It feels like ages since we've done a GIFathon for you. Turns out it's only been three weeks, but with the UFC running so many events these days it feels like even 10 days between events is too long. UFC on Fox 8 is tomorrow night, and we've got six great GIFs (courtesy of Zombie Prophet) highlighting the talents of several of the card's combatants, including:
....and more! Dallas Winston is also here to add his commentary, so let's get started.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Jesse Brock (2010)
Mookie Alexander: Behold! Demetrious Johnson finishing a fight. In fact, he finished 8 of his first 10 opponents. At first it looked like a bit of an early stoppage, but when you see Jesse Brock being helped up by the referee you can tell his mind is somewhere else ... likely in row 18. Seconds before the head kick KO it was pretty evident that Brock wasn't too keen on defending kicks of any sort, as Mighty Mouse landed both a head kick and multiple leg kicks without much resistance. This finishing sequence shows the speed that Johnson has, particularly when he mixes up his strikes. Mighty Mouse would make his WEC debut later that year, losing to Brad Pickett by unanimous decision but obviously embarking on a highly successfully bantamweight and now flyweight career.
Dallas Winston: Jesus. We rarely see a straight right-left high kick combination executed so fluidly. When DJ is on, his attack patterns and elaborate entries are right up there with Frankie Edgar, but the flyweight champ mixes in a bigger bag of tricks. In fact, he threw this quick-release high kick somewhat regularly on his road to the title but has gone away from it a bit lately. This talent of his will be imperative against challenger John Moraga, who wears some big-boy pants when he's mashing up foes at close range. Despite his shocking overpowering of John Dodson in the clinch last time out, I don't think Mighty Mouse can constrain and batter Moraga like that. His in-and-out motion, speed and diverse striking will be integral to avoid the close-range perils of Moraga's wrestling and nasty elbows.
John Moraga vs. Matthew Garcia (2012)
Mookie: Moraga fought FIVE times in 2012, including his two UFC wins. His first win of the year was an easy one over Matthew Garcia in Phoenix. He went deep on a double leg takedown and slammed Garcia right into side control. Garcia was able to regain half-guard but Moraga (obviously) soon ended up in full mount, and while his ground-and-pound wasn't impressive, he instinctively abandoned the ineffective offense with the effective maneuver of trying to rip Garcia's arm out of its socket.
Dallas Winston: I love this cat. We've seen loads of D1 wrestlers in MMA, but it's not often we see one with the instincts and technique to pass to full mount and hit an armbar this smoothly. Add in Moraga's solid striking and absolutely crippling in-fighting game and we might have one bad motor scooter on our hands. Not many realize that Moraga initially entered MMA as a featherweight and has gradually whittled himself down into flyweight proportions, so he's going to be tough to move around as well.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Gil Castillo (2006)
Mookie: One of the more underrated aspects of Ellenberger's offensive game, at least in my opinion, is his knees from the clinch. He generates a lot of force and while he sent Jake Shields to the floor with a knee to the head, I'd say he prefers hard knees to the body. Against Gil Castillo, Ellenberger clipped him with a right hand and scored a knockdown just seconds into the opening round, and dominated the fight from there. Ellenberger finished the fight with what I'm going to call a "Juggerknee" and then lightning quick ground-and-pound. Castillo, who unsuccessfully fought for both the UFC welterweight and middleweight championship, retired from professional competition after this loss.
Dallas Winston: I'm pretty sure Gil Castillo is the first guy to ever win by omoplata in MMA -- and it was a slick rolling omoplata too -- and he also fought and lost to Dave Menne to crown the UFC's first middleweight championship. For more nostalgia, this sequence reminds me of early NHB when one opponent would gather himself in the 50/50 clinch and flare his elbows out to expose his opponent's midsection to the chime of "Knees! Knees!" from the crowd. Jake, a strong wrestler, did not want to be on his back against Castillo, and kept him at bay with a few short shots before lengthening himself and spearing a crushing knee to the body to seal the deal.
Rory MacDonald vs. Ken Tran (2006)
Mookie: As you know by now, Rory MacDonald has been fighting professionally since he was 15. Naturally, he fought as a lightweight and didn't even venture into welterweight until about a year before he joined the UFC. Here's his 2nd pro fight (aged 16) against Ken Tran, which he then celebrated by re-recording his biggest hits as lead singer of Tears for Fears.
Dallas Winston: It's still pretty crazy to me that Rory was fighting so composed at such a young age. This was the second of his four-straight 1st-round submission wins to ignite his MMA career and, though he couldn't maintain his finishing streak, Rory went on to win the King of the Cage Canadian title and then the full-blown promotional lightweight title by beating Clay French, who already had 18 fights, a win over Mac Danzig and had just fought Satoru Kitaoka in Sengoku.
Jorge Masvidal vs. Satoru Kitaoka (2009)
Mookie: It's been 4 years since Jorge Masvidal finished a fight. Here's that finish against dangerous submission specialist Satoru Kitaoka, who had just lost his lightweight title to Mizuto Hirota, at Sengoku 11.
Dallas Winston: Speaking of Kitaoka ... it's a scary, scary thing to willfully enter his guard, so you best have the guns blazing if you're ballsy enough to do it. Despite his lack of recent finishes, Masvidal seems to have matured a ton and now fights with excellent composure and poise, which is extremely understandable after his unexpected losses to Rodrigo Damm in Sengoku and Toby Imada in Bellator.
Robbie Lawler vs. Falaniko Vitale (1st fight, 2005)
Mookie: Falaniko Vitale was the face of Hawaiian MMA, primarily because he's Hawaiian, has fought much of his career in Hawaii, and started out 20-3 with wins over Yushin Okami and Matt Lindland. His first of two fights with Robbie Lawler was an exciting affair that ended in dramatic and bizarre fashion; Vitale dropped for a kneebar on Lawler late in the 2nd round, but Lawler nearly fell out of the ring and the referee restarted the fight from a standing position. What ensued was A.) Robbie Lawler reminding us that he hits hard, and B.) Chaos. The two fought again in 2006 and Lawler knocked Vitale out even quicker.
Dallas Winston: For anyone who didn't watch the early SuperBrawl days, or even the subsequent ICON Sports events that followed (which briefly adopted the salivating rule-set of elbows with the allowance of knees, soccer kicks and stomps to a grounded opponent) is missing a treat. That's where "Mayhem" got his start, where Lawler turned it on as a middleweight and where a select few will recall the Danny Bennett vs. Jay R. Palmer fights. Niko was a big, strong and athletic former football player who's fought some big names and performed respectably. This reminiscing brings Robbie Lawler's unforgettable finish of Frank Trigg to mind, which we should have injected here.
Thanks again to ZP and DW for making this feature possible. We have GIFathons scheduled for August 2nd, 16th, and 30th so if you like MMA GIFs then you will love next month.