What makes MMA such an exciting sport is its unpredictability. One-sided fights can go either way until either the bell rings or someone gets finished. As they say “all it takes is one punch.” As with any other combat sport, fans love to see knockouts in MMA. With UFC being the elite organization, knockouts come aplenty and in style.
Some are caused by punches, kicks, elbows, knees and very rarely, by slams. But to be honest, it doesn’t matter how they are delivered. Of course, it’s also important that the guy who got knocked unconscious is still okay.
The year hasn’t ended yet but we’ve already seen a handful of spectacular knockouts from the sport’s most elite athletes. There are a few big fights coming up including Bisping and Henderson’s rematch so there might be more knockouts to expect before the year ends.
Before these fights happen, we’ve got a rundown of some of the best knockouts that 2016 has produced so far. It’s a big year for finishes in the UFC so expect to see a lot of heavy hands on the list below. The list includes TKOs and one-punch KOs from a few prime athletes in the UFC and there’s nothing better than watching a KO delivered by some of the best that the sport has to offer.
15 Stephen Thompson vs. Johny Hendricks - UFC Fight Night 82
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is one of the up and coming welterweights in the UFC and is currently next in line for a title shot. We aren’t too surprised though as this future superstars always puts on a striking clinic whenever he gets in the Octagon. It’s the same result when he faced former welterweight champ, Johny Hendricks.
Back at UFC Fight Night 82, Hendricks and Thompson ended the event with the latter showing off superior striking skills. Once again, Thompson landed an array of kicks and punches and it sure was a sight to see for MMA fans.
The bout didn’t last one round and it was a relief for Hendricks' fans that the fight ended early as he was obviously outclassed on foot by Thompson. With more than a minute left in the first round, Thompson landed a solid right that finally put the former champ out.
14 Stipe Miocic vs. Andrei Arlovski - UFC 195
We’ll be seeing Miocic’s name on this list several times from now on. Early on in January, Miocic and Arlovski hit the year off with a heavyweight bout to boost their names in the ranks. It was here that Miocic began making a mark in the UFC and it’s also the first of his several KOs for 2016.
The fight was set as UFC 195 and Miocic was looking to be the underdog simply because Arlovski was a bigger name in MMA. As heavyweights, both guys obviously packed a punch beneath the gloves so both were pretty cautious in closing in the distance. Miocic disposed of Arlovski in less than a minute after a barrage of punches.
Arlovski wasn’t a joke as well as he took a lot of damage and was still able to weather the storm somehow. Things weren’t looking great for Arlovski early on but what ended the fight was a clean right hook to the jaw.
13 Paige Vanzant vs. Bec Rawlings - UFC on FOX: Vancouver
After a few months out of action, Paige Vanzant made her comeback at UFC on Fox back in August. Her comeback was nothing short of what fans expected and it was even more than they could hope for. One the receiving end of Vanzant’s striking clinic is another tough fighter, Bec Rawlings.
Throughout the match, Vanzant and Rawlings were both connecting with good shots and it was a pretty even match up. However, it was still apparent that Vanzant has the upper hand in the bout. Things started looking sour for Rawlings when Vanzant threw a kick we can only see in The Karate Kid.
Early in the second round, Vanzant caught Rawlings; and everyone else, off-guard with a flying roundhouse. Nobody saw it coming; especially not Rawlings. She went down in an instant and Vanzant followed up the crazy maneuver with a few punches to cap the night off.
12 Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo - UFC 197
By this point, we’re all probably aware of how Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is without a doubt the best fighter in the UFC currently. Be it on standup or on the ground, Johnson will always dominate. At his latest bout, we saw his display of power and striking excellence by knocking out Henry Cejudo.
Johnson’s latest display of dominance was at UFC 197, against a wrestler, Henry Cejudo. Cejudo’s game plan was of course, to take down and eventually control Johnson. However, as always, Johnson evolved from before and was able to hold back Cejudo’s takedown attempts despite being an experienced wrestler.
Early on in the first round, Johnson was already dominating. Then end for Cejudo was clear enough when he was caught with a solid knee to the jaw after a tie up. Johnson rushed the groggy Cejudo and was eventually able to ground and pound him into defeat.
