The Crane Kick
Given that it’s a kick that every martial art student learns, there’s been surprisingly few front kick finishes in the Octagon over the years.
For a long time it appeared to be considered just another karate-style technique that wasn’t effective in MMA, but Anderson Silva showed just how dangerous it could be when he knocked out Vitor Belfort with one at UFC 126 in February of 2011.
Not to be outdone, fellow Brazilian Lyoto Machida would go on to win a fight in the UFC just two months later with an even rarer variant of the front kick.
The Crane Kick – essentially a more theatrical version of a jumping front kick – was made famous in the 80’s classic movie ‘The Karate Kid’ and so it was only fitting that MMA’s foremast Karate master, ‘The Dragon’ was able to utilize it in an actual fight, and against a legend no-less in Randy Couture, who retired after being KO’d by it in April of 2011.
Those finishes seemed a catalyst for others to work on their front kicks, and Travis Browne would go on to knockout Alistair Overeem with one in 2013, while Machida would give Belfort an unwelcome reminder of how potent the kick can be when he also knocked him out with it in ‘The Phenom’s’ retirement fight in 2018.