Create
Notifications

Top 5 flying knee knockouts in UFC history

Jorge Masvidal's flying knee KO of Ben Askren made him a star
Jorge Masvidal's flying knee KO of Ben Askren made him a star
Scott Newman
visit

Any time one of the UFC's fighters uncorks a brutal knockout, it is entertaining, but some knockouts are just more aesthetically pleasing than others. Sure, a heavy right hand is great to see, but it doesn’t compare to the sheer thrill of watching a knockout via a more low-percentage strike – like the flying knee.

The flying knee is one of those moves that takes expert timing to land perfectly and a little bit of luck too in order to get a knockout from it. Over the years we’ve seen some spectacular flying knees in the UFC, but some stand out a little more than others.

Here are the top 5 flying knee knockouts in UFC history.

#5 Spencer Fisher vs. Matt Wiman, UFC 60

Spencer Fisher's flying knee KO of Matt Wiman marked him out as one of the most exciting Lightweights of the 2000's
Spencer Fisher's flying knee KO of Matt Wiman marked him out as one of the most exciting Lightweights of the 2000's

Spencer ‘The King’ Fisher was one of the most exciting lightweights signed to the UFC at the time of the division’s resurrection in 2005, and the Miletich Fighting Systems product was involved in some spectacular fights during his career with the promotion. His most jaw-dropping moment though certainly came against newcomer Matt Wiman at UFC 60.

Wiman – largely unknown prior to the fight – came at Fisher hard in the first round, taking him down and gaining back control, where he hunted for a rear naked choke. Fisher defended well though and by the end of the round, he’d turned the tide by opening up a cut on Wiman’s forehead with a vicious elbow.

The newcomer looked sluggish coming into the second round, clearly tired from his earlier exertion, and a brawl ensued with Fisher getting the better of it. A right hand stunned ‘Handsome Matt’, and attempting to show he was okay, the newcomer waved a wagging finger at Fisher – who responded by leaping at him with a flying knee, knocking him senseless.

Wiman crashed to the ground and ‘The King’ – safe in the knowledge that his opponent was done – simply walked away, allowing referee John McCarthy to call off the fight moments later. It was one of the best knockouts of 2006, turned Fisher into a man to watch at 155lbs, and stands as one of the UFC’s best flying knee KO’s over a decade later.

#4 Thiago Alves vs. Matt Hughes, UFC 85

Thiago Alves took out Matt Hughes with a brutal flying knee in 2008
Thiago Alves took out Matt Hughes with a brutal flying knee in 2008

UFC 85’s main event of Thiago Alves vs. Matt Hughes was put together on late notice after injuries wrecked the UFC’s original plan of Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans, but the Welterweight clash still produced one of the best knockouts of 2008. Alves had been on a hot run coming into the fight – winning 5 in a row – but nobody really saw this incredible performance coming.

‘The Pitbull’ missed weight prior to the fight – coming in at 174lbs rather than 170lbs – and it showed, as he dwarfed Hughes in the Octagon despite the legendary former champion being a big Welterweight in his own right. And that extra strength and size showed in the first round, as the Brazilian bullied Hughes and took the round comfortably.

The second round saw Alves again hurt Hughes, this time opening up a cut on his face, before allowing him to stand back up. With the former champ wobbly, ‘The Pitbull’ then launched himself through the air, landing a clean switch knee to the jaw of Hughes, causing him to fold, his right leg contorting under his body.

It was the only the third time Hughes had been stopped with strikes in his 49 fight career, and it marked out Alves – despite the weight botch – as the top contender in the world at 170lbs, although he’d have to fight one more time before a title shot. And naturally, it was also one of the best flying knee KO’s in promotional history – like something straight out of a Jean-Claude Van Damme flick.

