10 fastest finishes in UFC title fights ever
This past weekend saw the UFC crown a new Strawweight champion, as challenger Weili Zhang dispatched titleholder Jessica Andrade in under a minute in front of a hot crowd in Shenzhen, China.
The title win was a tremendous achievement for ‘Magnum’, and by defeating Andrade in just 42 seconds, she comfortably broke the record for the fastest finish in a UFC Strawweight title match. Surprisingly enough though, Zhang’s win wasn’t the fastest finish in any UFC title fight across all weight classes.
In fact, she only just makes 10th place in the list of the fastest finishes in UFC title fights. So who was faster than her? Find out here. Here are the 10 fastest finishes in UFC title fight history.
#10 Weili Zhang vs. Jessica Andrade – UFC Strawweight title – UFC Fight Night 157 – 42 seconds
In front of her home fans, underdog challenger Weili Zhang shocked everyone by destroying UFC Strawweight champion Jessica Andrade in just 42 seconds to claim the gold. In doing so, ‘Magnum’ also became the first UFC champion to hail from China, and the first Asian UFC champion, period.
Brazil’s Andrade – who had largely run over all of her previous opponents with a bulldozer-like attack of strikes – seemed confident prior to the fight and came out with her trademark aggression, walking Zhang down and looking to tag her with big punches. But despite landing a hard blow early on, Andrade ate a big right hand counter from ‘Magnum’ and it was all downhill from there.
Zhang applied a plum clinch and began to nail Andrade with a series of knees and elbows to the head, and once it was clear she was hurt, the Chinese star opened up with punches that downed the champion and left referee Leon Roberts with no choice but to step in.
It was a stunning finish and will definitely go down as one of 2019’s most memorable moments come the end of the year.
#9 Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia – UFC Bantamweight title – UFC 190 – 34 seconds
One of the UFC’s biggest ever stars, Ronda Rousey made a name for herself as a truly ruthless finisher during her reign as UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion, and it’ll come as no surprise to longtime fans to hear that she appears on this list more than once. But despite not being her fastest finish, her knockout of Bethe Correia at UFC 190 was perhaps her most violent.
The fight took place in Correia’s home country of Brazil, but surprisingly it felt like the usually partisan fans got behind Rousey instead. After a heated staredown it was clear that Correia wanted nothing to do with Rousey’s venomous grappling game, but as it turned out, striking with her wasn’t a good idea either.
Correia drew the champion into a wild trade of punches, but despite landing some shots of her own, found herself outgunned – and just 34 seconds into the fight, a big right hand to the temple dispatched her face-first to the canvas and left her unconscious, giving Rousey her 6th straight UFC title defense.
#8 Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw – UFC Flyweight title – UFC Fight Night 143 – 32 seconds
When the UFC booked reigning Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo against reigning Bantamweight king TJ Dillashaw in a ‘Superfight’ to begin 2019, it came as a shock to many fans when it was revealed that Dillashaw would be moving down in weight for the fight rather than Cejudo moving up. It wasn’t the only shocker that the fight would deliver, though.
Despite the concern of many observers, Dillashaw was able to make the 125lbs Flyweight limit, but looked gaunt and drawn out as compared to his muscular physique at 135lbs. And immediately the strength difference in the two was exposed as seconds into the fight, Cejudo simply shoved Dillashaw to the ground.
Moments later he followed with a glancing head kick and a right hand that dropped Dillashaw, and from there ‘The Messenger’ didn’t mess around, finishing his rival off with a quickfire flurry of punches. The fight lasted just 32 seconds and although Dillashaw protested the stoppage, there was no question as to who was the better fighter – this was the biggest win of Cejudo’s career.
#7 Tito Ortiz vs. Evan Tanner – UFC Light-Heavyweight title – UFC 30 – 30 seconds
Back in 2001, as the UFC transitioned from the SEG era to the more well-known Zuffa ownership, there was no doubt who the promotion’s biggest star was: Light-Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz. A cocky, trash-talking entertainer, Ortiz’s wrestling-heavy style wasn’t the most exciting at times, but it was highly effective and had netted him both fame and notoriety.
When the UFC’s first show under their new owners was put together, Ortiz was matched in the main event with challenger Evan Tanner, with the hope being that he could continue his run as the promotion’s poster-boy. He didn’t disappoint – and delivered probably the best highlight reel moment of his career.
Seconds into the fight the two men met in the centre of the Octagon, and after landing a low kick and some punches, Ortiz secured a bodylock on Tanner and slammed him to the ground. Tanner’s head hit the mat with force and Ortiz’s follow-up punches weren’t even needed – the challenger had been knocked out in just 30 seconds, and ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ had arrived in the big time.
#6 Frank Shamrock vs. Igor Zinoviev – UFC Middleweight title – UFC 16 – 22 seconds
Frank Shamrock might be persona non grata with the UFC’s brass right now due to his outspoken nature and feud with UFC President Dana White, but only a fool would deny him his place as one of the UFC’s all-time dominant champions. This finish of Igor Zinoviev in his first Middleweight title defense wasn’t his fastest – more on that later – but it can’t be touched for sheer brutality.
There would be no feeling-out process here; Zinoviev came forward and ate a couple of leg kicks before clinching with Shamrock, but the champion had an ace up his sleeve. He hoisted the Russian into the air before slamming him to the ground violently, smashing his shoulder into the jaw of the challenger, who was instantly knocked out cold.
