The sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is one which has time and again provided the combat sports community several memorable knockouts--KOs that result from a vast array of strikes, be it punches, kicks, elbows, knees or even slams! Now, while certain KOs could most definitely qualify as exhilarating, there are a few select knockouts which stand head and shoulders above the rest.
The UFC--being the world's premier MMA organization--houses several elite martial arts practitioners who possess the ability to execute some of the very best KO sequences known to the combat sports world. In fact, certain stoppages have known to transpire at the most unexpected moments, during relatively sloppy exchanges in the bout.
Regardless, the stagnation of a slow-paced fight seems to be erased, should said fight end by way of a vicious KO. On the flip side, certain fights deliver edge-of-the-seat entertainment right from the start to the finish--ending in a brutal KO stoppage.
Today, we take a look at a few such KO stoppages and the stars who partook in the fights. Here, we have ranked the best UFC Knockouts--
#10 Rashad Evans vs. Sean Salmon
It was back in 2007 that Rashad Evans took on Sean Salmon--in a matchup that would produce a highlight reel KO which would be one for the ages.
Evans appeared to be the more aggressive, better-conditioned fighter right from the word go. He probed the distance with his jab--snappy and technical, unlike Salmon's plodding style of combat.
Additionally, it was in the second round of the fight that a visibly gassed out Salmon started back-pedaling out of most exchanges. Evans smelled blood, and pounced to finish his exhausted foe.
"Suga" Rashad trapped Salmon against the fence, and proceeded to unleash one of the most vicious head-kicks in MMA history. Salmon was out before his body hit the mat, and Evans announced his arrival as the next big thing, at the time, in the UFC.
What makes this finish so very intriguing, is the fact that despite not landing any huge power strikes on Salmon, Evans still managed to make the latter gas out. In fact, it was Evans' stifling movement that caused his foe to panic, which in turn set the stage for the emphatic head-kick KO win.
#9 Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva
Having lost not once but twice to Wanderlei Silva during their time in PRIDE FC, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson looked to avenge his losses against The Axe Murderer when the duo faced off in the trilogy fight.
The third bout between these two legends transpired within the confines of the UFC's famed Octagon, where Jackson finally got his revenge. Rampage obliterated Silva with a huge left hook--following which, the former dinged Silva with a few punches on the ground despite the fact that Silva was already out cold.
The matchup was highly intriguing, so to speak, and although the stoppage came in the very first round; Jackson's boxing skills shined like a diamond. He utilized excellent head movement all through the fight and masterfully evaded Silva's looping strikes.
Rampage's KO of Silva is widely regarded as one of the most iconic stoppages in UFC history.
#8 Travis Browne vs. Alistair Overeem
This one is perhaps one of the most brutal KOs you'd ever come across, not only in the sport of MMA, but in all of the combat sports world.
A rather surprising fact that most people seem to forget about Travis "Hapa" Browne's 1-round fight against Alistair Overeem, is that The Reem had Hapa badly hurt. In fact, Overeem almost finished Browne--with a barrage of punches, elbows, kicks and knees early on.
Nevertheless, Overeem appeared to have emptied his gas tank trying to finish the resilient Browne. Hapa then miraculously found a second wind, tagging The Reem with a couple of front kicks to the body and head.
While the aforementioned kicks didn't really find their mark, they did help Browne gauge the distance. He then proceeded to throw a front kick to Overeem's chin--straight down the pipe.
The strike connected flush on Overeem's jaw, and the hulking Dutchman went down--following which, Browne landed a few nasty ground-and-pound strikes on The Reem before the match was called off.
#7 Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim
Back in 2012, Lightweight Muay Thai specialist Edson Barboza pulled off one of the most improbable KO strikes in combat sports history.
Barboza faced Terry Etim in a fight which saw the former exhibit excellent distance management and footwork. It was in the third round of this showdown that Barboza managed to catch his foe with a beautiful wheel kick that knocked Etim out on his feet.
The strike was so very precise and powerful that Etim was out before he hit the ground. The fight was called off, and Barboza proceeded to engage in a rather humble celebration--crediting God for helping him deliver the masterful KO.
Barboza's impeccable timing and lack of telegraph is what resulted in him being able to connect with the otherwise tough-to-pull-off wheel kick KO.
#6 Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture
Lyoto Machida faced MMA legend Randy Couture in a highly-anticipated fight back in 2011--one which had experts note that Couture's wrestling credentials could perhaps cause The Dragon a few issues.
