Every once in awhile a knockout will happen and it will make you think “Will this guy be able to get up”? It’s a scary notion to think that an athlete who devotes all his time and energy to training in combat sports may have it all taken away with a single strike.
As fans we take for granted the risks that go into stepping into a cage or ring and be willing to put your body in harm’s way. There is something very unique and very intimate about combat sports that makes you legitimately feel sympathy for the defeated combatant. We form these relationships with the athletes in our head that doesn’t happen in other sports and that’s what makes combat sports so enthralling. Here are 5 of the worst knockouts to ever happen in MMA.
–Alistair Overeem vs. Kazuyuki Fujita – K-1 – Dynamite!! Power of Courage 2009
This won’t be the only “REEM” appearance as ever since packing on the horse meat and moving up to heavyweight the beastly Dutchman has produced some nasty violence in the ring and the cage. This is a fight that plain and simple should have never been made. Fujita, a favorite of mine in the glory days of Pride, was and is in the twilight of his career. Once known for his ability to take tremendous amounts of punishment thanks to his larger than normal skull Fujita gave up age, reach, strength, ability etc. etc. etc. in this fight and ended up taking a knee from the REEM that ultimately had everyone, including Alistair, worried for “Iron Head’s” health as he was carried out on a stretcher. Fujita hasn’t fought since.
-Marlon Sandro vs. Tomonari Kanomata at Sengoku 12
If you were comparing boxing to MMA you might akin Marlon Sandro’s right uppercut to Joe Frazier’s left hook. The Nova Uniao Featherweight may have the most power of even any lightweight, the guy has just natural face melting punching power. In a little over 3 months Sandro fought Masanori Kanehara and Tomonari Kanomata and both could make this list, but I’ll go with his 9 second destruction of Kanomata at Sengoku 12 that ended with one of those nasty uppercuts.
-Alistair Overeem vs. Tae Hyun Lee at DREAM 4
Here is Ubereem in 2008 fighting another guy that had no business in the ring with him and when fights like these get made someone is bound to get hurt. Lee was 1-1 in MMA coming into the fight, losing his debut to the immortal Ricardo Morais. Alistair puts his lights out quickly and has everyone ringside thinking why was he allowed to fight this guy again? Lee has never fought MMA again.
-Matt Lindland vs. Vitor Belfort at Affliction: Day of Reckoning
Matt Lindland was just recently a part of another scary KO at Strikeforce on December 4th when Robbie Lawler starched him, but what happened on January 24th, 2009 was a whole other level of frightening. Lindland stepped into the Affliction ring against Vitor Belfort, a fighter who historically had trouble with his wrestling and grinding style. Well Belfort kept the fight standing long enough to land a perfectly timed left straight that put Lindland on queer street. Belfort followed up by jumping into side mount and landing numerous devastating unanswered blows to the head. It took what seemed an eternity to bring Lindland to and finally he ended up in a neck brace, but was able to congratulate Vitor and walk out of the arena.
-Dan Hornbuckle vs. Akihiro Gono at Sengoku 9
In the third round of a fight between these 2 Welterweights at Sengoku 9 Dan Hornbuckle landed a picture perfect high kick that would make Mirko Crocop blush. A perfectly placed shin to the face put Gono out before his head bounced off the canvas and the collective jaws of everyone in the Saitama Super Arena dropped to the floor. Gono never came to in the arena even after being taken out on a stretcher, but he would eventually be ok and make a full recovery.