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Not all finishes are equal: A look at four of my favorites from UFC Sydney



It was one of those magical nights for the UFC with 11 fights and all of them ending in a finish. It was another exciting card for the UFC on Fight Pass that had fans find a home on the edge or their seats for the full duration. While finishes are fantastic in the sport of mixed martial arts, not all of them are equal; some are more impressive than others. Here is a look four of my favorites.

Seriously?! Sweet Chin Music!

Going into the third round the Louis Smolka and Richie Vaculik fight was close. Vaculik took the first round by out striking Smolka and scoring a takedown. In the second round it was closer as Smolka took the striking side while Vaculik scored two takedowns and was given credit for a submission attempt.

Whether the fight was close or not going into the third round did not matter as shortly into the final stanza Smolka did this:

Sweet chin music

Seriously, Shawn Michaels could not do it any better.

SM sweet chin music

This kick from Smolka trumped the rest of the fight. It is the kind of kick that will get replayed over and over on the highlight reels and every time he fights in the near future. Early in the week we saw “Thug” Rose Namajunas land a grazing one on TUF 20.

Thug Rose Ninja Kick

It just shows how the sport of MMA is still evolving with a new breed of creative strikers like Namajunas and Smolka entering into the UFC. They are bringing Karate backgrounds blended with the other striking arts and embracing the grappling side to create dangerous well-rounded fighters. Ones who are not afraid to lay some sweet chin music on their opponents.

From one side of the highlight to the other

Marcus Brimage was Conor McGregor’s first opponent in the UFC and lost via a first KO/TKO that has been replayed frequently since that fight. Now he is on the other side of the highlight as he landed a wicked counter kick KO that will be replayed for a while.

Brimage Kick II

It was a clean kick that landed perfectly. Before the big KO, Brimage had been picking Tuerxun apart and showing nice control of the distance and catching Tuerxun with his big shots. Then came the counter kick off a Tuerxun right hand that left him like a deer mesmerized by the shiny lights right before they go out.

The big head kick was a nice way for Brimage to introduce himself to the bantamweight division. Based on the first fight in the new weight class it looks like it is a good fit for him.

You just do not do that to Ross Pearson or Dammmnn! Iaquinta just jacked up Pearson

We are used to seeing Ross Pearson upright at the end of fights. Coming into this fight he had only been stopped via strikes in his career. The first was in his third professional fight. The other was back in 2012 courtesy of Cub Swanson with a little check hook that caught Pearson as he was charging in.

Swanson check hook

Swanson landed it cleanly using Pearson’s momentum against him. It was almost identical to the one Ovince Saint Preux used to drop Shogun in their fight. In both cases that caught a fighter coming in recklessly. For Swanson he had Pearson hurt, bloodied up and a little desperate. He normally does not charge in wildly and has some of the best head movement in the UFC. Relying on head movement can leave a fighter vulnerable to kicks and Swanson had hurt Pearson with them in that fight.

Al Iaquinta also caught Pearson as he was coming in only it was a big overhand right that dropped Pearson the first time in the second round. Ironically it came as a counter of a Pearson head kick.

Iaquinta counter right

From there Iaquinta took advantage of a rocked Pearson and landed several more hard clean shots that ended the fight. Several came in this combo right at the end.

Iaquinta finishing combo

Iaquinta is now on a two fight win streak with both victories coming from finishes via strikes. This stoppage of Pearson is his most impressive win of his career.

Robert Whittaker Shines in Sydney

This was Robert Whittaker’s first fight back in Australia since he won TUF Smashes. It was also his first one in the UFC at middleweight. He faced off against Clint Hester who was off to a 4-0 start in the UFC after struggling on TUF 17. In his four fight win streak Hester had shown some power and a little wildness with his striking we saw that in this fight too. In the opening seconds of the fight they had this exchange.

Whittaker Hester #1

Hester caught Whittaker and rocked him but then got rocked himself on the counter and had to retreat quickly. Just a about 15 seconds later Hester launched this wild haymaker of a righthand.

Hester wild right hand

Of course if that thing lands it will do nuclear damage but as long as Hester is fighting an opponent with vision they will see that punch coming. Whittaker saw and easily avoided it. It would have been easy for Whittaker to fall into a brawl with Hester but he stayed focused. Used his footwork, movement and crisp jab to take the first round.

Then in the second round he found the finish. First there a jab stung him then a right and left followed and Hester retreated to the cage. There was one more jab from Whittaker that flowed into a knee.

Whittaker's nasty knee

From there just a quick flurry finished the fight and Whittaker became the first fighter to stop Hester. Not a bad little debut for Whittaker in front of his home crowd. He looked very quick a middleweight and Hester can attest to him carrying his power up with him to the new weight class. At only 23-years-old he is now 4-2 in the UFC with a two fight win streak. Look for some big things out of him in 2015.

While there were other finishes that had bigger ramifications like the Luke Rockhold one over Michael Bisping, but these were the ones I enjoyed the most. Let us know what your favorite ones were in the comment section below or on Twitter.

An avid lifetime fight fan who loves to write about it. So kick back, get comfortable and let's have some fun! "Wants me to tell him something pretty." Al Sweargen "Going wrong is not the end of fucking things, Johnny. Fuck no! I have comeback from plenty of shit that looked like it was going wrong." Dan Dority "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it." Bill Munny

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