Best UFC finishes of all time
If there's anything we want to see more than a great fight, it's a great finish. When it comes to highlight reels in professional sports, the UFC's can match up with the very best of them. It emphasizes one of the most intriguing parts about combat sports: That truly everything can change in a single moment.
There have been countless finishes in the UFC's 20-year history (heck, they award two cash bonuses every event for the top ones). Ranking them in terms of technique, circumstances and just jaw-dropping appeal is a major task, but here are the Top 10 according to ESPN.com.
No. 10 (tie) Anderson Silva def. Chael Sonnen (UFC 117): Sonnen had him. It was going to be one of the greatest upsets in UFC history. He'd talked so much, but he had backed up every single word -- and then it was all gone, as though it never happened.
No. 9 Scott Smith def. Pete Sell (TUF 4 finale): Bananas. Smith reeling from a deadly body shot, can't breathe, pretty much finished. Sell runs after him, and somehow, Smith throws a perfect, defensive, crushing right hand that knocks him out.
No. 8 Anderson Silva def. Forrest Griffin (UFC 101): An unforgettable moment in UFC history. Hands dropped, slipping punches, Silva knocks out Griffin with a jab while moving backward. Stop it, Anderson. Stop it.
No. 7 Frank Shamrock def. Igor Zinoviev (UFC 16): Landing a knockout punch is great. Choking an opponent into submission, a pretty awesome feat. Slamming a man so hard to the ground a fight is over? That is just boss.
No. 6 Frank Mir def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (UFC 140): Nogueira had him. Mir was rocked, knocked down, nearly unconscious, but somehow a limb materialized for one of the greatest submission heavyweights of all time. What a comeback.
No. 5 Chris Weidman def. Anderson Silva (UFC 162): The unimaginable happening. Anyone can lose on any given night, but watching Anderson Silva's eyes roll back and his body hit the floor was surreal.
No. 4 Tank Abbott def. Steve Nelmark (Ultimate Ultimate 1996): Abbott rocked Nelmark from one side of the cage to the other, but a final right hand behind the ear turned him into a contortionist. An awkwardly, slumped future Internet gif contortionist.
No. 3 Edson Barboza def. Terry Etim (UFC 142): Like a violent ballet move. Real fights in a cage don't always look like fights in a movie, but this kick by Barboza had Hollywood written all over it.
No. 2 Dan Henderson def. Michael Bisping (UFC 100): Some finishes are special because of the story behind them; others simply for how spectacular they are. This was both. Bisping poked the tiger's cage during "The Ultimate Fighter" show, and the tiger ate him.
No. 1 Anderson Silva def. Vitor Belfort (UFC126): Maybe the most famous kick thrown in the Octagon. Front kicks have been incorporated into martial arts for centuries, but this single one to the face, to drop one of the best strikers in UFC history? Unreal.