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5 spectacular slam knockouts in UFC history

Jessica Andrade scored a brutal slam victory over Rose Namajunas in 2019
Jessica Andrade scored a brutal slam victory over Rose Namajunas in 2019

This past week saw new UFC signee Darrius Flowers go viral, as he used a slam that resembled The Undertaker’s infamous Tombstone piledriver to defeat his opponent on Dana White’s Contender Series and earn himself a contract with the promotion.

The MASSIVE slam from Darrius Flowers leads to the tap & the first round finish 💥 #DWCS https://t.co/VtXokkK3zc

While Darrius Flowers’ slam instantly went viral, it wasn’t the first slam victory we’ve seen in the octagon. The UFC has seen a number of similar finishes over the years.

A victory via slam is extremely rare in the world of MMA, but when it does happen, it’s hugely spectacular and usually turns the winning fighter into a star with the fans.

Here are five spectacular slam finishes in UFC history.


#5. Gerald Harris vs. David Branch – UFC 116

Gerald Harris left David Branch out cold with a violent slam in 2010
Gerald Harris left David Branch out cold with a violent slam in 2010

Middleweight veteran Gerald Harris’ career with the UFC didn’t last too long at all, as all four of his octagon appearances came in 2010 before he was abruptly released at the end of that year.

However, he did have time to produce one of the most brutal slam finishes ever seen in the octagon in his bout with David Branch, earning himself a nice $75k bonus for the Knockout of the Night in the process.

Harris had already delivered a couple of slams in the first two rounds of the bout, but Branch had been able to survive the impact of them. Despite losing the rounds clearly, was still in the fight as it reached its third round.

However, the grappler made a major error when he decided to attempt to jump to guard at the midway point of the stanza. The powerful Harris was able to prevent the attempt and instead gripped onto Branch before slamming him to the ground.

@JMarquezMMA Not exactly, Gerald Harris vs David Branch, Branch pulled guard, got slammed and Harris just walked off without landing anymore strikes. UFC 116 Lesnar vs Carwin.

This time, the impact of the slam rendered Branch unconscious, and Harris didn’t even need to follow up to seal the win.

Replays then showed how Harris had placed his forearm across the neck of his opponent before delivering the slam, causing Branch’s head to hit the mat. This added to the brutality and ensured that he scored the knockout in devastating fashion.


#4. Jordan Leavitt vs. Matt Wiman – UFC on ESPN 19

Jordan Leavitt debuted in the octagon with a bang when he slammed Matt Wiman unconscious
Jordan Leavitt debuted in the octagon with a bang when he slammed Matt Wiman unconscious

UFC fans will probably recognize lightweight prospect Jordan Leavitt for his recent losing effort against Paddy Pimblett, but ‘The Monkey King’ initially made a name for himself by scoring a truly violent slam victory in his octagon debut.

That debut saw him face veteran Matt Wiman, whose career with the UFC dated back to 2006. Unfortunately for ‘Handsome Matt’, his experience couldn’t save him when he faced off with Leavitt.

The bout lasted just 22 seconds in total, as Leavitt closed the distance quickly and ducked for a double leg takedown. When Wiman attempted to wriggle free, ‘The Monkey King’ clasped his hands together, lifted the veteran into the air, and then walked him across the octagon before slamming him down.

Jordan Leavitt with the SLAM FINISH 😱@jojo_monkeyking ends it 20 seconds in at #UFCVegas16📺🇨🇦 Live on TSN 3/5 & RDS 2 https://t.co/qlVXCAUh71

Wiman was knocked out immediately, his arms stretched upright in an odd position. Thankfully, Leavitt didn’t bother to follow up with any extra strikes.

Unsurprisingly, the win earned ‘The Monkey King’ a $50k performance bonus, and the slam remains one of the most brutal ever seen inside the octagon.


#3. Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas – UFC 237

Jessica Andrade's slam finish of Rose Namajunas was a scary display of power
Jessica Andrade's slam finish of Rose Namajunas was a scary display of power

Although rare, there have been occasions in UFC history that have seen fighters claim gold inside the octagon thanks to a brutal slam. One such instance saw Jessica Andrade win the strawweight title in 2019.

