An excuse to write about Mixed Martial Arts on a video game website? Maybe.
But also an opportunity to talk about all the wild shit that regularly occurs in the insane world of Mixed Martial Arts.
Because the most exciting thing about MMA is the clash of styles. MMA can truly feel like a real life Street Fighter 2 where specific fighters have different strengths or signature moves. And much like competitive gaming, the meta is constantly transforming. MMA isn’t boxing. Boxing has been the same for the last 50 years, but MMA will always provide its audience with ‘what the fuck just happened’ moments, because MMA is constantly evolving. People are constantly finding new ways to fight.
(Pro-tip: now is a good time to start watching MMA because the meta is leaning towards traditional martial artists who throw crazy kicks.)
In conclusion, this is a list. A for from comprehensive list of all the times when MMA threw up mental, video game like moments.
1. When Two Guys Decided To Button Mash
Meet Don Frye. Don Frye in his prime looked like someone injected Freddie Mercury with the serum they used to transform Steve Rogers into Captain America. Basically he looks like someone drew him. Like he didn’t belong in real life. He’s just too… fucking manly. Like he represents masculinity in its weirdest, rawest form. Like someone turned a moustache into a human being. That’s Don Frye.
Don Frye liked to punch people. So did Yoshihiro Takayama. One day in Pride they decided to have the greatest fight of all time. A real life version of that fight scene in They Live.
It was some wild-ass shit.
2. When Edson Barboza Hit The Perfect Wheel Kick
This is the kick you imagine throwing when someone really annoyed you at work and you fantasise in the shower about kicking them really hard. “Oh yeah Steve, maybe YOU need to refill the paper in the photocopier?”
[WHEEL KICK TO THE FACE]
Real life shouldn’t be like this.
3. When Lando Vannata Did The Exact Same Thing
Barboza’s kick was pretty cool. Then 2016 rookie of the year Lando Vannata did the exact same thing.
(Arguably he set it up better, but the kick itself wasn’t quite as fast or as cool as Barboza’s.)
4. When Kevin Randleman Zangief’d Fedor
For context, Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest heavyweight of all time and Kevin Randleman wasn’t supposed to be able to do this. He did it anyway.
Insanely, he lost the fight just seconds later after Fedor transitioned from having his head DRIVEN INTO THE GROUND FROM A TREMENDOUS HEIGHT and submitted Kevin Randleman with a Kimura hold.
5. When Anderson Silva Did Stuff
Most fighters don’t do anything extraordinary. A select few have single moments of brilliance.
Anderson Silva is different. Anderson Silva does spectacular things every single time he steps in the cage.
But really his fight against Forrest Griffin was his masterpiece. After dominating his own division for years, Silva moved up 20 pounds in weight to fight an ex-LHW champion and put in one of the greatest fighting performances of all time.
Later Forrest Griffin talked about the fight. “I was very confused,” he said. “I tried to punch him and he literally moved his head out of the way and looked at me like I was stupid for doing it.”
6. When Cowboy Cerrone Landed The Best Combo Ever
I’m putting this heavily stylised version of Cerrone’s combo because this is literally how I remember this going down.
This is what happened. This is fact.
7. Basically Any Time Yair Rodriguez Fights
Yair Rodriguez literally fights like he is in a video game. He lives up to that stereotype. His kicks don’t make sense. Gravity is like a thing he just decides to fuck with. He never throws a punch when a tornado bicycle kick will do.
You have to respect that.
Yair Rodriguez fights like he has zero respect for the laws of physics.
8. When Rose Namajunas Hit A Flying Armbar And Went Beserk
There’s probably been more technical submissions in MMA, but nothing as spectacular as Rose Namajunas’ flying armbar submission.
Even better is her reaction to the win.
Off the chain.
9. When Anthony Pettis Jumped Off The Cage Like A Ninja
I can’t foresee a future where anything cooler will ever happen in an MMA fight. I just can’t imagine it.
The idea, the execution, the result. Even the stage: the main event of WEC’s final event before being absorbed into the UFC. It was just a sporting miracle. If it happened in a video game you’d say it was stupid, but it happened in real life.