This past weekend at UFC Fight Night: Moraes V.S Sandhagen, we were witnesses to one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history.
In the fifth fight of the night, Joaquin Buckley knocked out Impa Kasanganay with an incredible, jumping 180-degree heel kick while his other leg was being controlled by Impa. That incredible knockout this past weekend had me thinking about my personal, top five knockouts in the UFC.
Now usually, this page focuses on the news and events surrounding the MMA world, but this week, we’re going to have a little fun.
Here are the top five knockouts in UFC history, according to myself, Ryan Boran.
Here are a few quick disclaimers for this list. Three out of the five knockouts on this list are very recent as my personal MMA fandom began about five years ago. Therefore, my recency bias will be in full effect. Knockouts hold a more memorable place when they are witnessed live.
Also, there will be no TKOs on this list. This list will be strictly knockouts where consciousness has left the opponent’s body. Those disclaimers aside, here is my list.
5) Francis N’Gannou KO’s Alistair Overeem: UFC 218
What do we think of when we hear the word “knockout?” Raw power, scary individuals, and someone’s head being knocked off of their shoulders are typical characteristics that come to mind. This knockout has all of that and more.
Francis N’Gannou was on his meteoric rise to the top of the Heavyweight division when he was paired with, at one time, the scariest man in the division. N’Gannou proved just how great he is and how much power he possesses when he threw a clean left uppercut that snapped Overeem’s head back and knocked him completely unconscious.
This was truly the first highlight reel knockout for N’Gannou and set the tone for his career in the UFC.
4) Edson Barboza KO’s Terry Etim: UFC 142
Some knockouts showcase raw power, some knockouts showcase technical excellence. While N’Gannou’s knockout in the previous entry showcases the former, Edson Barboza’s knockout of Terry Etim is the latter. It doesn’t take long while watching a Barboza fight to realize his love for attacking his opponent’s legs by way of vicious kicks. However, because Barboza attacks low on his opponents, it often leads to his opponents opening themselves up for higher attacks.
Barboza waited until round three of this fight with Etim to grace the fans with the UFC’s first-ever wheel-kick knockout.
The way Barboza begins to walks off after landing the kick before Etim’s body even hits the mat shows how incredible this knockout truly was.
3) Valentina Shevchenko KO’s Jessica Eye: UFC 238
Take everything that was said in the last entry, and add a championship to the fight. Valentina Schevchenko was and still is, on the run of her career holding the Women’s Flyweight Championship when she defended it against Jessica Eye. The entire fight, Valentina attacked the body of Eye. During the second round of their championship fight, just when Eye started to adjust and block the body kicks, Valentina threw a head kick which knocked Eye completely out cold. Valentina is a seemingly unstoppable force currently and Eye was just one of her many victims.
This knockout was so incredible because it not only showcased the skill Valentina has in the cage but also how she is thinking so far ahead of her opponent. She knows that if she throws the body kicks enough, Eye will leave her head exposed eventually or succumb to the punishment to her body.
She of course does leave her head exposed, and the rest is history. Watching it, to this day, still gives me goosebumps.
2) Jorge Masvidal KO’s Ben Askren: UFC 239
What is there to say about the fastest knockout in UFC history? Jorge Masvidal was looking to increase his stock in the company after some time away, and after defeating Darren Till, who better to match him up against the relative newcomer, Ben Askren. Askren had proven his worth outside of the UFC and was looking to become known as the greatest 170-pound fighter ever.
Askren is notorious for talking immense amounts of trash leading up to fights and did so against Masvidal. Masvidal was unfazed and even went so far as to practice a crazy flying knee to start the fight. What are the chances this would actually land, let alone end the fight? Well.. it landed.
If this entry is someone’s personal number one, I can completely understand why.
This knockout will live in infamy, and in the record books, forever. However, there is one that is better in my opinion.
1) Dan Henderson KO’s Michael Bisping: UFC 100
First and foremost, I am a huge Michael Bisping fan. At this time, Bisping was a controversial, career journeyman who had some great wins to his name, but also some questionable losses. However, Bisping was given a showcase bout with an all-time legend already by this point in Dan Henderson.
Much like Askren in the previous entry, Bisping was no stranger to trash talk and did so up until the bout began. What happened in the fight is a little less fortunate for Bisping. Henderson has incredible power in his hands which Bisping felt first-hand. Hearing Joe Rogan screams “THAT’S IT” as soon as Henderson lands the right hook still resonates in my head to this day. But Henderson doesn’t stop there.
For talking so much trash in the build-up, Henderson lets Bisping have one more, with possibly the most iconic diving punch ever, just to make sure Bisping was out cold.
What knockout do you think was left off of the list?
What was your favorite UFC knockout?
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