Breaking the Norm: MMA Fight Finishes You Didn’t Expect

Breaking the Norm: MMA Fight Finishes You Didn’t Expect

Stereotyping exists even in the world of Mixed Martial Arts and there’s no one to blame but the fighters themselves. Many, even some elites, rely too much on one skill; some pamper us too often by winning/losing fights one way that it’s compelling, even shocking, to see them finish (or get finished) through another. But that’s how we like it, right? There’s nothing better than a little wicked twist right at the end.

Or not.

Tank Abbott choking Steven Jennum with his head


If this was the NBA, it would definitely make Shaqtin’-a-fool. MVP caliber, no question.

No one would have mistaken Tank as a Jiu-jitsu expert and Steve Jennum was a decent submission guy, but Abbott’s sheer heft and resourcefulness was highlighted on this one. Just not textbook-ish, though. Not pretty, yet effective. See full fight here.

Chuck Liddell’s standing rear naked choke

Pardon the video quality but this was a superb victory nonetheless for the up-and-coming Iceman. This was back when Liddell was young enough to throw an assortment of kicks and wily enough to actually capitalize on an opponent’s undefended back. To secure the one and only submission win of his career, Liddell softened him with punishing knees before literally climbing up Kenneth Williams‘ back and sinking a brutally deep standing rear naked.

But will someone confirm if they were REALLY fighting way past midnight?

Wanderlei Silva submitting Bob Schrijber

Speaking of one and only career submission victory, the “Axe Murderer” got his at the expense of Bob Schrijber in 2000 Pride Grand Prix opening round. Silva owned Schrijber pretty much the whole time and when the Dutch striker rolled and gave up his back, it was only a matter of time before he got finished. But then again, it’s nowhere near pretty.

Big Nog got a dose of his own medicine

Frank Mir knocked out Big Nog in their first outing and naturally, the tough-as-nails Brazilian legend would want to take back the one and only KO/TKO loss of his career at the time.  It looked like he would, using crisp boxing and usually savvy ground game. Nog appear to be on the verge of finishing the former UFC Heavyweight champion but somehow Mir recovered and reversed Nogueira, ended up on top, and secured a kimura on the process. In a perfect world, that is Big Nog’s script but Frank Mir didn’t get the memo.

Dan Henderson KO’d by The Phenom

belfort ko

Dan Henderson has fought with the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva, Li’l and Big Nog, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, among others. But he was never been knocked out or even knocked down in a fight for that matter until the rematch with Vitor Belfort at UFC Fight Night 32. The Phenom caught Dangerous Dan coming in, swarmed him on the ground, and just as Henderson stood up, delivered a left kick to the head that rolled the American’s eyes back. Night over.

Fedor submitted by Fabricio Werdum

In years to come, when people are going to be talking about the man who legitimately shattered Fedor Emelianenko‘s mystique, it should be Fabricio Werdum. The Brazilian is the naturally larger man than the Russian but size was never a problem for Fedor before which speak volumes about Vai Cavalo’s ground skills. To be fair, Emelianenko was in control of the stand-up before he got careless and found himself locked in a very deep triangle/armbar combo but the loss was the beginning of a string of three losses and the legend’s subsequent retirement.

Kazushi Sakuraba TKO’s Ken Shamrock

As Ken Shamrock himself said, he was worried more about Sakuraba’s ring generalship and not particularly his striking prowess when the two were about to meet at Pride 30. However, the Japanese pulled off another trick off his sleeve by knocking out “The World’s Most Dangerous Man.” Everything was a feel-out process before Sakuraba sneaked a left hand from the southpaw stance that stunned Shamrock, prompting the American to step away and turn his back on the “Gracie Hunter.” No further damage was done, thanks to the ref, and that was just Sakuraba’s second TKO victory in his decorated 15-year-career.

Anderson Silva’s leg injury versus Chris Weidman

“The Spider” has been kicking people for over twenty years but that didn’t save him from suffering a freak accident at UFC 168. After throwing one of those patented leg kicks, Chris Weidman cleanly checked Silva with his right knee, with the lower leg squarely landing on Weidman’s kneecap with maximum impact. As Silva’s leg dangled beneath him, there was an eerie silence pervading the MGM Grand. An era has just ended.

Is your favorite unexpected fight finish in the list? Let us know who made your cut in the comments section below.


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.