Regardless, come fight night, Machida put in an excellent performance--staying either at long range or out of range, thereby disallowing Couture from shooting in without the fear of a counter knee or uppercut. Machida then began feinting with his feet--faking with both his lead and back foot.
Machida ended this fight by way of a jumping front kick aka crane kick to Couture's head. What's so very memorable about this KO is that while The Dragon faked a front kick with his back leg i.e. the power leg, the KO strike was delivered with the front leg.
For those unaware of kicking mechanics, traditionally, kicks delivered with one's front leg are known to have less power than ones delivered with the back leg aka the power leg. Machida's KO once again proved that The Dragon is one who doesn't necessarily adhere to the restrictions placed upon one's combat style by an orthodox approach towards fighting.
#5 Gary Goodridge vs. Paul Herrera
Well, no surprises here! The MMA history books proudly present this iconic KO to us, and no matter how barbaric it may seem at first glance, the technique behind the knockout is indeed praiseworthy.
Gary Goodridge and his team were well aware of Herrera religiously drilling the fireman's carry takedown technique prior to their fight at UFC 8. Now, while Goodridge's strategy involved a counter to the takedown and an ensuing submission (the wrist lock), plans changed in the heat of the moment.
As expected, Herrera attempted a fireman's carry, and Goodridge countered--with the latter eventually acquiring the crucifix position. Goodridge had his foe trapped in the crucifix, and began raining down elbows with malicious intent.
The first couple of elbows to Herrera's dome had him out cold, however, Goodridge continued delivering additional elbow strikes in quick succession, before the referee mercifully rescued Herrera.
#4 Stipe Miocic vs. Fabricio Werdum
Stipe Miocic traveled to then-UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum's native Brazil, so as to face the latter for the title of the baddest man on the planet.
The Croatian-American firefighter Miocic shocked the world by pulling off what's regarded by many as one of the most shocking KO wins of all time. Miocic caught Werdum with a beautiful counter right hand, while moving backwards!
Delivering power in one's punch while back-pedaling is considered to be a tough task to execute in the boxing realm, however, in his fight against Werdum, Miocic did so with relative ease.
The fight saw Miocic keep Werdum at boxing range, and either circle away or close the distance when the latter threatened with kicks. Eventually, his boxing-heavy approach appeared to have flustered Werdum who rushed into range in a straight line.
Both fighters fighting out of the orthodox stance, Miocic circled to the right--away from Werdum's power hand--side-stepping and timing Werdum with a picture-perfect right hand. The Brazilian legend was out cold, and a few rather unnecessary follow-up shots later Miocic was the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.
#3 Rich Franklin vs. Nate Quarry
Rich Franklin defended his UFC Middleweight Championship against Nate Quarry in style back in 2005--dispatching his foe with relative ease.
Franklin--hailed by many as one of the classiest people to have ever competed in the sport of MMA--was known for his poise and smooth technique inside the cage. "Ace" utilized crisp boxing combinations to keep Quarry at bay over the course of the fight.
Franklin kept tagging his foe with straight punches down the pipe--what with him fighting southpaw and Quarry orthodox. The end came when Franklin landed a beautiful straight left hand on his opponent--a one-hitter quitter which left Quarry staring at the lights.
#2 Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton
Perhaps one of the wildest stoppages in UFC history, Matt Hughes' slam KO of Carlos Newton is one that will likely remain entrenched in the memories of combat sports fans forever.
Newton possessed deadly submission skills and is arguably one of the more underrated talents to have graced the MMA cage. In fact, he was so very slick that he almost had Hughes out with a triangle choke.
Hughes lifted Newton up in the air, in a sight which reminded many of the "powerbomb" move that is very often utilized in professional wrestling. He then proceeded to walk towards the fence, following which Hughes chose to slam Newton with all his might.
The result? Newton was out cold, and Hughes was the new UFC Welterweight Champion of the world.
An iconic KO by an MMA legend.
#1 Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping
Dan Henderson's KO of Michael Bisping at UFC 100 is beyond the shadow of a doubt one of the most terrifying in MMA history.
Having served as coaches on the TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) reality show, "Hendo" and "The Count" undoubtedly had bad blood--to say the least--with one another. Henderson moved well in this fight, and worked behind his jab and leg kicks.
Furthermore, Henderson's favorite combination--the leg kick delivered with the front leg, followed by an overhand right--came into effect in the second round. Hendo read Bisping's tendency of circling towards the left without making much effort to change his patterns.
He then proceeded to time Bisping with an inside leg kick which was followed by his legendary overhand right. The H-Bomb knocked Bisping out cold, and Hendo then chose to deliver what appeared to be a flying forearm to his unconscious opponent.