It Only Takes One - The UFC's Best Finishing Moves (Striking Edition)

Hendo's H-Bomb, Cro Cop's left kick, Liddell's right hand, Silva's front kick. They're all here...
UFC 100 - Henderson KOs BispingWhen talking about number one light heavyweight contender Dan Henderson on a recent media teleconference to discuss Hendo’s UFC 151 main event against 205-pound champ Jon Jones (Ed. Note - This bout has been cancelled due to injury), UFC president Dana White may have been preaching to the choir when he said, “He (Henderson) has fought everybody, at every weight class, and he’s one of these guys that will always step up and take a fight. No matter who it is. He’s knocked out the who’s who - and if you look at his skill set, he’s got an iron chin, never been knocked out, he’s a great wrestler, and he’s got knockout power in both hands.”

All true. But maybe the knockout power in both hands thing doesn’t really get its just due until you consider that Henderson’s right hand has been respectively dubbed the “H-Bomb.” And once it lands flush, more often than not it detonates on an unfortunate recipient’s chin. The way many see it, Jones’ chin will not receive a full seal of approval from fans and pundits until he eats one of those right hands and continues fighting. It’s the big question mark surrounding this highly-anticipated championship fight, and Henderson can’t wait to find out the answer.

So what other striking-based finishers can dare to stand with the “H-Bomb”? You’re going to find out shortly.

Dan Henderson’s “H-Bomb”

Sure, the left hook of the two-time Olympian took out Wanderlei Silva in their 2007 rematch, but it’s Hendo’s right hand that strikes fear into opponents around the globe. And if they’re not afraid of it, all it takes is one tap for them to usually change their mind or wake up and ask the referee ‘wha’ happened?’ And the scary part about the punch is that everyone knows that it’s coming, but they still can’t prevent the leg-wobbling and fight-altering effects it can have once it lands. For all Henderson’s other talents in the Octagon, when his storied career eventually comes to a close, the “H-Bomb” is what people are likely to talk about.

Cro Cop’s Left Head Kick
“Right leg hospital, left leg cemetery.” With those ominous words, Croatia’s Mirko Cro Cop set the tone for a career in which he became the most feared striker of his era. And what made his name in the sport was his left kick to the head, a thudding harbinger of doom that almost certainly would knock you out on impact if it landed. What was even more impressive is that Cro Cop didn’t even need to throw it to gain his opponents’ respect. The anticipation alone left foes open for a laser-like left hand or a whipping right kick, both of which produced their share of knockouts as well. And while Cro Cop made his name with his kicks, his most memorable loss – against Gabriel Gonzaga in 2007 – also came via head kick, making it clear that if you live by the sword, you can die by it as well.

Chuck Liddell’s Right Hand
Over the course of seven fights in 2004 to 2006, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell cemented his Hall of Fame legacy with a consecutive knockout streak unlike anything anyone had seen before. And the culprit for most of these devastating finishes was a right hand that could “ice” opponents as soon as he connected it to a chin. And Liddell wasn’t knocking out any run of the mill opponents, as Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, Jeremy Horn, Vernon White, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral all tasted the thunder Liddell packed in his right glove. So what was the secret? Maybe it was that Liddell didn’t throw his right in a conventional fashion. Instead, he bent his elbow and swung the right down like a club. Throw in some speed and precision, and more often than not, a direct hit turned into a quick, crowd pleasing knockout victory.

Anderson Silva’s Front Kick
When you talk about the arsenal of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, you can spend hours breaking down the various moves that “The Spider” used to dismantle and defeat his opponents. But in the interest of saving space and giving some other fighters their time to shine, we’ll narrow it down to one of his most recent signature finishing moves, a blistering front kick that took everyone by surprise – especially opponent Vitor Belfort - when he revealed it in the first round of the UFC 126 main event in February of 2011. Fired off with speed and precision, Silva nailed Belfort flush on the jaw with the kick, and “The Phenom” fell as if he were shot. The finishing punches were just window dressing as it was the kick – which Silva said was taught to him by action film star Steven Seagal – that truly did the job.

Mark Coleman’s Ground and Pound

When you hear people refer to UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman as “The Godfather of Ground and Pound,” it’s more than just a sign of respect. It’s a confirmation that without Coleman’s innovative technique that mixed wrestling with devastating striking, the mixed martial arts world would look a lot different than it does today. A former Division I National wrestling champion for Ohio State University, Coleman moved into the world of MMA in 1996 with little knowledge of standup striking or jiu-jitsu. So “The Hammer” used what he knew best – wrestling - and once he got opponents on the mat, his superior strength and positioning would render opponents unable to move. And if they did move, they were greeted with an array of punches, elbows, and forearms, making it a miserable night for even the toughest of the tough in the Octagon. It’s not what you would immediately think of when it comes to a striking finisher, but those on the receiving end over the years would disagree.

Jose Aldo’s Flying Double Knee
Jose Aldo didn’t get thrust into a WEC title shot after his debut win over world-renowned Alexandre Nogueira. Instead, the Brazilian bomber was masterly moved, pitted against solid competition that was expected to test him if not for the fact that Aldo made them look ordinary. Three consecutive knockouts of Jonathan Brookins, Rolando Perez, and Chris Mickle made him a must-see for WEC fans, but it was going to be Cub Swanson that was going to be the fighter to push Aldo harder than he had been pushed before. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Aldo came out at the opening bell and landed not one flying knee, but two in quick succession, sending Swanson down to the mat grasping his face, which was sliced open by the assault. The fight took all of eight seconds and marked Aldo – the future WEC and UFC featherweight champion - as one dangerous man.




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