If Fraser Coffeen's excellent Alistair Overeem GIFathon had you craving for more GIFs heading into tomorrow night's UFC 156 card, this is the place to satiate your appetite. This GIFathon profiles regional-organization finishes of several fighters from notable competitors on the show. We're going all the way from the main event fighters of Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar to the preliminary card talent like Francisco Rivera.
The six GIFs -- selected by me and created by Zombie Prophet -- include the following:
- Jose Aldo's soccer kicking abilities on a human head.
- Frankie Edgar's 2nd professional fight ends in a TKO finish.
- Jon Fitch finishes a fight. Seriously ... he did.
- Evan Dunham's beautiful rear-naked choke agaisnt Dustin Akbari.
- Francisco Rivera's powerful striking in Tachi Palace Fights.
- A classic guillotine choke by Team Alpha Male staple Joseph Benavidez.
Dallas Winston is also here to provide his analysis on five of these GIFs. So enough talk, here are your finishes and I hope you enjoy them.
Jose Aldo vs. Aritano Barbosa (2005)
Mookie: This was Jose Aldo's 4th professional fight, and it only lasted 20 seconds. Obviously he can't soccer kick in the UFC unless he wants to get DQed, but imagine Aldo under PRIDE rules. Scary thought, yes? Once he drops Barbosa and the follow-up strikes start missing, he just immediately and instinctively fires away three HARD soccer kicks at Barbosa's head in rapid succession to end the fight. As he's proven at the highest level of the sport and in this early 2005 bout, when Aldo as you hurt, very rarely do you survive and "live" to see the final bell.
Frankie Edgar vs. Mark Getto (2005)
Dallas: No, you are not belligerently intoxicated. Edgar vs Getto comes equipped with some ghetto-style camera work, or this match took place at sea on a tumultuously pitching cruise liner. Even this early in his career (his 2nd career outing) Edgar was wielding his sturdy defensive wrestling, here holding his ground when Getto presses forward too aggressively and changing levels with an explosive double leg. As soon as it hits the mat, it looks like Edgar turns the corner and threatens to pass guard, then opts to unload a downpour of leather instead.
Edgar finished his first 4 fights in the 1st round (2 TKOs, 2 subs) and then tacked on big-name decisions over Deividas Taurosevicius (who would go on to defeat Bart Paleszewski, Javier Vazquez and Mackens Semerzier) and a local lightweight by the name of Jim Miller to earn a UFC contract.
Jon Fitch vs. Gabe Garcia (2003)
Dallas: After being finished by future UFCers Mike Pyle (rear-naked choke in Fitch's pro debut) and Wilson Gouveia (TKO via knee in his 4th fight circa 2002), Jon Fitch would not taste defeat again until 2008 in a welterweight championship bout with Georges St. Pierre. The former Purdue Boilermaker rattled off 16-straight wins in that 6-year span, and Gabe Garcia was the second rung on that ladder.
This is just a merciless Big Brother beating, but subtleties of Fitch's high-level wrestling background are evident in the way he snatches strong wrist control on Garcia's left arm when he's hammering punches from the back-ride, and of course in the belly-to-back suplex he nails just before the stoppage.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Junya Kodo (2008)
Dallas: This was really the win that put Joe-B-Wan Kenobi on the map. Having vaulted out of the gate with 7-straight stoppages (5 subs, 2 TKOs), Benavidez crossed the pond to compete as a featherweight (139 pounds) in DREAM 5 against Shooto rep Junya Kodo, who was once beaten after 9 turns. And Benavidez treated the Japanese audience to another commanding destruction with what would become the signature catch for Team Alpha Male.
The majority of Benavidez' guillotine chokes are produced from this exact scenario: he easily stuffs his opponent's shot and counters with a paralyzing front headlock before cinching in the guillotine and using it to sweep into full mount. The guillotine is typically applied as a sacrifice attempt, as fighters fall to their back and face a disadvantageous position if it's unsuccessful. Benavidez wisely wrenches Kodo's neck to roll him over and immediately grape-vines his legs to limit escape options, assuring a dominant position if he can't finish with the choke. Which he does.
Evan Dunham vs. Dustin Akbari (2009)
Mookie: This was Dunham's last fight before the UFC signed him to fight on short-notice exactly one month later at UFC 95. And yes, the referee in this one is the legendary Cecil Peoples. The finish you see here came early in the 3rd round after Dunham turned in a dominant 2nd round -- he knocked him down and nearly finished the fight -- against the previously unbeaten Dustin Akbari. While we've seen Dunham sort of fall in love with his striking in recent fights, half of his 12 wins come by submission, and this beautiful rear-naked choke helped propel him into the big show.
Dallas: The reason this win elevated Dunham to the UFC is that Akbari was a respected submission grappler who went on to place 3rd at the No-Gi Worlds in 2012 and was undefeated in MMA at the time, and Dunham had previously choked out Cleber Luciano, who won the 2008 No-Gi Worlds. This is also why Dunham's stellar submission savvy has still flown under the radar a bit -- I believe it's the most fearsome of his 3 dimensions.
Francisco Rivera vs. Antonio Duarte (2012)
Dallas: I've been throwing out the notion that Francisco Rivera might have the heaviest hands in the UFC's bantamweight class. Regardless of whether that's true, he's undoubtedly one of the most ferocious strikers and finishers in the game right now. After suffering the first defeats of his career consecutively (Erik Koch by TKO in his WEC debut, Rueben Duran by submission in his UFC debut), Rivera blasted out a pair of foes in Tachi Palace Fights by 1st-round KO to get another opportunity in the Octagon.
This is just a case of Rivera being more polished on the feet. Notice how he controls the distance by maintaining a bubble of space when Duarte throws, and generally makes sure he's either on his way in to the pocket, on his way out or chucking leather -- whereas too many fighters are content to stand right in their opponent's wheelhouse and feint.
Thanks to ZP and Dallas for their time and input on this edition of the GIFathon. You'll likely see this next the week of UFC 157. If you have any fight requests for future UFC PPVs or FOX shows, post your suggestion in the comments or contact me on Twitter and we'll see what we can do. The only fights we cannot GIF are UFC (SEG or Zuffa), Zuffa-era WEC, Strikeforce, and PRIDE. Everything else should be fair game.
SBN coverage of UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar