Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome: This is the unoffi cial mantra of the U.S. Marine Corps. Why? Because Marines are badasses who typically have to think on their feet and adjust their tactics accordingly. Marines do not make excuses. Likewise, mixed martial artists have to be able to think on their feet. Fortunately, no one is shooting AK-47s at fi ghters, which allows them room for error in their improvisations. Some of their improvised tactics are good, some are bad, and some are just plain FUBAR. Here are the 10 that left me wondering, “Did he really just do that?”
10. Flying Front Flip
Harold Howard vs. Steve Jennum UFC 4, 1994
Back when mullets were the preferred haircut of karate black belts, Howard completed a fl ying front fl ip for purposes of accentuating his golden locks (at least that’s my best guess). The fl ip came nowhere close to touching Jennum, who then beat Howard into oblivion with a furry of punches. Howard also loses style points for not sticking the landing.
9. Crane Kick
Sean Salmon vs. Rashad Evans UFC Fight Night 8, 2007
Taking a page out of the Karate Kid’s notebook, Salmon delivered a perfectly executed crane kick. The problem was that Evans was on the other side of the Octagon. However, Salmon would make the UFC highlight reel after Evans dropped him with a devastating leg kick in the second round. Mr. Miyagi surely would have been impressed.
8. Flying Dropkick
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Eric “Butterbean” Esch PRIDE Bushido 12, 2006
What’s better than opening a match with a fl ying dropkick? Minowa can answer that question. He delivered two fl ying dropkicks to Butterbean in the fi rst 15 seconds of their fi ght. The 400-pounder swatted Minowa away like a gnat, but minutes later the Japanese catch-wrestler had Butterbean tapping to an armbar. It should be noted that Butterbean has eaten barbecue sandwiches bigger than the 180-pound Minowa.
Bob Sapp vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira PRIDE Shockwave, 2002
In the opening seconds of the bout, Sapp countered Nogueira’s double-leg attempt by lifting him in the air and piledriving him down to the canvas ala Jerry “The King” Lawler. Big Nog rebounded from the slam and a substantial beating and submitted Sapp in the second round via armbar. Sapp has since found fame as the spokesman for Nissin Instant Noodles.
6. Humping Worm Slam
Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Hughes III UFC 79, 2007
While St. Pierre had Hughes mounted in the fi rst round, he decided to soften up the Country Boy with several pelvic-thrust slams. It wasn’t ascetically pleasing, but it did make Hughes uncomfortable enough that he relinquished his body lock. Perhaps in the recesses of Hughes’ brain, he decided it was better to lose via armbar than be humped unconscious.
5. The EYENOOGIE
Mark Kerr vs. Dan Bobish UFC 14, 1997
Known for his wrestling ability and groundn- pound attack, Kerr may have felt he was becoming too one-dimensional as a mixed martial artist. So, after taking Bobish down with a double-leg and mounting him, Kerr applied the “chin to eye,” forcing the tap at 1:38 in the fi rst round. Mark Hunt may have the toughest chin in MMA, but Mark Kerr has the most technical chin. Imagine the damage Jay Leno could do.
4. Ball ANNIHILATOR
Keith Hackney vs. Joe Son UFC 4, 1993
Before Son became famous for playing the hat-throwing Random Task in Austin Powers, he was known for having his testicles repeatedly pulverized by Hackney. Crotch shots were legal in the UFC at this time, and Hackney sure took advantage of this rule as he forced Son to tap from a combination testicle strike/neck choke. I can say with absolute certainty that no one will ever lose again via “testi-choke.”
3. Ass Spanker
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Ryan Gracie PRIDE 12, 2002
Sakuraba is renown both for beating numerous Gracies and utilizing unorthodox techniques. He decided to kill two birds with one stone in 2002 when he literally spanked Ryan Gracie’s ass several times while mixed up in a scramble on the ground. After the spanking, Saku fi guratively spanked Gracie’s ass with a unanimous-decision victory. Gracie can count himself fortunate that he was not the recipient of Saku’s double Mongolian chop.
2. THE SMOTHER
Emmanuel Yarborough vs. Tatsuaki Nakano Shoot the Shooto XX, 1998
When you weigh more than 700 pounds, it’s only natural to use all that fat to your advantage. And that’s exactly what Yarborough did when he plopped his belly on Nakano’s face and won the fi ght via smother. This is the lone victory of Yarborough’s career, and it truly is “fat-tastic.”
1. Atomic Butt Drop
Mark Hunt vs. Wanderlei Silva PRIDE Shockwave, 2004
What do you do when your opponent lies on the mat and will not get up? Some fi ghters kick. Some fi ghters pass guard. Some fi ghters reign down punches. If you are Mark Hunt, you take this opportunity to leap in the air and drop your ass onto Silva’s torso, thus inventing the atomic butt drop. Silva quickly reversed Hunt’s ass, but, in the end, Hunt got the split-decision victory. Hunt also has been known to modify the atomic butt drop into the atomic double-knee drop. However, it’s not nearly as entertaining.