The sport of mixed martial arts has come a long way since the days of no gloves, no judges and no time limits.
As MMA evolved, elite strikers learned to adjust to the game and also became more confident as they solved the grappling problem. Occasionally, someone would throw caution to the wind and try something new. During those moments, a risky strike would either go spectacularly well, or turn into an epic fail.
Take a look at the top ten craziest kicks that these intrepid combatants and technique pioneers were able to pull off.
10. Dennis Siver vs Nate Mohr
The spinning side kick is a potential fight ending technique, if pulled off correctly. Just watch Joe Rogan teach Georges St-Pierre the kick for further evidence. This move is Dennis Siver's signature kick, and he used it to turn Nate Mohr's insides into a fiery ball of pain. After Mohr's liver switched sides, Siver dived on him and finished the fight for a TKO victory at UFC 93.
9. Lyoto Machida vs Randy Couture
Coming off two tough losses to Maurico Rua and Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida badly needed a win against Randy Couture at UFC 129. This may be one of the reasons Machida pulled a secret move out of his gi pocket that Mr. Miyagi would be proud of. After leaping through the air with a switch-up, flying front kick, Couture found himself looking at the lights, and Machida took home knockout of the night.
8. Alfie Davis vs Nick Baker
Sometimes, you have to dig deeper if you want to find the good stuff. At WCMMA 25, Alfie Davis pulled off a rare axe kick knockout on Nick Baker. It's hard enough to simply land the kick, but to actually KO someone with it is super, high level, cheat-mode stuff. Davis is one the few people to pull this off, not just in MMA, but in all of combat sports. Andy Hug would have been proud. Learn more about the technique here.
7. Marius Zaromskis vs Bruno Carvalho
Many have tried, and most have failed. This is the legendary and elusive somersault axe kick a.k.a rolling thunder kick. Harold Howard, from the early UFC days, was ahead of his time, but just didn't have the accuracy. Finally, the MMA gods created Marius Zaromskis. At Rumble of the Kings, he may have been the first fighter ever to land it. Bruno Carvalho would go down in history for his brave sacrifice.
Tied with Brian Ebersole knocking out Shannon Forrester via cartwheel kick at XFC: Return of the Hulk.
6. Fabricio Werdum vs Travis Browne
Just recently, at UFC 203, Fabricio Werdum channeled Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat. As soon as the fight started, he launched himself across the Octagon with a massive, flying side kick that landed right on Travis Browne's face. Looks like Browne didn't watch the tapes: Werdum pulled off the same aerial violence against Gabriel Gonzaga and Alistair Overeem. However, this was the most immaculate execution of the maneuver yet.
5. Uriah Hall vs Adam Cella
There may have been a few other spinning hook kicks in the UFC, but none quite like this. With only six seconds left in the first round, Uriah Hall landed one of the most brutal kicks ever seen, on Adam Cella. The silence said everything. Hall—visibly shaken—looked down at Cella and uttered an almost regretful, "Crap." Dana White said it was not only one of the nastiest knockouts he'd ever seen in The Ultimate Fighter's history, but the nastiest ever in combat sports.
Tied with Edson Barboza knocking out Terry Etim via spinning hook kick at UFC 142.
4. Yair Rodriguez vs Andre Fili
This Yair Rodriguez guy is a wild man. He has pulled off spinning hook kicks, rolling thunders, even Pelé's bicycle kick. At UFC 197, it was an absolutely beautiful switch-up, flying roundhouse kick that knocked out Andre Fili. Immediately after this, the kick was dubbed the "Air Rodriguez" by internet MMA fans. You know you've made it when you've got a kick named after you.
3. Michael Page vs Ben Dishman
The single, most exciting fighter in Bellator right now, is Michael "Venom" Page. Take Genki Sudo, add shades of Anderson Silva and a dash of Jon Jones, and you've got Page. If there ever was a microcosm of Page's style, it'd be this fight from UCMMA 26: The Real Deal. Not only did he completely dominate Ben Dishman while constantly clowning him, but Page unleashed a tornado kick, and just stood there as Dishman fell. Page knew Dishman was done, he didn't even move in for the kill.
2. Marcus Aurelio vs Keegan Marshall
Once again, gold comes from unexpected places like North American Challenge 24. It seemed like just another normal, regional MMA night. However, Marcus "Lel" Aurelio had other things in mind. Aurelio tried to throw damn near every aforementioned kick on this list, until choosing the coolest one he could think of. After knocking out Keegan Marshall with this fake-out, double Capoeira kick, Aurelio, understandably, went viral.
1. Anthony Pettis vs Benson Henderson
WEC 53 was the very last World Extreme Cagefighting event before being absorbed by the UFC. With that in mind, Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson weren't going to let that moment go to waste. Both of these fighters warred with each other for almost the whole five rounds.
However, it was the last couple of minutes that would solidify the event in MMA history forever. In what is now known as the "Showtime Kick," Pettis ran up and launched himself off the cage like Vega from Street Fighter, landing a flying roundhouse kick straight to Henderson's face.
This event wasn't voted Sherdog's 2010 Event of the Year for nothing.