Octagon in his post fight interview. Lyoto Machida, the karate kid, had in a single graceful blow brought an eighties pop culture to life and ended one of the great MMA careers.