Is anything in sport as electrifying as a UFC knockout? Over the years, the biggest MMA promotion in the world has produced jaw-dropping moments of violence and entertainment in its famous octagon.
Fighters like Cory Sandhagen, Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas, Edson Barboza, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Li Jingliang and Sean O'Malley have already delivered highlight-reel knockouts in the first half of 2021. The rest of the calendar year promises much more of the same, especially in the higher weight classes.
Here are the five best knockout artists in the UFC right now.
Honorable Mentions: Kamaru Usman, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Jan Blachowicz, Justin Gaethje
#5 UFC heavyweight Derrick Lewis
Derrick Lewis turned in arguably the worst performance of his UFC career last weekend as he was thoroughly outclassed by a technically superior, quicker, younger fighter in Ciryl Gane. Despite that, and the fact that he probably lost his last chance to claim UFC gold, 'The Black Beast' is as scary as they come in MMA.
The all-time leader in UFC heavyweight knockouts with 12, Lewis has put together a stellar career in the promotion thanks to his devastating power. Turning the lights off of accomplished fighters like Curtis Blaydes, Alexander Volkov, Marcin Tybura and Alexei Oleinik, the 36-year-old has developed a fearsome reputation as someone to whom the usual laws of MMA just don't seem to apply.
Lewis isn't and has never been a complete fighter. But he's still one of the best knockout artists in the UFC right now and could still notch up a few wins in the heavyweight division despite his obvious limitations and advanced age.
#4 UFC women's bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes
A list of the best UFC knockout artists would be incomplete without the presence of women's bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes. Winning and defending both titles with incredible ease, 'The Lioness' is undoubtedly one of the best UFC fighters of all time.
Nunes has six knockout wins at bantamweight, the most in the history of the division. Apart from a host of other records, she is on a massive 12-fight win streak at the moment, with knockout victories over Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Raquel Pennington, Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler.
One of the most fearsome punchers and well-rounded fighters women's MMA has ever seen, Nunes seems set to rule over both her divisions for at least a few more years.
#3 UFC light heavyweight Jiri Prochazka
While Amanda Nunes has been in the UFC since 2013, light heavyweight Jiri Prochazka is only two fights old in the promotion. But 'Denisa' has already developed a reputation for being devastatingly powerful, accurate and unconventional.
Prochazka's MMA record speaks for itself. Only two of his 32 professional MMA fights have gone to the judges, with an astonishing 25 knockout wins and a finishing rate in the high nineties. He has knocked out each of his last 10 opponents, with Dominick Reyes and Volkan Oezdemir finding themselves on the receiving end of his power in the UFC.
Prochazka is only 28 years old and has a lot of room to improve as a fighter. He is already one of the best knockout artists in the UFC today, though.
#2 UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya
You'd have to be truly great to beat Jiri Prochazka in a ranking of the best knockout artists in the UFC right now. And Israel Adesanya is just that. He may not be as powerful or have as many knockout finishes, but 'The Last Stylebender' is one of the most talented strikers MMA has ever seen.
Adesanya is dangerous at any stage of the fight and from any position. Using cleverly disguised assortments of kicks and combinations, he has firmly established himself as one of the most formidable champions in UFC history.
Interestingly, Adesanya has only four knockout wins in the UFC. But he is still worthy of the #2 spot on this list because of the quality of competition he has faced, dropped multiple times and beaten - Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa and Kelvin Gastelum, to name a few.
Also, Adesanya is so good that opponents are rarely drawn into out-and-out kickboxing matches against him. If they did, his finishing record would be much more impressive.
#1 UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou
Was there any doubt as to who'd top this list? UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is one of the scariest men MMA has ever seen.
Ngannou has a who's who of the UFC heavyweight division on his glowing resume. Andrei Arlovski, Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Stipe Miocic have all been violently knocked out by 'The Predator'. Even the next generation of fighters like Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik haven't escaped Ngannou's touch of death.
12 of Ngannou's 16 professional MMA wins have come by knockout, as well as each of his last seven. The 34-year-old will face one of his biggest tests later this year when he takes on interim UFC heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane.