TOP 10: WEC KNOCKOUTS

No. 10

Ricardo Lamas vs. Bendy Casimir
WEC 47
March 6, 2010 | Columbus, Ohio

Casimir had won 15 of 16 entering his bout against Lamas, with 10 of those victories coming via submission. Lamas carried some oomph in his strikes and was 7-1 as a pro at that point, his wins a concoction of decisions, knockouts and submissions. Most pundits were unsure of the outcome, but popular opinion held that Casimir would force Lamas to defend submission attempts throughout, most notably his go-to kneebar.

The Frenchman tried several times to take down Lamas, with shots and from the clinch, but he was unsuccessful. After being wounded by a kick to the liver, Casimir clinched and circled in an effort to weather the pain. When he tried shooting for another takedown a few moments later, Lamas drilled him with a neutron bomb of a knee. Casimir’s mouthpiece was sent flying through the air, as consciousness left him. He has never been the same, losing his next five fights before taking a four-year break. Lamas, meanwhile, has gone on to become one of the world’s top featherweights.

No. 9

Chris Leben vs. Mike Swick
WEC 9
Jan. 16, 2004 | Lemoore, Calif.

Before they were housemates on the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” they were combatants at one of the early WEC events. Leben’s ferocious punching power came through in the first round, where he dropped Swick with a loopy left hook, but “The Crippler” could not put him away. After finishing off the opening frame on the canvas, Swick stumbled back to his corner; the end, however, was near.

Leben stormed out for the second round and slugged with Swick, who obliged. Leben planted an overhand left on Swick’s jaw, and the taller fighter instantly crumbled in a heap onto his knees and face. Swick was out 45 seconds into round two, and Leben had become the WEC’s first middleweight champion. Leben went on to score plenty of other violent stoppages: Benji Radach, Jorge Santiago, Terry Martin and Wanderlei Silva all felt his wrath.

No. 8

Eddie Wineland vs. Ken Stone
WEC 53
Dec. 16, 2010 | Glendale, Ariz.

The final World Extreme Cagefighting event was headlined and highlighted by the sensational five-round matchup between Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson. The “Showtime Kick” received all the attention — and deservedly so — but WEC 53 was also the site of a hellacious knockout that brought back memories of Quinton Jackson-Ricardo Arona in Pride Fighting Championships.

Stone kept Wineland at bay with a series of inside leg kicks, only to have the former WEC champion denied his takedown advances. Stone instead jumped guard, but Wineland refused to go to the canvas and instead walked him over to the cage. The American Top Team rep lost his attempted guillotine, and as soon as Wineland’s head popped free, he slammed Stone as hard as he could onto his back, knocking him senseless 2:11 into round one.

No. 7

Damacio Page vs. Marcos Galvao
WEC 39
March 1, 2009 | Corpus Christi, Texas

This one was downright scary. Before he bent Joe Warren’s leg beyond its bounds to take the Bellator MMA bantamweight title, Galvao cut his teeth in promotions like Shooto and Jungle Fight. The jiu-jitsu wizard also made a few stops in WEC, and there was one in particular he would just as soon forget. Then again, he may not even remember the 18 seconds he spent inside the cage with Page.

A true knockout artist, Page exploded out of his corner and swung for the fences. Galvao never had a chance to adjust, as he was quickly rocked by a loopy overhand right. The Brazilian retreated to the fence and tried to fend off his attacker, but Page’s power and aggression proved too much, and he eventually leveled and stiffened “Loro.”

No. 6

Anthony Pettis vs. Danny Castillo
WEC 47
March 6, 2010 | Columbus, Ohio

WEC 47 was an excellent card in terms of pure violence. Pettis made sure Ricardo Lamas did not get all the fanfare for icing Bendy Casimir in the opening bout, and poor Castillo had to pay the price. Theirs was expected to be a sensational matchup, but Pettis was the favorite as he entered the cage — and for good reason, and he demonstrated it in spectacular fashion.

The two waged a tactical battle early, as they both searched for opportunities to strike. After they scrambled back to their feet, Pettis became more of an aggressor. Castillo backed away and circled to his left a few minutes in, but when Pettis feigned a punching combination, Castillo was met with a perfect left head kick. “Last Call” plummeted to the canvas, flat on his back, though he was not out cold. Pettis made sure of the result, as he dropped five unanswered punches before being pushed aside, another thrilling victory authored.

No. 5

Brian Bowles vs. Miguel Torres
WEC 42
Aug. 9, 2009 | Las Vegas

Torres rode into his WEC bantamweight title defense on a 17-fight winning streak, a ridiculous 37-1 career record in tow. He was widely regarded as one of the sport’s pound-for-pound best, so dominant that many experts believed he was a lock to go down as one of the top lighter-weight fighters ever to compete in MMA. Bowles, of course, had other plans.