The fight took just 22 seconds, and to make things even more memorable, it was the last fight of Zinoviev’s career as he was never able to fully recover from the knockout, having broken his collarbone due to the impact of the slam. It’s just a pity this finish doesn’t make the UFC’s highlight reels today.
#5 Frank Shamrock vs. Kevin Jackson – UFC Middleweight title – UFC Ultimate Japan – 16 seconds
This finish from Frank Shamrock – one that netted him the UFC’s inaugural Middleweight title – wasn’t as violent as the one over Igor Zinoviev that followed it, but it was somehow a full six seconds quicker, giving him two UFC title wins in just 38 seconds. For this fight, Shamrock was matched with Olympic gold medallist wrestler Kevin Jackson.
Jackson actually had more UFC experience than Shamrock coming into the fight – he’d won the UFC 14 Middleweight tournament – but Shamrock had more MMA experience overall with an extensive career in Japan behind him, and it showed pretty quickly.
Shamrock gave up a takedown in the opening seconds of the fight, but before Jackson could even consider what he was going to do next, he found himself tapping out – the victim to a frighteningly fast armbar. Prior to this bout Ken Shamrock had always been the more famous of the Shamrock brothers – but after it, the only name on everyone’s lips was Frank.
#4 Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis – UFC Bantamweight title – UFC 175 – 16 seconds
When Bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey was booked against Alexis Davis – who wasn’t technically the top contender in the division at the time – at UFC 175, it felt like a piece of matchmaking from the UFC akin to an old-school Mike Tyson squash match. And if anyone doubted that ‘Rowdy Ronda’ was capable of performing such a feat, this fight made them change their minds.
Within seconds of the fight beginning, Rousey had nailed Davis with a stiff right hand that had her wobbled, and before the challenger could respond, the Olympic silver medallist in judo hit her with a picture-perfect hip throw. Davis landed flat on her back and was caught in a headlock, and from there Rousey knocked her out with a rapid-fire series of punches.
The fight was over in 16 seconds and inexplicably, Rousey had somehow been able to land 14 significant strikes during that time – essentially landing a strike per second with the other two taken up by the hip throw. To say this was a dominant and terrifying performance would be an understatement.
#3 Andrei Arlovski vs. Paul Buentello – UFC Heavyweight title – UFC 55 – 15 seconds
UFC fans were left in shock and awe by practically every finish on this list, but this one simply left them confused, even angered until the slow-motion replays showed the truth of what happened.
Fans were expecting a slugfest when UFC Heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski defended against Paul Buentello – but what they didn’t expect was Buentello to dive for a takedown after 15 seconds and ref Big John McCarthy dive in to stop the fight at the same time.
The red flag should’ve been waving when Buentello got to his feet, bleeding from under his left eye and looking dazed and confused. But it was only when the replays showed exactly what had happened that the crowd understood and stopped booing; Arlovski had slipped a Buentello jab and nailed him with a clean right hand counter that knocked him out instantly and sent him falling forwards, giving the illusion of a takedown attempt.
The knockout punch remains one of the best timed counters in UFC history, and Arlovski’s finish of Buentello remains the fastest in any UFC Heavyweight title fight. Interestingly enough, it was the second sub-minute finish from ‘The Pitbull’ in a title fight in 2005 – he’d claimed the gold by beating Tim Sylvia in just 47 seconds eight months prior.
#2 Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano – UFC Bantamweight title – UFC 184 – 14 seconds
After weighing in for her Bantamweight title challenge against champion Ronda Rousey, Cat Zingano simply stated: “Watch this”. The line turned out to be pretty apt – the fans could’ve blinked and missed this fight – but it didn’t end in the way that ‘Alpha Cat’ would’ve hoped. A renowned slow starter, Zingano evidently decided to change that trend, and came out looking to take the fight to the ruthless Rousey.
It turned out to be a major error. Zingano came charging out of her corner as the fight began and threw a flying knee, but the blow only glanced and it allowed Rousey to grab a clinch. Both women attempted to take the other down, but it was Rousey who cartwheeled into a dominant position on Zingano’s back – and transitioned directly into her trademark armbar to force a submission.
Zingano seemed both baffled and crushed by the result afterwards, as if she couldn’t quite believe what had happened. And to be honest, neither could the fans – not only had Rousey pulled off yet another remarkable finish, she’d somehow done it in just 14 seconds against an opponent expected to be her toughest to that point.
#1 Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo – UFC Featherweight title – UFC 194 – 13 seconds
It was perhaps, at the time, the biggest UFC title fight of all time. After over a year of build-up and an insane amount of trash talk, Irish superstar Conor McGregor would finally get his shot at UFC Featherweight champ Jose Aldo. UFC fans had debated for a long time about how the fight would go, but nobody could’ve predicted quite how insane a finish the fight would produce.
McGregor looked super confident from the moment he entered the Octagon, while Aldo looked more tense, more nervous. The two men pressed forward and after a couple of feints from McGregor, Aldo bit and fired a glancing blow – only for ‘The Notorious One’ to counter with a picture-perfect left hand that dropped the Brazilian to the ground.
McGregor landed a couple of follow-up shots, but in reality they weren’t needed – he’d knocked Aldo out in just 13 seconds.
An explanation remains tricky some five years on; everyone knew McGregor had a coffin-nail left hand, but had Aldo allowed the Irishman into his head? Had he simply wilted under the pressure? Or were McGregor’s countering skills simply that good?
In reality, it didn’t matter; McGregor had delivered on the hype and made himself into the biggest star in UFC history – all in just 13 seconds.