If you were thoroughly impressed with Jorge Masvidal and Cory Sandhagen for their flying knee finishes, you probably didn’t see the handiwork of Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto.
It happened in 2006 at K-1 Hero’s 5 against Kazuyuki Miyata, a decorated freestyle wrestler who represented Japan at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. I mention this because as Yamamoto proved, the flying knee has been and will always be an effective anti-wrestler weapon.
There were similarities with the Masvidal-Ben Askren scenario. Miyata set his feet, dipped his head, and seemingly attempted a level change to shoot for a takedown as soon as he saw Yamamoto charging at him.
Moments later, he unknowingly found himself on the receiving end of a flying knee that left him out cold for a few moments. The only difference here was that Yamamoto got the job done a tad quicker than Masvidal at four seconds.
It was this five-year run from 2002 to 2007 when Yamamoto’s career was at its peak. Among his victims were respected veterans like Genki Sudo, Caol Uno, Royler Gracie, and Rahni Yahya, all of whom he finished inside two rounds.
Sadly, Yamamoto passed away in 2018 from stomach cancer at 41 years young. But fortunately, we will always have these performances to remember him by.