5 best UFC knockouts of August 2022
The UFC put on fight cards in Las Vegas, San Diego and Salt Lake City in August, with all three events culminating with spectacular finishes. We even witnessed possibly the greatest head-kick knockout in promotional history.
August was all about jaw-dropping head-kicks, with three of our five best knockouts of the month coming via a shin to the dome.
Here are the five best knockouts of August 2022.
#5. Geoff Neal def. Vicente Luque – UFC Vegas 59
Vicente Luque saw his four-fight win streak come to a screeching halt earlier this year when he suffered a narrow decision loss to Belal Muhammad. Looking to return to winning ways, 'The Silent Assassin' was matched up with the perpectually underappreciated Geoff Neal in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 59.
Vicente Luque was a sizeable betting favorite going into the bout, with many opining that he was the better striker. However, he found himself in a whole host of trouble in the very first round, with Neal having tremendous success in the stand-up.
Luque is regarded among the most durable welterweights around, but Neal was seemingly in the groove and took over the fight in the final frame. 'Handz of Steel' backed his Brazilian counterpart into the fence and unleashed a relentless series of uppercuts moments before the referee intervened.
#4. Mohammed Usman def. Zac Pauga – TUF 30 Finalé
Mohammed Usman, brother of former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, featured as a participant on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). The budding heavyweight prospect made it all the way to the finals, which were underway on the main card of UFC Vegas 59.
'The Motor' took on Zac Pauga in the TUF 30 finalé, with a UFC contract up for grabs.
Pauga was undefeated coming into the fight and was the favorite on the betting lines. During his stint at the TUF house, he stood as the most well-rounded heavyweight and delivered two dominant performances en route to the finals.
Meanwhile, Usman was largely counted out as a one-dimensional fighter with knockout power. The Nigerian-American was certainly feeling the pressure as he was looking to join his brother on the biggest stage in combat sports, the UFC.
After a turbulent first round, Usman won a UFC contract in astonishing fashion as he connected with a razor-sharp left hook seconds into the second frame, putting Pauga to sleep.
#3. Marlon Vera def. Dominick Cruz – UFC San Diego
In a classic prospect versus veteran matchup, surging 135-pounder Marlon Vera locked horns with Dominick Cruz, seen by many as the greatest bantamweight of all time, in the main event of UFC San Diego. With both fighters looking to edge closer to a title shot, this pairing was always going to produce fireworks.
Dominick Cruz, headlining in his native San Diego, looked incredible in the opening rounds and was posing issues for Marlon Vera with his lateral movement and forward blitzes. However, the former two-time champion struggled against the power of his younger counterpart and was dropped twice before the fourth round.
Vera then turned up the pace, and almost halfway through the penultimate round, forced Cruz onto a sublime head-kick. As the future Hall of Famer fell head-first into the canvas, 'Chito' pounced on him and landed some vicious ground-and-pound, prompting the referee stoppage.
#2. Bryan Battle def. Takashi Sato – UFC Vegas 59
Bryan Battle burst onto the scene with his scintillating run on last year's edition of TUF, which saw him rip through the other middleweights on the show to earn a UFC contract. At UFC Vegas 59, Battle dropped down to 170 pounds and made his welterweight debut against Takashi Sato.
The fight lasted just 44 seconds as Battle landed a thunderous head-kick on Sato, who turned stiff as a board upon impact and stayed uncouncious for a significant period of time.
Battle has emerged as an intriguing and entertaining contender in the welterweight division, wherein he should find himself in some fun matchups. The 27-year-old American has clear potential and it remains to be seen how far he can go. With such crisp and effective striking, coupled with his grappling prowess, the future is certainly bright for the former TUF champion.
#1. Leon Edwards def. Kamaru Usman – UFC 278
Leon Edwards picked up the lone loss of his UFC career way back in 2015, where he suffered a decision loss to Kamaru Usman. Both welterweights went on scorching runs after this bout, with Usman going on to win the title and defend it five times, while Edwards endured a horrendous run of bad luck.
Edwards compiled a 10-fight unbeaten streak after his defeat to Usman and arguably deserved a title shot back in 2020. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government-imposed lockdowns forced the Brit to remain on the sidelines while the reigning champion repeatedly defended his belt.
After his unanimous decision win over Nate Diaz last year, the UFC finally gave Edwards his shot. 'Rocky' finally got his crack at undisputed gold at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, where he ran it back with Usman, the consensus pound-for-pound king.
Leon Edwards looked sensational in the first round. He looked comfortable on the feet and even landed a takedown on the champion. However, as the fight went on, the Englishman started to fatigue.
Due to high altitude conditions in Salt Lake City, multiple fighters were seemingly struggling with their cardio on the night. Edwards was clearly feeling it as well, and by the end of the fourth round, he looked both exhausted and dejected.
Usman's superior wrestling shone through in the middle rounds and it felt as though Edwards was en route to another unanimous decision loss to 'The Nigerian Nightmare'. With just under a minute left in the fight, 'Rocky' stunned the crowd in attendance and the entire sporting world as he knocked Usman out cold with a devastating head-kick.
Leon Edwards' shocking KO sent shockwaves throughout the combat sports fanbase and will forever be regarded among the most significant knockouts in MMA history.
Considering his tumultuous background, the lack of respect from the fans, the hurdles he had to overcome, the caliber of fighter he beat and the manner in which he did it, 'Rocky's' championship-winning finish ranks among the greatest head-kicks, comebacks and knockouts ever.