There are comebacks…and then there are third-round comebacks. Not the takea-beating-and-latch-ona-fight-ending-submission comeback like Big Nog is renowned for. I’m talking about the fights where it’s berserker time—throweverything-including-the-kitchensink mode. When submissions aren’t your bag, it’s time to throw the fists of fury, and hope that your can wing a punch and land a prayer like these five believers.
5. TIM BOETSCH TKO’S YUSHIN OKAMI
UFC 144: 2/26/12
Round 3: 0:54
For two rounds, Yushin Okami beat Tim Boetsch like a hammered crab, peppering him with strikes and landing knees to his delicious underbelly. Before the final frame, Boetsch’s cornerman told him to be “super aggressive,” a prodding that must have jarred loose his inner “Barbarian” horde. Boetsch stormed from his corner, landed a big right hand and a couple of uppercuts, and it was sayonara Okami.
4. MIKE RUSSOW KO’S TODD DUFFEE
UFC 114: 5/29/10
Round 3: 2:33
In a juxtaposition of physiques, Colossuslike Todd Duffee had stuffed nine takedown attempts and landed 56 power strikes to Kingpin-like Mike Russow’s paltry 17. Duffee looked to be cruising to a unanimous decision, when Russow decided to land punch 18—a right hand to Duffee’s organic-steel temple. Big tree fell hard, and Russow followed up with blow 19 to prove his Marvel Comics superiority.
3. SCOTT SMITH TKO’S CUNG LE
Round 3: 3:25
After San Shou schooler Cung Le put on a head-kicking clinic in the first two rounds—dropping Smith twice—“The Comeback Kid” unloaded a left hand of steel that sent Le to the canvas. Smith swarmed like a fat kid on a honey jar, destroying any evidence contrary to his total domination, and securing another feather in his comeback cap.
2. SHONIE CARTER KO’S MATT SERRA
UFC 31: 5/4/01
Round 3: 4:51
Before he was bedazzling bathrobes, Shonie Carter was back-fisting his way into MMA pimpdom. By most accounts, lightweight Matt Serra (prior to his pizza addiction) was well on his way to grinding out a win in his UFC debut. However, with time winding down, Carter threw a lazy left head kick that missed its mark, but he followed it up with a spinning back fist that left Serra bedazzled on the canvas.
1. CARLOS CONDIT TKO’S RORY MACDONALD
UFC 115: 6/12/10
Round 3: 4:53
After two rounds of “The Waterboy’s” tenacious takedowns, crisp combos, and superior hydration, Carlos Condit chose the third round to unleash his “Natural Born Killer.” With the clock ticking down, Condit trapped MacDonald against the cage and made it rain…elbows. He bludgeoned Mac’s face to a bloody pulp and earned the TKO with seven seconds to spare.