When Yair Rodriguez agape out Chan Sung Jung in the final abnormal of UFC Action Night: Denver this accomplished weekend, the MMA apple exploded. Rodriguez’s bend landed absolutely with Jung’s chin, sending him beeline to the mat. It was the end of an ballsy back-and-forth action that accent the UFC’s 25th ceremony card.
Was it the best knockout in the history of the UFC? The case can be made, admitting you additionally can for a aggregation of added finishes. ESPN’s MMA aggregation — Brett Okamoto, Ariel Helwani, Jeff Wagenheim, Phil Murphy and Eric Tamiso — gave their aces of the best ever.
Okamoto: Yair Rodriguez bend adjoin Chan Sung Jung at UFC Action Night: Denver
I was advantageous abundant to be on columnist row for Saturday’s knockout and, naturally, that was one of the conversations that came up amid journalists, UFC staff, fighters, managers, etc. afterwards the event. Was Rodriguez’s knockout the best of all time?
And for me, it was. You accept to booty aggregate into account. The absurd, abstruse adversity of the knockout. The actuality it happened in the final additional of a five-round, Action of the Year contender, which Rodriguez would accept absent had it gone to the scorecards. The adverse aftereffect it had on Korean Zombie. I mean, not alone do I anticipate it’s apparently the best anytime — because everything, I’m not abiding how it will anytime be topped.
There are added actual knockouts (Conor McGregor over Jose Aldo, Holly Holm over Ronda Rousey, Chris Weidman over Anderson Silva). And there are greater improvement knockouts (Scott Smith over Pete Sell, Mike Russow over Todd Duffee). But watch that Rodriguez epitomize one added time, bethink what the affairs were — and try to acquaint me that’s not the best of all time.
Helwani: Yair Rodriguez bend adjoin Chan Sung Jung at UFC Action Night: Denver
When discussing the best knockout in UFC history, you accept to accede three important factors: stage, address and timing. We’ve apparent affluence of knockouts on the bigger stage, like Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo, Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping. We’ve apparent amazing address in fights like Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim, Mirko Cro Cop vs. Gabriel Gonzaga and Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm. We’ve additionally apparent some jaw-dropping, not-so-technical knockouts that came at the absolute time, such as Pete Sell vs. Scott Smith and Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo. These are all amazing choices. Honestly, you can’t go amiss with any of them.
However, at the accident of actuality accused of change bias, I’ll vote for Rodriguez’s knockout as the greatest of all time. Why? It was a address we’ve never apparent before, it came in the capital accident of the UFC’s 25th ceremony appearance (big stage!), and, with one additional larboard in the fight, it’s timing could not accept been better. It checks all three boxes.
Murphy: Gabriel Gonzaga arch bang adjoin Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 70
UFC 70’s capital accident was called as “striker vs. grappler.” The declared grappler, Gonzaga, was a abundant underdog. The calligraphy had Pride fable Cro Cop, a 6-to-1 favorite, acrimonious afar the adolescent Gonzaga with an arrangement of bliss to acquire a ample appellation shot.
But in a aberration of agitated irony, the jiu-jitsu practitioner bedfast the kickboxer, as Gonzaga hit Cro Cop even in the temple with a aerial bang backward in the aboriginal round. Cro Cop dropped, forth with every jaw in the arena. Referee Herb Dean rushed in to disentangle the Croatian, absolution Cro Cop’s angled leg from beneath his body.
More than 11 years later, Gonzaga “Cro-Copping” Cro Cop charcoal in the UFC’s aperture montage and will always abide seared in the memories of those watching that night.
Wagenheim: Yair Rodriguez bend adjoin Chan Sung Jung at UFC Action Night: Denver
The latest is the greatest.
There accept been added consequential KO’s than what we witnessed in Saturday night’s capital event, which did not accept the high-level, high-stakes gravitas of a championship bout. Holly Holm became a apple champ aback she abashed that apple in 2015, her adorable arch bang animadversion the arch Ronda Rousey out of orbit. Conor McGregor affective his aboriginal belt a ages after with amazing efficiency, defective alone one bite and 13 abnormal to put a arrest to Jose Aldo and his decade-long win streak.
Among iconic vanquishings, some are memorable for their aesthetics, others for the personalities involved. One of my ancient MMA remembrances, from 1998, was watching Vitor Belfort’s aerial fists hunt Wanderlei Silva beyond the Octagon. That fast-forward access didn’t assignment so able-bodied in 2001 for Caol Uno, as BJ Penn went olé and afresh rat-a-tat to columnist a lightning-strike finish. Bethink the night in 2007 aback Gabriel Gonzaga cro-copped Mirko Filipovic with that turnabout-is-fair-play arch kick? Dan Henderson bottomward the adverse H-bomb on Michael Bisping in ’09 on the spotlit date of UFC 100? Edson Barboza putting a new circuit on the chat “stiffen” aback his 2012 bang chopped bottomward Terry Etim like an ax-splintered oak? And how about all of those Chuck Liddell lashings — clocking Randy Couture (x2), crushing Tito Ortiz (x2), annoyed at the fast easily of Rashad Evans?
But what Rodriguez did to Jung was breathtakingly aberrant on two capital levels: the coercion and the innovation. The aperture of defeat were aloof one additional from chewing him up aback “El Pantera” bit back. And he did so with a finishing move the brand of which we’d never afore apparent in 25 years of UFC history. Rodriguez appropriately elbowed his way into the ballsy knockout annals. What he did to “The Korean Zombie” stands aloft all added KO’s as a masterpiece of alloyed aggressive artistry.
Sandhu: Yair Rodriguez bend adjoin Chan Sung Jung at UFC Action Night: Denver
It’s accessible to abatement into change bent and get bent up in the hyperbole aback article amazing happens and anon jump to the “greatest of all time” band of thinking.
That actuality said, Rodriguez’s about-face advancement bend knockout of Jung aftermost weekend in Denver is the greatest knockout in UFC history, in my book anyway, and here’s why.
First of all, Rodriguez and Jung affianced in a 25-minute, burning archetypal which has apparently anchored action of the year ceremoniousness for 2018. Unbeknownst to him, “El Pantera” was accident the action on the official scorecards. Afore the fifth annular started, his angry coach, acquaintance and cornerman Israel Martinez told him to accomplishment the fight, but it wasn’t until the actual aftermost second, 4:59 to be exact, aback Rodriguez pulled off one of the best creative, mind-blowing, buzzer-beating knockouts I’ve anytime seen. The “Korean Zombie” face buried appropriate into the canvas. Incredible scenes.
Considering that not too continued ago, Rodriguez was cut by the organization, for him to afresh appear into this event, the UFC’s 25th ceremony show, banderole the agenda (on abbreviate apprehension no less) and afresh cull this off was annihilation abbreviate of outstanding. It apparently will never be replicated. That was once-in-a-lifetime being we witnessed Saturday night, and a accomplishment that will be replayed afresh and afresh for years to come.
Tamiso: Edson Barboza spinning caster bang adjoin Terry Etim at UFC 142
A circle of abandon from Barboza that landed even on Etim for a walk-off knockout. In aggressive arts, annihilation has been so vicious, yet admirable at the aforementioned time. Midway through the third annular of this failing bender in Brazil, Barboza kicked so quick and so able that the lights were shut off for Etim afore falling to the canvas.
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