5 best head-kick knockouts in UFC history

Valentina Shevchenko (left) head kicks Jessica Eye (right) at UFC 238.
Valentina Shevchenko (left) head kicks Jessica Eye (right) at UFC 238.
Avinash Tewari

The UFC has produced some stellar highlights over the years. From one punch walk-off KOs to standing guillotines, there has been no shortage of amazing fight-ending moments inside the octagon.

The main card of UFC 261 this Saturday features a surfeit of high-level strikers. With three titles on the line, we cannot be more excited in anticipation of this PPV.

There's something truly special about perfect head kicks among all KOs. Here's an ode to some of the incredible head strikes we've witnessed over the years.

5 of the best head-kick knockouts in UFC history:

5) Shevchenko vs Eye

Valentina Shevchenko will defend her flyweight belt against former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade this Saturday at UFC 261. In her first title defense, 'Bullet' put the division and the world on notice with a stunning head-kick knockout of Jessica Eye in the early seconds of the second round.

The Muay Thai champion demonstrated just why she is one of the best strikers in all of MMA, not just the women's division, with this picture perfect KO.

4) Lee vs Gillespie

We've figured out where Kevin Lee fits into all of this.

Jokes aside, 'The Motown Phenom' suffered back-to-back losses prior to his bout against Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244. In what was a stacked card headlined by the BMF bout between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz, Kevin Lee produced the knockout of the night. Edmen Shahbazyan finished Brad Tavares with a head kick that same night, but Kevin Lee's was by far the more lethal finish.

What made it even more impressive was that Gregor Gillespie had an undefeated record before running into Lee's left leg. This head kick is a highlight for the ages.

3) Barboza vs Etim

Edson Barboza is easily one of the best strikers we've witnessed in recent times in the UFC. His spinning kicks are as accurate as any you will ever see. In his fourth UFC appearance and tenth pro MMA fight, Barboza knocked out his opponent Terry Etim with a perfect spinning head kick. Etim was out cold, and Barboza took his record to 10-0 with this finish.

This one is straight out of a martial arts movie.

2) Pete Williams vs Mark Coleman

We couldn't have made this list without mentioning the very first head-kick knockout in UFC history. Back at UFC 17 when fighters were still allowed to wear wrestling boots, Pete Williams and Mark Coleman faced off right after headbutts had been deemed illegal.

Coleman was a powerhouse but was known for headbutting his opponents, and he admitted he had to learn some better striking methods after they outlawed his favorite weapon. Even if he tried to do so before this bout, it didn't help him much, as Pete Williams caught him flush with a roundhouse that knocked Coleman out cold.

You're probably thinking the shoes had something to do with it; they didn't. He could have been wearing bathroom slippers and would still have the same effect. This is a combination of perfect technique and impeccable timing.

1) Buckley vs Kasanganay

Obviously, this had to make the list. The most viral knockout of 2020 was delivered by Joaquin Buckley when he fought against Impa Kasanganay.

Buckley may have lost his first fight in the UFC to Kevin Holland, but this incredible improvised knockout made him an overnight sensation. We've included the KO itself and a breakdown from Dan Hardy just because of how ridiculously good this kick is.

In addition to these, there have been a few other iconic head-kick finishes in UFC history, like Lyoto Machida's front-kick finish against Randy Couture and Vitor Belfort, Holly Holm's headkick KO against Ronda Rousey, Anderson Silva's front kick against Vitor Belfort, Stephen Thompson's KO of Jake Ellenberger, and Junior Dos Santos' knock out of Mark Hunt. If you haven't seen any of these, we highly recommend looking them up.

Word of advice: don't blink.

Edited by S Chowdhury


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