The UFC has a proud history stretching back twenty years. Throughout the course of developing EA SPORTS UFC, we will look back at some of the greatest moments that have shaped the organization. Be sure to check out our previous Flashback Fridays and stay tuned for weekly highlights of the most memorable fights in the UFC.
Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort: UFC 126
One of the great things about a young sport like MMA is that there are a lot of firsts. The UFC’s ever-evolving class of fighters have become human Swiss Army knives in the Octagon, flashing tools and techniques that even five years ago would have only seemed possible in, well… a video game. These days, every time you tune in to a live event you’ve got a solid chance of seeing a fighter get submitted or KO’d in new and exciting ways – especially when the guy delivering the KO is Anderson Silva.
People have come to expect great things from Silva, and with good reason. Whatever you want to call it – style, intuition, natural ability – the man fights to the beat of a different drum, and the face-smashing front-kick delivered to Vitor Belfort’s melon at UFC 126 is a prime example.
This Knockout of the Night – one of seven Silva has earned in his career – was the first time anyone had ever scored a KO with a front kick to the face in UFC history. It happened at the speed of light, and connected perfectly; the ball of Silva’s foot pulverizing his opponent’s chin. Watching the fight, it’s hard to imagine what was going through Belfort’s head (yes, other than Silva’s foot…), but it happened so quickly that he barely even flinched as it came down the pipe.
After not seeing a front kick knock anyone in the UFC out for 18 years, Silva’s buddy and countryman, Lyoto Machida one-upped him less than three months later with an even better version of the move at UFC 129. Incredibly, Machida managed to pull off the exact Crane kick that Daniel-san used to defeat his Cobra Kai nemesis in The Karate Kid. Not only did he pull off the technique, but he did with such style that he kicked one of Randy Couture’s teeth clean out of his mouth and earned himself Knockout of the Year honors in the process.
The most recent face to become acquainted with the always devastating front kick belonged to Alistair Overeem, courtesy of Travis Browne at UFC Fight Night on Aug. 17, 2013. The fact that Heavyweights are now incorporating this technique into their toolbox is a testament to how well-round UFC fighters are becoming. After coming close with the kick a number of times in the fight and Overeem failing to make the adjustment, Brown finally connected, dropping the 265lbs titan for – surprise! – another Knockout of the Night.
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