Upkick knockouts are quite a rarity in MMA. In the UFC’s rich history, such finishes only happened twice within a nine-year span.
So it was definitely a highlight reel moment when Gegard Mousasi landed it on Ronaldo Souza to win the inaugural Dream middleweight title in 2008. At the time, the only reference people had was the same upkick Renzo Gracie landed on Oleg Taktarov 12 years earlier.
Now, mind you, this also happened at the time when Jacare was at the peak of his game. He was entering the bout on a ten-fight win streak and a solid reputation as a finisher on the ground. His accomplishments in both the ADCC and Mundials were living proof to his grappling prowess.
Nonetheless, “The Dreamcatcher” remained calm and composed in Jacare’s world. And as soon as the gator dove in for a punch a la old school Shogun Rua, Mousasi found the mark. Lights out.
In a recent interview, former longtime UFC champion Demetrious Johnson threw Mousasi’s name in the hat to be part of his GOATs list, which caught some by surprise. But just looking at the man’s record, the caliber of opponents he faced, and how he operates, I won’t argue with that.