Remember the context here -- Liverpool’s Terry Etim had rattled off five victories in his previous six fights, and his bout with Edson Barboza looked like a catapult into the top 10 of the lightweight division.
But a funny thing happened in Rio at UFC 142.
Midway through the third round of an otherwise well-contested fight, the Brazilian Barboza stood at the center of the Octagon and eyed an advancing Etim, who had his hands up at his chin in defense. Right when Etim trespassed inside the inner-Octagon line, Barboza planted his right leg, spun like a dervish 360 degrees and used his left leg as an Apache blade.
As the unthinkable, out-of-the blue spinning wheel kick landed, Etim dropped backward as if he'd been shot, and referee Dan Miragliotta swooped in to signal the copters. Everybody else rubbed their eyes and wondered if they’d just seen what they thought they’d just seen.
Though it happened just two weeks into 2012, a week before Barboza would turn 26 years old, that spectacular knockout always looked like the KO of the year. Even in slow motion, the propulsion and composure of Barboza's kick barely registers -- you just don’t see perfect execution of that kind of thing very often.
Know what was even more impressive? Barboza's demeanor afterward.
He saw Etim drop to the canvas, stiff as a mannequin en route and clearly done, and calmly walked to his corner as if he'd just done the most pedestrian thing imaginable.
Bravo, Edson Barboza. Bravo.