The powerful ‘Bate Estaca’ came into her bout with champion Rose Namajunas on the back of a three-fight winning streak, and she’d put together an impressive record of 6-1 since dropping to 115lbs in 2016.

However, early in the fight, the Brazilian looked outgunned by ‘Thug Rose’, who used her jab to pick her challenger apart. When Andrade was dropped late in the first round, it seemed like the beginning of the end.

Remarkably, though, the tide turned in the second round. When Andrade found her way to the clinch and looked for a takedown, Namajunas decided to counter by tying up her arm for a potential kimura attempt.

In response, Andrade lifted the champion up into the air, and with Namajunas still clinging onto her arm, slammed her into the ground. The impact knocked ‘Thug Rose’ out instantly, and seconds later, Andrade was declared the new champion.

Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade's first fight was WILD and ended with a huge slam 😱The belt is no longer on the line, but they will finally run it back at #UFC251 🙌 https://t.co/NnmkFYkbl1

The finish was remarkable not only because of the rarity of a slam knockout, but also because Andrade had been outclassed prior to it – making it one of the biggest turnarounds in a title fight in UFC history.


#2. Tito Ortiz vs. Evan Tanner – UFC 30

Tito Ortiz needed just seconds to take out Evan Tanner with a violent slam
Tito Ortiz needed just seconds to take out Evan Tanner with a violent slam

When the Fertitta brothers bought the UFC in late 2000, they went about transforming the image of the promotion from an underground sensation to something far more flashy and acceptable to the mainstream.

Part of this transformation saw them push the charismatic light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz as a major star. It was no surprise when ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ was placed in the headliner of the first event under the new owners, defending his title against Evan Tanner.

Ortiz was given a wild entrance for the bout, complete with pyrotechnics and a Limp Bizkit walk-out track, and looked every inch the superstar. All he needed to do to complete the job was win handily.

It’s fair to say that ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ did not fail to deliver. With just seconds gone in the fight, Ortiz grabbed the smaller Tanner in a clinch, hit him with a couple of strikes, and then twisted and slammed him to the mat, the back of his head hitting the canvas hard.

Feb23.2001Tito Ortiz makes the 2nd defense of his UFC Light Heavyweight title,when he finishes Evan Tanner with a slam at UFC 30 https://t.co/0PrEo6nMLG

Tanner was clearly done, and Ortiz’s follow-up punches were thoroughly unnecessary. When ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ then celebrated by digging a mock grave for his opponent, it was clear that he’d produced a truly iconic finish and had lived up to his superstar billing entirely.


#1. Frank Shamrock vs. Igor Zinoviev – UFC 16

Frank Shamrock ended the MMA career of Igor Zinoviev with a brutal slam back in 1998
Frank Shamrock ended the MMA career of Igor Zinoviev with a brutal slam back in 1998

The UFC’s first-ever slam finish took place way back in 1998. Despite well over two decades having passed since, its sheer brutality has still not been topped. In fact, it remains one of the scariest finishes in octagon history.

The bout in question pitted UFC middleweight champion Frank Shamrock against top contender Igor Zinoviev in what was Shamrock’s first title defense. Russia’s Zinoviev, who boasted a record of 4-0-2, was supposed to provide him with a major test.

Instead, the fight lasted just 22 seconds and resulted in the challenger leaving the octagon strapped to a stretcher.

Zinoviev didn’t even have the chance to land a single strike, as Shamrock ducked under a punch and then elevated him up into the air, before twisting and smashing him down into the canvas.

Frank Shamrock knocked Igor Zinoviev out cold with a slam just 22 seconds into their middleweight title fight, 22 years ago today at UFC 16#UFC https://t.co/1EtG7e32B2

The Russian was rendered unconscious immediately, with Shamrock basically pulling out of a follow-up punch. A replay revealed that not only had Zinoviev’s head hit the mat, but Shamrock’s shoulder had connected hard with his jaw too.

The victory only added to Shamrock’s burgeoning reputation as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, while Zinoviev would never fight again thanks to a neck injury sustained in the defeat.

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Edited by John Cunningham
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