11 Michael Johnson vs. Dustin Poirier - UFC Fight Night 94
Before coming at UFC Fight Night 94, Michael Johnson and Dustin Poierier were already at each other’s throats. It’s obvious that both fighters wanted to knock each other’s heads off at the event and Johnson almost did just that when he finished Poirier in the first round.
As with any other fights, Johnson and Poirier were only getting the range of each other in the first round. However, they’re already throwing with bad intentions when measuring up each other. Poirier got a little to close when bridging the gap and Johnson took advantage with a solid straight-hook combo that knocked out Poirier instantly.
10 Stipe Miocic VS. Alistair Overeem - UFC 203
Who doesn’t love a heavyweight bout? And if it’s a title fight, it’s even more exciting. There are a few heavyweight champs that managed to defend the belt after getting it and Stipe Miocic recently got into that elite list after a decisive victory over another dangerous striker, Alistair Overeem.
The two fought recently at UFC 203 and despite the fight ending in a knockout, fans expected more, particularly from Overeem. In the entire fight, it looked like Overeem’s game plan was to get as far away from the champ as possible. It’s a weird tactic considering how Overeem has an impressive K-1 record.
He did manage to drop Miocic once but aside from that, the champ went to dominate. After a few close calls, Overeem was eventually dropped by Miocic’s hands. The champ stayed calm and collected on top of Overeem until he was eventually able land a solid one right on the jaw of the challenger.
9 Mark Hunt vs. Frank Mir - UFC Fight Night 85
Mark Hunt is the undisputed king of walk-off KOs. He basically has bombs for hands so every heavyweight should avoid getting in range when going up against Hunt. But no matter how careful a fighter is, Hunt will always find a way to knock him unconscious. This includes MMA veteran and former heavyweight champ, Frank Mir.
Hunt faced off with Mir at UFC Fight Night 85 last March. Fans expected bombs to go off as Hunt was currently on a streak. Bombs did go off eventually and there was no other guy to catch Hunt’s hands except Mir.
One round was all Hunt needed to put Mir to sleep. But let’s be honest, Hunt can KO anyone at anytime if he wanted to. Hunt threw a powerful right hand that landed directly on the head of Mir, who was instantly put out of the competition. As always, Hunt walked the victory off like it was nothing.
8 Eddie Alvarez vs. Rafael dos Anjos - UFC Fight Night 90
The champion, Rafael dos Anjos, took the title from one of the most dominating lightweight figures, Anthony Pettis. He was then able to defend the belt against Donald Cerrone. The challenger was Eddie Alvarez. Another MMA veteran, it was only his fourth fight in the UFC. And at UFC Fight Night 90, the stage was set.
Both lightweights had bombs in their hands. After a few dominating performances, things weren’t looking good for Alvarez. Once the match began, Alvarez has the upper hand and it was a display of the challenger’s striking prowess from then on.
Alvarez immediately found his range against dos Anjos and the latter was in apparent trouble early on in the first round. After a solid right hand, Alvarez swarmed dos Anjos and the former champ couldn’t take the pressure. At the duration of the barrage, Alvarez landed a flying knee. A flurry of punches later, and dos Anjos was down.
7 Ryan Bader vs. Ilir Latifi - UFC Fight Night: Hamburg
Even light heavyweights have their fair share of devastating knockouts. One of which was recently delivered by Ultimate Fighter winner, Ryan Bader. The receiver of the knockout was up and coming light heavyweight, Ilir Latifi. Both guys have heavy hands to boot their sizes but the KO still shook the world.
The fight took place at UFC Fight Night: Hamburg. Being the wrestler, fans expected Bader to grind his way into victory but to everyone’s surprise, he took the fight to the territory of the heavy handed Ilir Latifi. Bader stood his ground very well and what bagged him the victory was his calm and collectiveness.
What started off the solid knee knockout was a jab-roundhouse set up. Latifi tried to defend but was obviously going for a shoot by grabbing Bader’s incoming leg. The kick quickly turned to a knee that dropped Latifi in an instant.
6 Diego Rivas vs. Noad Lahat - UFC Fight Night 82
This entry proved that even the up and coming guys at the UFC are worth watching. At the young age of 24, Diego “Pitbull” Rivas has already accumulated an impressive record. Currently undefeated with 7 wins; 3 by KO and 2 by submission, Rivas is one of the featherweights to watch out for.
