10 Best Head-Kick Knockouts in MMA History

10 Best Head-Kick Knockouts in MMA History

Kicks are arguably the most devastating, yet under-utilized, weapons in all of MMA. Because of the influx of wrestlers in the game, most strikers shy away from attempting kicks because of the apparent fear of being taken down, ground-and-pounded, or worse, lay-and-prayed.

We can’t fault them to take the conservative route in terms of their preferred striking ammunition, but we all know what (casual) fans love. Even if we (I’d like to think myself as more than a casual fan) have come to appreciate the more technical aspects of the game, nothing comes close to the “kid-in-the-candy-store” excitement we feel every time one of them leg kicks connect.

In a blink of an eye, one goes down like a sack of potatoes and they will never be the same again. And neither are we.

10. Anthony Pettis vs Joe Lauzon, UFC 144

Photo Credit: Tracy Lee

Call it a neck kick, a shin kick, or whatever, this bomb is frighteningly devastating and Joe Lauzon learned it the hard way. Maybe it was Lauzon being so game to a fault or the fact that Pettis sensed he has to do something spectacular in lieu of his two previous lackluster outings, but  “Showtime” reminded everybody that he’s in it for real.

Watch it here.

9. Junior Dos Santos vs Mark Hunt, UFC 160

Photo Source and Credit: Getty Images

If Mark Hunt is on the receiving end of a knockout, then it has got to be here.

The two heavyweight knockout artists went at it for practically 14 minutes– throwing bombs, the kitchen sink, the trash can, and whatnot in each other’s direction– until the former UFC Heavyweight champ unleashed a spinning wheel kick that grazed the Super Samoan’s forehead and into the land of dreams.

(All the highlights here.)

8. Cro Cop vs Igor Vovchanchyn, PRIDE Elimination

If there were such a thing as a head-kick god, Cro Cop should be the closest thing. The Croatian kickboxer collected three KOs of this nature in his first nine fights and Vovchanchyn is the second of his victims.

As soon as Cro Cop unleashed a pulverizing head kick somewhere on Vovchanchyn’s face, the Russian woke up not knowing he was in Japan all along. (Full fight.)

7. Uriah Hall vs Adam Cella, TUF

The TUF bouts are officially deemed as exhibitions so the Uriah HallAdam Cella bout should never have been here in the first place. But it’s so friggin’ awesome that it feels so wrong to not include in this list!

Judging from the moment of impact and Cella’s reaction, I initially thought he might not make it. (See it here.)

6. Gilbert Yvel vs Gary Goodridge, Pride 10

Yes, I know the image quality sucks, but this Gilbert Yvel KO of Gary Goodridge absolutely doesn’t.

This is the type of fight that Yvel excels and looks good at and the Dutch kickboxer did not disappoint. Yvel distracted Goodridge with a pawing motion with his right hand and when nobody’s looking (including Goodridge), unleashed a sneaky powerful left kick that rendered Big Daddy unconscious.

5. Lyoto Machida vs Randy Couture, UFC 163

The beauty of mixed martial arts is you can use any technique, anytime, anywhere, to anyone and in the most unexpected moment. Lyoto Machida paid attention to the checklist and pulled off what could be the most surprising KO in this list.

“The Dragon” replicated what’s known as the “Karate Kid” move against the living legend Randy “The Natural” Couture, jumping into the air like a crane and double-pumping his feet after feinting a left kick. I don’t think we will ever see another crane kick KO ever again unless, of course, in the movies.

(See it here in HD.)

4. Gabriel Gonzaga vs Cro Cop, UFC 70

Gonzaga vs Cro cop

This stuff is replayed and talked about over and over and over again so I’ll let the image do the talking. Seven years later, I still haven’t recovered.








3. Cro Cop vs Wanderlei Silva, PRIDE Final Conflict

Two of the best all-time strikers in their absolute physical prime, Cro Cop ended maybe the fight of the decade with his patented left high kick that sent the bloodied and battered Silva to the canvas.

“Right leg hospital, left leg cemetery.”

2. Anderson Silva vs Vitor Belfort, UFC 126

Well, it’s not so much about the kick than it is about competition. Pretty much like what Machida did to Couture, “Spider” wasn’t supposed to do this to an opponent as formidable as “The Phenom” but he did!

Steven Seagal be damned, Anderson Silva showed why deserved to be in the conversation of being the best ever with a single kick KO of Vitor Belfort. Vitor doesn’t even know what hit him.

1. Edson Barboza vs Terry Etim, UFC 142

10 Best Head-Kick Knockouts in MMA History











This head-kick KO racked up the KOTN, FOTN, and KO of the year honors, but it might as well be the knockout of the century!

The Fight of the Night plum indicates it was a pretty much even fight up until Barboza decided to go crazy and connected with a spinning heel hook, effectively disconnecting Etim’s consciousness from his own body.



Jan Obguia

Just an average Joe that prides about the fact that he played basketball on all three of the biggest island groups in the Philippines. Enjoys eating and 70s music as much as the next guy, but thinks there isn’t a more delightful thing in the world than learning. For comments, reactions, suggestions, let Jan Rey know below.