Sherdog’s Top 10: Greatest Punchers

Number 10

By Patrick Wyman Jan 20, 2015

10. Melvin Manhoef

An experienced kickboxer with almost 50 bouts under his belt, Manhoef is known for one thing: the kind of punching power that breaks faces, destroys dreams and strips away brain cells like a healthy dose of paint thinner. Of his 29 victories in MMA, 27 of them have come by way of knockout and almost all of those were due to the Dutchman’s dynamite fists.

A longtime student of Mike Passenier, who also trained potent punchers like Badr Hari and Gokhan Saki, Manhoef’s characteristic style consists of heavy low kicks to cut off his opponent’s movement and then lightning-fast two- to five-punch body-head punching combinations that rarely fail to separate the victim from consciousness.

All of that is predicated on Manhoef’s crazy speed and incredible natural power, but he also displayed a surprising level of craft. His knockout of Mark Hunt, for example, came on a slick back-stepping left hook-right hook combination that caught the charging Kiwi as he came in. He also uses body shots to move his opponent’s hands out of position and land shots to the head. These are not the moves of a gifted beginner but a polished and skilled competitor.

While Manhoef’s career is now coming to a close, he will always be remembered as a vicious knockout artist and great puncher.

Number 9 » The sambo and judo specialist inaugurated his long run as MMA’s best heavyweight and captured the Pride Fighting Championships belt almost entirely through his slick takedowns, brutalizing top control and nose for opportunistic submissions. What cemented his status as the sport’s best big man and one of the greatest fighters of all-time, however, was his eventual development into a vicious knockout artist.


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