While it’s still relatively rare, we’ve even seen examples of UFC fighters using moves or holds that originated in WWE to finish their opponents in the octagon.
These moves or holds don’t always resemble the version seen in WWE perfectly. However, they’re close enough for the fans to immediately recognise them – usually sending them viral in the process.
Here are five UFC fights that ended with moves or holds from pro-wrestling.
#5. Darrius Flowers vs. Amiran Gogoladze – Tombstone piledriver (Dana White’s Contender Series 2022)
The latest entry on this list came from this week’s edition of the UFC’s feeder show, Dana White’s Contender Series. It saw middleweight prospect Darrius Flowers earn a contract with the promotion after stopping his opponent with arguably the most infamous pro-wrestling move of them all.
WWE legend The Undertaker became synonymous with various moves and holds throughout his career – even borrowing the gogoplata, aka the Hell’s Gate, right from MMA. However, the move most clearly associated with him is the Tombstone piledriver.
Given that the move would see ‘The Dead Man’ drive his upside-down opponent’s head directly into the canvas, it was thought that it’d probably never be seen in the octagon, largely due to the rules of MMA making head spiking illegal.
However, Flowers proved that idea wrong this week by countering an inverted triangle attempt from opponent Amiran Gogoladze by lifting him into the air and driving him right into the mat, just like the Undertaker.
The move was deemed legal purely due to the fact that Gogoladze tucked his head, but it wasn’t enough to save him from the impact. He tapped out moments later, seemingly due to a shoulder injury.
Whether Flowers, who holds a record of 12-5, goes onto the same kind of legendary career in the octagon that The Undertaker enjoyed in the squared circle is anyone’s guess, but it’s fair to say that this was a great start for him.
#4. Alan Belcher vs. Patrick Cote – Pedigree (UFC 113)
WWE Hall of Famer Triple H – who now acts as the promotion’s executive vice president – enjoyed a massively storied career over the course of two decades, winning numerous titles in the process.
The majority of his matches were won with his infamous ‘Pedigree’, a facebuster variant that would see him underhook his opponent’s arms in order to drive them directly into the mat.
The move never looked like it could translate into the world of MMA. However, at UFC 113, middleweight contender Alan Belcher demonstrated that it could actually work well. Although it didn’t finish his fight with Patrick Cote, it did set up the rear-naked choke that did.
After a back-and-forth first round, Cote decided to shoot in for a takedown during the second, only for Belcher to sprawl back and defend it. From there, ‘The Talent’ underhooked his body, lifted him into the air, and drove him face-first into the mat, emulating Triple H right down to the way that he landed on his knees.
Stunned by the impact, Cote couldn’t move into a better position quickly enough, and that allowed Belcher to spin around, take his back and force the tapout.
After the fight, there was a discussion over whether the Pedigree had actually been legal. As it saw Belcher faceplant Cote, rather than spike his head into the mat, it was deemed to be fine, so the move popularized by HHH produced a big win in the octagon.
#3. Terry Martin vs. Ivan Salaverry – German suplex (UFC 71)
Given that it originated from freestyle wrestling, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the suplex – and its many variants – has made its way into the octagon on numerous occasions, usually being used by fighters with a wrestling background.
Surprisingly enough, Brock Lesnar – who has become synonymous with sending his opponents to ‘Suplex City’ during his WWE tenure – never used the move during his time in the UFC. Plenty of other fighters have, with one example being former middleweight contender Terry Martin.
Martin, who is usually more known for his striking than his grappling skills, became one of the few fighters to actually finish an opponent with a German suplex when he stopped Ivan Salaverry with the move at UFC 71.
The bout was expected to be a tricky one for Martin, as Salaverry was ranked amongst the world’s best middleweights at the time. He had won two of his last three octagon bouts via submission.
However, he was painfully overpowered by Martin in their fight. When he grabbed onto a kimura to prevent a potential slam, Martin simply lifted him up and delivered the German suplex – dumping Salaverry right onto his head.
The fight was over from there, as Martin quickly landed a couple of strikes to the head to seal the deal. While he didn’t go onto much more success – losing his next two bouts in the octagon – the finish remains one of the more memorable examples of a pro-wrestling move being used to great effect in MMA.
#2. Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton – Powerbomb (UFC 34)
The powerbomb – a pro-wrestling move that sees the victim hoisted into the air above their opponent’s head before being slammed down onto their back – was another move that didn’t seem like it’d work in MMA. A number of fighters have proven that idea wrong.
The most famous use of the powerbomb in MMA came in PRIDE, when future UFC champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson used it to stop Ricardo Arona. Three years before that, Matt Hughes delivered the move to claim gold inside the octagon.
In this case, then-welterweight champion Carlos Newton was already struggling with the strength and power of his challenger when he attempted to lock up a triangle choke. Despite the submission attempt looking tight, Hughes simply hoisted ‘The Ronin’ up into the air before walking him over to the fence.
To his credit, Newton attempted to continue to squeeze on the hold in an attempt to force Hughes to pass out – but it ended up backfiring. When Hughes’ legs did eventually give way, it caused him to powerbomb Newton to the ground, knocking him out in the process.
The fight was called off in favor of Hughes, who was proclaimed the new champion, kickstarting his legendary reign.
In an excellent bit of irony, WWE would steal the controversial finish a few months later for a title bout between Kurt Angle and The Undertaker, although in their case, they used it to declare the bout a draw – Newton was not quite so lucky.
#1. Shawn Jordan vs. Derrick Lewis – Sweet Chin Music (UFC Fight Night 68)
Derrick Lewis is usually renowned as the UFC’s knockout king, having stopped a record 13 opponents with strikes, but ‘The Black Beast’ has also been stopped on seven occasions himself. One such stoppage saw him fall victim to one of the rarest finishes ever seen in the octagon – the superkick, better known as Sweet Chin Music.
While numerous pro-wrestlers have used the kick over the years, the strike remains synonymous with WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, who would “tune up the band” by stomping his foot before delivering it to an opponent.
While Shawn Jordan didn’t do any tuning, he certainly came close to kicking Lewis’ teeth down his throat, to paraphrase ‘The Heartbreak Kid’, in their 2015 bout.
The fight was a back-and-forth one for the most part, but after edging the first round, it didn’t take ‘The Savage’ long to finish things off in the second. After landing a kick to the body, he uncorked the superkick directly to the jaw of ‘The Black Beast’, dropping him before finishing him off with some punches.
The move was even more remarkable given the size of Jordan – who weighed in for the fight at 263lbs – but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to turn him into a star. He was surprisingly released from his contract following a subsequent loss.
Regardless, the finish remains one of the most memorable examples of a UFC fighter using a famous pro-wrestling move to take out their opponent inside the octagon.