Igor Vovchanchyn brutalized many a foe. | Photo: Stephen Martinez/Sherdog.com
Although his name has been largely forgotten by a newer generation of fans, Ukraine’s Vovchanchyn was one of MMA’s original sprawl-and-brawlers and the true king of the one-night tournament. He fought multiple times in a single night on 12 different occasions according to the official records and won seven of those brackets. Between 1995 and 2000, Vovchanchyn strung together a 37-fight unbeaten streak.
Twenty-nine opponents fell victim to Vovchanchyn’s thunderous kicks and punches over the course of his career, many of them in dramatic fashion. Although he stood only 5-foot-8 and often competed against fighters who held drastic size advantages, Vovchanchyn compensated with ridiculous power and a punching style that maximized the length of his stubby arms. Long before Fedor Emelianenko ever blasted an opponent with “casting punches,” in which the arm is held almost straight and the core whipped through the target to land with the palm facing almost outwards, Vovchanchyn had mastered the strike. He had a variety of crafty tricks for landing those shots, with great skill both leading and on the counter, and excellent footwork for backing his opponent to the ropes.
No knockout better encapsulates the terrifying power, speed and killer instinct that Vovchanchyn displayed at his best than his fight against Francisco Bueno at Pride 8. The Ukrainian backed Bueno into the corner and unleashed a brutal five-punch combination, dropping the Brazilian to the corner face-first and out cold.
Vovchanchyn retired in 2005 and does not get much recognition today, but he is an all-timer of a puncher and one of the scariest finishers in the annals of MMA.
Number 8 » Head kicks, punches, front kicks, flying knees, knees in the clinch, reverse elbows, triangle chokes, armbars and everything else under the sun have all brought his challengers to unconsciousness or the point of submission over the years.