If I asked you to name the best knockouts of 2016, you may list Conor McGregor’s masterclass against Eddie Alvarez; or Woodley’s annihalation of Robbie Lawler; maybe a Donald Cerrone head kick or Stephen Thompson.
The point is, there really is no top 5 best knockouts, but I’ve compiled some of my favourites anyway.
Diego Rivas def. Noad Lahat (UFC Fight Night 82, Feb.6)
We see many fighters attempt a flying knee late in the fight, trying to please the fans or get an exciting finish – but we rarely see anyone pull it off.
After being dominated on the ground in the first round, Rivas stopped Lahat’s grappling attempt by charging him with a flying knee in the second round – with expert timing, making it look effortless.
Yair Rodriguez def. Andre Fili (UFC 197, April 23)
Yair Rodriguez won the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America”, in his Featherweight division. He’s attracted a lot of attention, and faced off against another hot prospect, Alpha Male’s Andre Fili.
Rodriguez stole the show with a crazy, leaping kick to the head of Fili – rendering him unconscious.
The Featherweight is soon to face the former Welterweght and Lightweight champion, BJ Penn, in what will be the toughest test of his career. Could he do the same to ‘The Prodigy’ and cement himself as one of the top contenders?
Oluwale Bamgbose def. Daniel Sarafian (UFC Fight Night 83, Feb. 21)
We see a lot of fighters using tactics to distract an opponent – allowing them to find an opening – maybe dropping their hands; throwing a low-kick or something.
What Oluwale Bamgbose did to Daniel Sarafian was like some dort of wizardry. By throwing an ghost punch at Sarafian’s left toe, he cause Sarafian to drop his guard on the right of his head – so Bamgbose could land a magnificent high kick.
I could have picked any number of high kicks, but this one stands out to me!
Stipe Miocic def. Fabricio Werdum (UFC 198, May 14)
Stipe Miocic was one of the most successful fighters of 2016, winning 3/3 to take the belt and retain it in his hometown.
His right hand KO to take the title from Werdum was a great display boxing and movement – which was too much for a panicked Werdum.
After Stipe dominated the first few minutes, Werdum rushed in to try and close the distance. He recklessly chased Stipe around the cage for a few second before Stipe uncorked a courter-right while moving backwards, up against the cage.
It was truly shocking at the time, and will probably go down as the most important punch of Stipe’s career.
Lando Vannata def. John Makkdesi (UFC 206, Dec 10)
Lando Vannata kicked off a great night in Toronto with a spectacular head kick KO in the first round.
By throwing an effortless leg kick to divert Makkdesi’s attention, he was able to come over the top with a spinning wheel kick right to the chin.
After losing to Tony Ferguson in a crazy battle – in which Vannata had Tony is serious danger a number of times – this KO established Vannata as an exciting prospect in the Lightweght division.
What would you say were the best MMA knockouts of 2016? Leave a comment below.