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5 rarest finishes in UFC history

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Jessica Andrade, Lyoto Machida, and Demetrious Johnson
Jessica Andrade, Lyoto Machida, and Demetrious Johnson
Jessica Andrade, Lyoto Machida, and Demetrious Johnson

In the UFC, the sheer variety of fighters has lent to a series of different finishes throughout the promotion's history. Few will ever forget Anderson Silva inspiring future generations to improve their kicking technique by recording the first front kick knockout in the UFC, paving the way for the likes of Marlon 'Chito' Vera.

Similarly, Yair Rodriguez's stunning last-minute rising elbow knockout over Chan Sung Jung will be forever etched in the pages of MMA's storybooks. Submissions like Frank Mir's toehold against Tank Abbott have not been replicated since the heavyweight legend's once-in-a-generation win.

This list covers 5 of the rarest finishes in the UFC, whether they're unique variations of existing maneuvers or wholly unique in terms of the technique itself.


#5. Demetrios Johnson's suplex-armbar combo

Combinations are phenomena predominantly seen in striking. Fighters chain together punches and kicks for various purposes. Recently, Leon Edwards used a right jab-straight left combination to dupe former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman into slipping on the outside of his straight left — and into the path of a left high kick.

However, the inventiveness of Demetrious Johnson is such that he implemented grappling combinations.

After 3 days and 3 rounds of FAN voting, @MightyMouseUFC's incredible armbar (UFC 216) has been voted the Greatest Submission of All-Time!! #BlackBeltWeek https://t.co/ywHYVBld9M

When 'Mighty Mouse' faced Ray Borg at UFC 216, he left the event's spectators awestruck when he combined a suplex and armbar to finish his foe. As he stood behind Borg, Johnson secured a rear bodylock before vaulting his foe into the air for a suplex.

While Borg was airborne, 'Mighty Mouse' let go of his opponent's waist and hooked his arms around Borg's flailing left arm. Before his foe ever landed on the mat, Johnson threw his legs over Borg's torso.

Once 'The Taxmexican Devil' was grounded, the armbar was secured. While Ray Borg resisted, Johnson extended his trapped arm until he could no longer endure the pain and tapped out. There's never been a submission like this before its appearance, and there hasn't been one like it since.


#4. Lyoto Machida's crane kick

By the time UFC 129 was on the horizon, Lyoto Machida was at a crossroads in his career. Once undefeated, the former UFC light heavyweight champion found himself in unfamiliar territory as he was on the wrong end of a two-fight losing streak.

UFC President Dana White seemed disillusioned with the fighter that Joe Rogan famously exclaimed would herald the arrival of the Machida era. For Machida, there was no option other than defeating MMA legend Randy Couture.

Throwback to when Lyoto Machida knocked out Randy Couture with a crane kick.#UFCBelem https://t.co/FQBOFH9R7q

So when both men locked horns at UFC 129, the pressure on 'The Dragon's shoulders was as heavy as it could ever be. In the 2nd round, Machida rose to the occasion.

Mystifying his opponent with feints from both his hands and left leg, Lyoto Machida leapt into the air and thrust his right foot into Couture's chin with both arms out wide. It was no ordinary front kick. Instead, it was the crane kick, a fictional version of the flying front kick popularized by the 1984 Karate Kid movie.


#3. Jéssica Andrade's standing arm-triangle choke

The headline bout at UFC Fight Night 205 featured the first, and thus far only, finish of its kind in UFC history. Former UFC strawweight champion Jéssica Andrade faced a foe many believed matched her in terms of power, Amanda Lemos.

At the onset of the fight, Andrade quickly realized that Lemos did indeed possess the kind of punching power that many of her past foes, with the exception of Zhang Weili, simply did not.

JESSICA ANDRADE WITH THE FIRST STANDING TRIANGLE IN UFC HISTORY!! 💪 #UFCVegas52 https://t.co/0vllnVQyno

One advantage Andrade possessed over her opponent, however, was her strength. Andrade ducked under a wild swing from Lemos, immediately hooking her left arm around Lemos' head to trap one of her foes' arms.

With her monstrous strength, 'Bate Estaca' bullied her opponent towards the fence before grasping her own bicep in a rear-naked choke grip.

With her trapped arm choking her out, Lemos was helpless as Andrade took angles to tighten the choke. Seconds later, Lemos collapsed and Jéssica Andrade walked off as the first and only fighter to claim victory in the UFC with a standing arm-triangle choke.


#2. Gary Goodridge's bottom crucifix elbows

No one will ever mistake Gary Goodridge for an elite combat sports athlete. A former kickboxer and MMA fighter, Goodridge's run in both kickboxing in mixed martial arts ended poorly.

As a kickboxer, his record sits at 12 wins, 24 losses, and two draws. Meanwhile, his record as an MMA fighter features 23 wins, 22 losses, and one draw. Despite his lack of consistent success in either sport, Goodridge will forever be remembered for one of the rarest finishes in MMA history.

UFC 8 - Feb 16. 1996 - Gary Goodridge disposes of Paul Herrera with some brutal elbows #UFC https://t.co/8vHvrYTuMB

In 1996, the now retired MMA fighter made his professional debut at UFC 8 and the bout lasted no longer than 13 seconds. His opponent, Paul Herrera, stormed across the cage and dove for an ill-advised takedown. Goodridge immediately exploded his own hips back, stuffing the shot before transitioning to his foe's back.

Herrera tried standing back up to his feet but Goodridge used his own bodyweight to yank his opponent back to the mat.

Strangely, while Goodridge was beneath Herrera, he was in an uncommon and advantageous position. Behind his foe, the former kickboxer trapped his opponent's right arm by wrapping his legs around it, while hooking his left arm with his own arms.

With no means of defending himself, Herrera was at Goodridge's mercy. Freeing one of his arms, Goodridge unloaded a series of downward elbows into his opponent's face, knocking him out cold from the bottom crucifix position.


#1. Frank Mir's inside shoulder lock

Long before he became the UFC heavyweight champion and a legend in heavyweight MMA, Frank Mir was a newcomer to the sport of mixed martial arts. However, even at the very onset of his career, Mir possessed grappling like no other heavyweight then or since.

At UFC 36, the future heavyweight champion was an undefeated fighter intent on turning opponent Pete Williams into his 4th MMA win.

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The matchup needed little time to hit the mat, with Mir fighting from the bottom in open guard. However, while Williams was on top, Mir quickly hooked his arm under his opponent's.

Clasping his hands together, the future heavyweight champion began torquing the inside of his foe's shoulder. While Williams attempted to stand up and move with the angle that Mir sought to create, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt wisely hooked his right leg around Williams' left.

Unable to push himself back up to his feet, Williams was helpless as Frank Mir applied more torque, forcing his opponent to tap out in 46 seconds to a maneuver that has no official name. It has since then been referred to as an inside shoulder lock.

It was the first and last of its kind in the UFC, as no other fighter has managed to submit a foe before or since with the technique.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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