Jorge Masvidal broke the UFC record for the fastest KO in history on July 6, snapping Ben Askren’s undefeated streak with a brutal flying knee.
At UFC 239, “Gamebred” anticipated a takedown attempt from Askren and counteracted “Funky” with a flying knee. Askren was knocked out cold, and Masvidal was quick to bask in the glory of his swift victory. The fight ended officially at the five second mark of round 1. However, Masvidal believes if the referee had intervened sooner, the fight would have finished within 2 or 3 seconds.
It is unlikely that Masvidal’s new record will be beaten any time soon. The former record holder, Duane Ludwig held it for 13 years. He won via a six-second stoppage of Jonathan Goulet at UFC Fight Night 3, January 2006.
However, there is another MMA fighter that set the gold standard for the quickest first-round finish. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto went head to head with his rival, Kazuyuki Miyata at the K-1: Hero’s 5 competition in 2006 (the same year Ludwig took home his record.) He delivered a flying knee finish almost straight away.
The bell rang, Yamamoto ran and leapt forward with a perfectly timed flying knee. “Little Hercules” Miyata absorbed the blow and fell to the floor, ending the fight as fast as it started. The fight officially finished within 4 seconds, but Miyata was seeing stars at around 2 seconds into the first round. See the explosive finish here:
Aside from the remarkably similar timings and finishes, there are many parallels between each matchup. Both Japanese fighters in the K-1 Hero bout shared a celebrity status that fueled anticipation for the 2006 fight. The explosive finish added notoriety towards Yamamoto that solidified his reputation as a world-class fighter. Likewise, the growing rivalry between “Funky” and “Gamebred” made their UFC 239 matchup one of the most anticipated events of the year.
Just like Ben Askren, Kazuyuki Miyata experienced the sudden KO loss but was nevertheless a worthy opponent who had earnt his stripes. He was one of the most respected opponents in the lightweight division and both Miyata and Askren were Olympic wrestlers.
“Kid” Yamamoto and “Gamebred” Masvidal have proven their worth over their lengthy MMA careers, beating several MMA veterans. They have endured their fair share of losses, but their performances in the face of adversity speak for themselves. Yamamoto has trumped Royler Gracie, Caol Uno and Genki Sudo. Meanwhile, Masvidal has defeated Yves Edwards and Donald Cerrone (to name a few).
In the height of his career, “Kid” Yamamoto was perceived as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Similarly, Jorge Masvidal is universally respected as one of the strongest adversaries in the UFC.
Yamamoto embodied a Japanese warrior who had no fear. This is very much the case for Masvidal who excels under pressure and conflict. Their technical ability, agility and timing demonstrated by their flying knee finishes is a testament to their fearless fighting style. Unfortunately, Yamamoto was fighting another battle: cancer. He died as a result in September 2018.
Whether these fighters were on the giving or receiving end of lightning-fast flying knees, they have all been instrumental in the growth of the sport. Kid Yamamoto could certainly give Jorge Masvidal and Duane Ludwig a run for their money. Which first-round finish impressed you the most and why? Let us know in the comments below.
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