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David Sanders
David Sanders

The Knock Out Cop



MMA has produced some of the most entertaining and popular knockout artists in UFC history. Mirko Cro Cop Filipović is a popular Croatian fighter that competed in Pride and the UFC for the majority of his career. The towering heavyweight phenom was a prolific kickboxer capable of knocking out any formidable heavyweight that dared stand against him.




The Knock Out Cop


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Before his success in MMA, Cro Cop made a name for himself as a kickboxer competing in K-1. In 2006, he claimed the Pride World Open-Weight Grand Prix Championship. His signature move was his thunderous left high roundhouse kick that would knock his opponents out on impact. His legs were once infamously described as "right leg, hospital; left leg, cemetery."


At :46 of round one, the Croatian threw a swift yet powerful left head kick that landed flush and immediately dropped Rodriguez into a seated position. Cro Cop pounced on his opponent and threw a powerful left uppercut for good measure before walking away even before the referee intervened. As many know, he was only getting started and would continue to provide fans with jaw-dropping knockouts in the years to come.


He switched gears after throwing several left hands and threw his signature left head kick that caught Vovchanchyn on the neck and sent him crashing towards the canvas. He followed his opponent to the ground and threw one more powerful left hand to seal the deal and a first-round knockout victory. This victory earned Cro Cop the knockout of the year for 2003.


While Cro Crop's body knockout victory over Ibragim Magomdedov may not be his most stunning knockout, it is certainly one of his most impressive. As usual, Cro Cop established his offense and attacked Magomdedov with powerful kicks and quick left crosses.


Cro Crop's knockout victory over Wanderlei Silva is probably the most well-known and brutal victory of his career. The two met at Pride Conflict Absolute with the winner moving one step closer to the Grand Prix Championship.


In signature fashion, Cro Cop blasted Silva with his infamous left head kick which connected perfectly to the upper right side of Silva's head. The Brazilian was knocked out before hitting the canvas and suffered the first knockout loss of his Pride FC career. Cro Cop's power and kick ability will go down in the history books of combat sports for eternity.


When Yair Rodriguez knocked out Chan Sung Jung in the final seconds of UFC Fight Night: Denver this past weekend, the MMA world exploded. Rodriguez's elbow landed squarely with Jung's chin, sending him straight to the mat. It was the end of an epic back-and-forth battle that headlined the UFC's 25th anniversary card.


Was it the best knockout in the history of the UFC? The case can be made, though you also can for a multitude of other finishes. ESPN's MMA team -- Brett Okamoto, Ariel Helwani, Jeff Wagenheim, Phil Murphy and Eric Tamiso -- gave their pick of the best ever.


I was fortunate enough to be on press row for Saturday's knockout and, naturally, that was one of the conversations that came up between journalists, UFC staff, fighters, managers, etc. after the event. Was Rodriguez's knockout the best of all time?


And for me, it was. You have to take everything into account. The absurd, technical difficulty of the knockout. The fact it happened in the final second of a five-round, Fight of the Year contender, which Rodriguez would have lost had it gone to the scorecards. The devastating effect it had on Korean Zombie. I mean, not only do I think it's probably the best ever -- considering everything, I'm not sure how it will ever be topped.


There are more historical knockouts (Conor McGregor over Jose Aldo, Holly Holm over Ronda Rousey, Chris Weidman over Anderson Silva). And there are greater comeback knockouts (Scott Smith over Pete Sell, Mike Russow over Todd Duffee). But watch that Rodriguez replay one more time, remember what the circumstances were -- and try to tell me that's not the best of all time.


When discussing the best knockout in UFC history, you have to consider three important factors: stage, technique and timing. We've seen plenty of knockouts on the biggest stage, like Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo, Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping. We've seen amazing technique in fights like Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim, Mirko Cro Cop vs. Gabriel Gonzaga and Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm. We've also seen some jaw-dropping, not-so-technical knockouts that came at the perfect time, such as Pete Sell vs. Scott Smith and Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo. These are all amazing choices. Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of them.


However, at the risk of being accused of recency bias, I'll vote for Rodriguez's knockout as the greatest of all time. Why? It was a technique we've never seen before, it came in the main event of the UFC's 25th anniversary show (big stage!), and, with one second left in the fight, it's timing could not have been better. It checks all three boxes.


There have been more consequential KO's than what we witnessed in Saturday night's main event, which did not have the high-level, high-stakes gravitas of a championship bout. Holly Holm became a world champ when she shocked that world in 2015, her heavenly head kick knocking the stellar Ronda Rousey out of orbit. Conor McGregor grabbed his first belt a month later with spectacular efficiency, needing only one punch and 13 seconds to put a halt to Jose Aldo and his decade-long win streak.


But what Rodriguez did to Jung was breathtakingly unprecedented on two essential levels: the urgency and the innovation. The jaws of defeat were just one second from chewing him up when "El Pantera" bit back. And he did so with a finishing move the likes of which we'd never before seen in 25 years of UFC history. Rodriguez thus elbowed his way into the epic knockout annals. What he did to "The Korean Zombie" stands above all other KO's as a masterpiece of mixed martial artistry.


First of all, Rodriguez and Jung engaged in a 25-minute, instant classic which has probably secured fight of the year honors for 2018. Unbeknownst to him, "El Pantera" was losing the fight on the official scorecards. Before the fifth round started, his wrestling coach, friend and cornerman Israel Martinez told him to finish the fight, but it wasn't until the very last second, 4:59 to be exact, when Rodriguez pulled off one of the most creative, mind-blowing, buzzer-beating knockouts I've ever seen. The "Korean Zombie" face planted right into the canvas. Incredible scenes.


A pirouette of violence from Barboza that landed flush on Etim for a walk-off knockout. In martial arts, nothing has been so vicious, yet beautiful at the same time. Midway through the third round of this lightweight bout in Brazil, Barboza kicked so quick and so powerful that the lights were shut off for Etim before falling to the canvas.


A current client of WK has been charged with Battery on a Police Officer. In this particular case, the Client was holding his extremely intoxicated brother down on the ground because his brother was upset due to a recent breakup with his girlfriend. Police officers responded to the scene after receiving reports of a fight in progress. The officer approached Client from the rear and attempted to pull Client off his brother, at that moment Client turned and punched the officer. It will be our position that at the moment our Client punched the officer, he did not know or could not have known that the person grabbing him from behind was a police officer. This argument should knock out element #3 and the prosecutor should not be able to prevail in his or her prosecution of our client.


GK: I spritzed myself with a little cologne (SPRITZES) and sat there perspiring lightly and then I heard the knock on the door (KNOCKS) and I put a rose in my teeth ...Yeah. Come on in, sweetheart. (DOOR OPEN) The door's unlocked. Oh, hi. 041b061a72


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