Rivas may have put his name on the map after his stint at UFC Fight Night 82 last Feb. He went up against another up and coming featherweight, Noad Lahat. It was just the second month of the year then but Rivas already set up 2016 for the year with big knockouts in the UFC.
After a fairly even first round, Rivas decided to put an end to the match up very quickly in the second round. In less than 20 seconds, Rivas put Lahat to sleep via flying knee. It’s one of the cleanest flying knee knockouts to date and it made fans very excited for Rivas’ next stint inside the octagon.
5 Tyron Woodley vs. Robbie Lawler - UFC 201
Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley started a new point in his career at UFC 201 by getting the welterweight belt from “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. He did so in an amazing display of power and skill that many fans didn’t really expect from a well-decorated wrestler.
When the day of UFC 201 came, fans were very excited to see Lawler and Woodley duke it out in the main event. Both guys have notoriously heavy hands but Lawler, as his moniker suggests, is dangerous and durable on stand up. That’s why everyone’s jaw dropped when Woodley knocked him out clean. Fans expected the bout to last a grueling several rounds as such is the nature of Lawler’s championship fights. Woodley knocked out Lawler clean with a solid right that ended the fight. What’s even more surprising is that the match lasted only for one round.
4 Cody Garbrandt vs. Thomas Almeida - UFC Fight Night 88
There’s a good reason why Cody Garbrandt’s nickname is “No Love.” Time and time again, Garbrandt has proven that he’s a force to be reckoned with in the UFC’s bantamweight division. We’re even confident enough to say that he has the heaviest hands out of all the bantamweights.
From all of his KOs, his best could be the one he delivered to Thomas Almeida earlier this year at UFC Fight Night 88. Both guys were obviously talented when it comes to striking. However, Almeida was the fighter with lighter hands on this bout. It was apparent that Garbrandt was overwhelming Almeida and it didn’t take long before Garbrandt ended the fight.
3 Michael Bisping vs. Luke Rockhold - UFC 199
Michael “The Count” Bisping has had one hell of a career. Whenever he’s near the top, he somehow always manages to get pulled down to the bottom again. Former welterweight champ, Chris Weidman was scheduled for a rematch against current champ, Luke Rockhold. Due to an injury, Weidman had to pull out. Then in steps Bisping.
Rockhold dominated Weidman during their match and with Bisping stepping up on short notice; it was needless to say that Bisping was the underdog. But things were different for Bisping this time as he finally got his long time dream of becoming the champion.
The match didn’t even get to the second round. From the get-go, Rockhold was obviously dominating the match. The champ looked sloppy and it seems that his confidence got the best of him as Bisping showed off an unseen power in his hands before. He wobbled Rockhold twice in a row before finally putting him to sleep. His underdog story and his highlight reel knockout puts him on the list of any knockout list.
2 Stipe Miocic vs. Fabricio Werdum - UFC 198
Before clobbering Alistair Overeem to defend the heavyweight belt, Stipe Miocic had to first the belt from former champ, Fabricio Werdum. At UFC 198, Miocic set off to take the belt from Werdum. The latter took the belt from Cain Velasquez in a dominating fashion so fans didn’t expect the outcome of the bout.
Miocic; like many other heavyweights, is known to have tremendous power in his hands. Since Werdum is known as one of the best Jiu-Jitsu practitioners at the heavyweight division, many expected him to take the fight to the ground. During a flurry of hands from Werdum, Miocic landed a short hook while backpedalling. Werdum was instantly out and his belt was stripped away.
1 Dan Henderson vs. Hector Lombard - UFC 199
Time and time again, Dan “Hendo” Henderson has proven why he’s at the top-tier in MMA. Aside from his world class chin and durability, fans worldwide are always eager to see how Henderson will KO his next opponent. His most recent match; against a tough guy by the name of Hector Lombard, was like watching Henderson in his Pride days.
Back at UFC 199, Henderson went up against Lombard. Knowing Lombard, fans were a bit worried for Henderson. Although he’s known for his granite chin, there’s no denying that years of fighting has already taken its toll on the future legend.
The first round was near even as both fighters rocked each other. Both were almost able to finish the other. Things changed in the second round when Henderson dropped Lombard but not with an H-Bomb, but with a back elbow. Lombard caught Henderson’s kick. Instead of panicking, Henderson’s instinct kicked in and he threw a back elbow that hit Lombard directly on the temple.