Paul Craig (16-4-1) vs Ankalaev (17-1) Krylov (27-9): The most recent entry on this list comes courtesy of Paul Craig. Back in 2018, Craig submitted Ankalaev at the very last second of their fight via triangle choke, and just this past weekend he pulled off a similar feat by submitting Nikita Krylov in the 1st. In both fights, Craig was on the wrong end of a beating before stunning the world. If he repeats this last-second victory once more, he might have to change his nickname from Bearjew to the Comeback Craig.
Anderson Silva (34-11) vs Chael Sonnen (31-17) 1: At one point Anderson was the equivalent of a real-life super Saiyan. He looked unbeatable and untouchable as he walked through his competition like a hot knife through butter. Then he ran into Chael Sonnen who trashed everything from Anderson’s legacy to his family and countrymen. In their first match, Chael did something no one else had been able to do, make Anderson look human. For the better part of their fight, Chael had his way with Anderson through relentless pressure, wrestling, and determination. Anderson would then slap a triangle choke with a minute left in the 5th and secure one of the most impressive comebacks during a fight.
Mike Russow (15-3) vs Todd Duffee (9-3): Never play with your food kids. This matchup between 2 former UFC heavyweights will forever live in infamy as the night that derailed the Duffee hype train. The man was built like a Greek statue, was coming off a then-record 7 second KO win and was 6-0 at the time of this fight. His opponent looked every bit a Heavyweight, but from UFC 1, not many gave Russow any sort of chance against such a Goliath, at first things seemed as they should with Duffee being the bully and punishing Russow who seemed in survival mode, Dufee was not only ahead clearly but looked like he was coasting to a dominant win. Then Mike threw a straight punch that crumbled the giant flat on his back and finished him off with a love tap for good measure.
Darren Elkins (26-10) vs Mirsad Bekitic (13-4): Darren Elkins capped off one of the best 3rd round comebacks in his division. Elkins was facing a fighter in Mirsad who at the time (now retired) was 11-0 and garnering attention as a future prospect. For the majority of their fight Mirsad looked every bit the better fighter, he controlled the stand-up and even the grappling. Late in the 3rd Mirsad had taken Elkins down and was working for position before Elkins went for a heel hook which looked deep, from there a scramble ensued and Elkins wound up taking Mirsad back as he was attempting to get up, Darren landed hooks to the head and a final head kick to Mirsad’s head before handing him his first-ever loss.
Nick Diaz (26-10) vs Paul Daley(43-18): You can’t call yourself an MMA fan if you don’t remember the Strikeforce days. This may be one of the best fights to come out of the now-defunct promotion, but back in 2011 Nick and Paul put on a performance that will forever be remembered in MMa history. This fight only lasted 4:57 seconds, but what fans got was a slugfest of epic proportions. Nick was then the SF welterweight champ and Daley was known for the TNT in each fist, while Nick had some moments early on, it was Paul that was getting the best of the exchanges, then with 3 seconds left Nick landed a trademark shot to Daley’s chin that no one including Paul saw coming, he bent the Britt nearly in half before the reff stepped in.
Ryo Chonan (22-13) vs Anderson Silva (34-11): You have to go back to 2004, during Pride Shockwave to find this fight. Anderson was still an up and coming fighter with a 14-3 record, he had shown flashes of what was to come but was still not a mainstream fighter. He met with Ryo who many at the time saw as a scrappy fighter but a sacrificial lamb for the young Spider. While nothing spectacular occurred during the fight, Anderson was cruising to a unanimous decision victory. Then as if out of a movie, Ryo threw a flying scissor heel hook which Anderson tapped to right away. I think it’s safe to say that even Ryo was shocked with his comeback.
Cheick Kongo (31-11-2) vs Pat Barry (8-7): If Diego Sanchez vs Clay Guida was the wildest decision ever, this might just be the wildest 3 minutes of the 1st round. For a solid minute, it looked like Barry was setting up what would be a strong finish of the much larger Kongo, he battered the Frenchman with strikes that wobbled him all over the cage and for a split second, it looked like the writing was on the wall. Then out of pure instinct, Kongo slept Barry with a punch so mean that Pat’s eyes didn’t even have the time to close. A Knockout that will forever live in infamy.
Bigfoot Silva (19-13) vs Alistair Overeem (47-19): As far as animosity goes, this KO has to be up there with the best of them, the comeback itself is especially remembered due to its brutality. Nate Diaz once told Conor McGregor during their second fight that if it wasn’t for the reff, he would be dead. This especially pertains to this fight as Bigfoot nearly continued to punish the reem even after the reff separated them. During this bout, Overeem was having his way with Silva who seemed like a fish out of water with the veteran striker for the first 2 rounds. He would then outlast Alistair who began to gas in the 3rd, Silva hit him with consecutive straights and hooks that left his opponent in a daze and eventually put him to sleep.
Sergio Pettis (22-5) vs Kyoji Horiguchi (29-4): While this fight was far from being a barnburner, one can’t deny that Kyoji was close to securing his second Bellator title. But In the 4th round of their fight, Sergio unloaded a spinning back fist that left everyone in the arena with an open mouth. While known as a flashy and efficient striker, Sergio has not been known for his power. Well on that night he silenced the non-believers in the most violent manner.
Robbie Lawler (29-15) vs Melvin Manhoef (32-15): 12 years ago, Robbie Lawler capped off one of the most underrated comebacks ever. This fight took place in 2010 during Strikeforce Miami. Both fighters were known as fantastic strikers, but Melvin was known as the more explosive kickboxer. For about 3 minutes and 30 seconds Melvin unloaded leg kicks that made everyone cringe, they were so bad that there were even times Robbie’s legs would swing above his head. Robbie would uncork an overhand right that sent Melvin to the shadow realm. Or in Robbie’s words “took his soul”.