Bowles floored Torres with an overhand right a minute into the match and then settled right into the Carlson Gracie protégé’s guard. Torres could not keep the West Virginia native at bay and failed to lock down a submission from the bottom. Eventually, Bowles backed out and allowed the defending champion to stand. Torres connected with a nice right hand but charged the challenger with an ill-advised flurry and ran right into a perfect counter right hook. Torres fell to his back and tried to claim guard, but Bowles was all over him.

A series of ground-and-pound right hands hit their target — Torres’ head — and rendered him unconscious. Just like that, the WEC bantamweight championship changed hands. Torres never again recaptured the magic that was once his.

No. 4

George Roop vs. Chan Sung Jung
WEC 51
Sept. 30, 2010 | Broomfield, Colo.

It seems as though everybody loves zombies these days. With all the zombie-related television shows, movies, T-shirts, memorabilia and video games in circulation, one cannot walk 10 feet without seeing some sort of reference to the shuffling fearless undead. Everyone knows a zombie’s weakness can be found above the shoulders, and Roop followed the blueprint when he went upstairs on “The Korean Zombie” and scored one of the best head-kick knockouts in history.

A minute into the second round, Jung opened up with a flurry of strikes and then backed off, seemingly winded. Roop threw a two-punch combination before he unfurled a sizzling left head kick that instantly knocked out the popular Korean featherweight. Jung fell flat on his back, some blood trickling from the bridge of his nose. Michonne would definitely have approved of how Roop disposed of his zombie.

No. 3

1

Rob McCullough vs. Olaf Alfonso
WEC 19
March 17, 2006 | Lemoore, Calif.

He was knocked out in 75 percent of his losses, but Alfonso was always entertaining to watch; and before he became a journeyman, he was pretty good at MMA, twice fighting for the WEC lightweight championship. McCullough was the second stop in what became a six-fight skid for the Guatemalan.

After trading some serious leather and tearing into each other throughout the first round, McCullough saw his chance. Alfonso had run out of gas, and the “Razor” capitalized. He quickly landed a left roundhouse kick to the body and followed it with a scorching straight right to the jaw. Alfonso’s mouthpiece took flight, as he collapsed to his back. Believing the fight was over, McCullough backed off and then realized there was more work to be done. The muay Thai stylist blasted his fallen foe’s legs with a few kicks before diving on top with a devastating right hand to the face. Alfonso left for dreamland, his limp body resting peacefully on the canvas 12 seconds into round two.

No. 2

Anthony Njokuani vs. Chris Horodecki
WEC 45
Dec. 19, 2009 | Las Vegas

Horodecki entered the WEC cage for the first time with a sparkling 14-1 record, having made a name for himself inside the International Fight League. Njokuani was not impressed and turned the Canadian’s organizational debut into a disaster, making him a permanent resident on World Extreme Cagefighting highlight reels.

After a few minutes of back-and-forth action, Horodecki seemed to be holding his own. However, Njokuani executed a perfect judo throw, leaving his opponent to scramble to his feet in retreat. Believing he was in the clear, Horodecki inexplicably turned his back to Njokuani, his hands down. He never realized he was being pursued. Njokuani chased the Shawn Tompkins disciple across the cage and uncoiled his right leg at exactly the right time, nailing his counterpart on the side of the head.

Horodecki dropped as if he had been sniped, and Njokuani pounced with a volley of punches. The Canadian could not intelligently defend himself, prompting referee Steve Mazzagatti to call a halt to the mugging 3:33 into the first round.

No. 1

Jose Aldo vs. Cub Swanson
WEC 41
June 7, 2009 | Sacramento, Calif.

Swanson sported a 13-2 record and had rattled off back-to-back wins in wake of his shocking loss to a shopworn Jens Pulver. Aldo had begun his ascent to the top of the featherweight division, as he had touched off his run in the WEC with four straight finishes against Chris Mickle, Rolando Perez, Jonathan Brookins and Alexandre Franca Nogueira. Most expected the Brazilian to be too much for Swanson, but few foresaw the dramatic fashion in which his situation would unravel.

The Jackson-Wink MMA rep never got a chance to get started. By the time Swanson realized the fight had started, he was turtled on the canvas, blood pouring from a horrific gash on his left eyebrow. Aldo had delivered a double flying knee to his face and followed with a few left hooks to force the stoppage. It was over in just eight seconds and remains arguably the most spectacular finish of Aldo’s great career.

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