#3 Pablo Garza vs. Fredson Paixao, Ultimate Fighter XII Finale

Fredson Paixao was carried out of the Octagon after his knockout at the hands of Pablo Garza
Fredson Paixao was carried out of the Octagon after his knockout at the hands of Pablo Garza

Taking place less than a month before the WEC’s roster was folded into the UFC, the finale of the 12th season of The Ultimate Fighter was the first show to feature fighters in the Featherweight and Bantamweight divisions. And UFC fans were immediately treated to the delights of the smaller fighters, as Pablo ‘The Scarecrow’ Garza unleashed one of the best flying knee knockouts in MMA history.

Faced with grappling specialist Fredson Paixao, the lanky ‘Scarecrow’ clearly knew that he had to keep the fight on the feet to win. And so in the opening moments, before his Brazilian foe had a chance to really get things going, Garza caught him leaning slightly for a potential takedown.

He responded with a picture-perfect flying left knee that landed directly to the jaw, and despite Paixao being stiffened up in an instant, ‘The Scarecrow’ still had time to add an extra hammer fist before referee Steve Mazzagatti flew in to stop proceedings.

The knockout was so violent that Paixao took an age to regain consciousness and had to be carried out of the cage, although he would recover fully later on. Garza meanwhile pulled off one more classic UFC finish – a flying triangle – before fading into obscurity, but should always be remembered for this amazing KO.

#2 James Irvin vs. Terry Martin, UFC 54

James Irvin put Terry Martin to sleep with this flying knee at UFC 54
James Irvin put Terry Martin to sleep with this flying knee at UFC 54

James ‘The Sandman’ Irvin came into the UFC in early 2005 with a lot of hype behind him, but a knockout at the hands of Mike Kyle quickly brought that train to a standstill. For his second fight, he dropped to a more natural 205lbs – but early in his clash with Terry Martin at UFC 54, it didn’t seem to have done him much good.

The stockier Martin wrestled him to the ground in the opening seconds, and proceeded to beat him up with punches and elbows for the entirety of the first round. When the buzzer sounded, it was clear that Irvin needed to change his gameplan up, quickly – otherwise his UFC career would be on the rocks.

To say he changed things up would be an understatement. The fighters came out of their corners for the second round and as Martin ducked his head for a potential takedown, Irvin leapt at him with a ridiculous flying left knee that connected directly to the temple. Martin dropped to his back like a corpse, and Irvin simply walked away with his hands raised.

It was a jaw-dropping knockout – one of the very best in UFC history – and while Irvin never quite lived up to his athletic potential, he did manage to pull off a handful of other memorable knockouts – earning himself a reputation for a while as one of the promotion’s most exciting fighters.

#1 Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren, UFC 239

Jorge Masvidal's knockout of Ben Askren is the best flying knee KO in UFC history
Jorge Masvidal's knockout of Ben Askren is the best flying knee KO in UFC history

What else could belong at the top of this list other than this unbelievable knockout from 2019? Not only did Jorge Masvidal uncork the greatest flying knee KO in UFC – if not MMA – history, but he also shattered the record for the promotion’s fastest ever knockout, needing just 5 seconds to take out former Olympic wrestler Ben Askren, handing him his first loss in the process.

The fight had promised to be an exciting grudge match from the moment it was signed, as both men had been sniping at one another verbally for some time. It was clear to most observers that Askren would need to get the fight on the ground to win, while Masvidal would need to keep it standing. But nobody really expected what actually happened.

‘Gamebred’ came sprinting out of his corner, and as Askren dropped for a takedown attempt, the Cuban-American flew through the air and caught him perfectly with a flying knee. Askren was knocked out immediately – and took two needless punches before the referee stepped in, meaning he’d actually had his lights switched off in around three seconds.

The victory launched Masvidal into the stratosphere as a true UFC superstar – and turned poor Askren into a punchline in the process. This was an earth-shattering knockout, and it stands as the greatest flying knee KO in UFC history by a mile.


Edited by Anurag Mitra
Article image

Go to article

Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...
App download animated image Get the free App now