2013 Year-in-Review: The Knockouts
Along with the all-time great fights that went down this year, 2013 provided a plethora of fighters going to sleep in epic fashion. From Vitor Belfort’s campaign of brutal head kick knockouts, to Junior dos Santos’ spinning hook kick over Mark Hunt at UFC 160, there was a lot to take in over the past year in the form of finishes by way of knockout. Let’s take a look at some of the most devastating finishes of 2013, and try to decide which one stood above the others as the year’s single best knockout in mixed martial arts.
Not every trip to the dream world can be ranked amongst the best of the year, but here are some of the year’s knockouts that though they didn’t make the top five, were still worthy of an honorable mention:
-Vitor Belfort’s first-round spinning heel kick of Luke Rockhold at UFC on FX 8,
-John Dodson’s first round knockout of Darrell Montague at UFC 166,
-Dong Hyun Kim’s one-punch knockout of Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 29,
-Renan Barao’s second-round spinning back kick TKO of Eddie Wineland at UFC 165,
-Vitor Belfort’s second-round head kick TKO of Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7,
-Junior dos Santos’ third-round spinning hook kick KO of Mark Hunt at UFC 160,
-Carlos Condit’s fourth-round TKO of Martin Kampmann at UFC Fight Night 27.
And now onto the Top 5:
5.) Travis Browne’s first-round knockout of Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night 26.
When Alistair Overeem finally came over to the UFC, many thought that it wouldn’t be long before he was fighting for the title, and some thought it wouldn’t be long before we was holding it. After a major setback against ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, Overeem was looking to make a statement as he entered the Octagon in Boston this past August. He started off strong and unleashed some vicious knees to the body of Travis Browne within the first 30 seconds, and nearly finished Browne with some more shots to the body that turtled him up and allowed Overeem to swarm in with some ground and pound. More brutal knees followed but somehow Browne was able to weather the storm as Overeem tired out and they returned to the center of the cage. With less than a minute left in the first round, Browne landed a front kick to the face that sent Overeem to the canvas and Browne followed up with a few hammerfists as Mario Yamasaki waived it off.
This one makes the list because Overeem has some of the most brutal knees in mixed martial arts, and Browne a lot of punishment and still came back and finished ‘The Reem’ within the same round.
4.) Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva’s third-round TKO of Alistair Overeem at UFC 156.
It was a rough year for ‘The Demolitian Man’, as he makes the knockout of the year list twice for being on the receiving end of two of the year’s best finishes. By most accounts Overeem was ahead on the scorecards as his fight with Antonio Silva headed into the third round at UFC 156 back in February. With men as big as Alistair and Bigfoot, a trip to the third round usually means the man with more gas left in the tank has the best chance at a finish.
Bigfoot came out for the final frame swinging. Within the first 15 seconds he had Overeem rocked and pressed up against the fence. From there he unloaded some of the hardest punches ever dished out in the UFC, shots that even made seasoned referee Herb Dean cover up for safety. Eventually Dean found the courage to run in and stop the contest, but the biggest man to ever fight in the UFC wasn’t finished, and he even lunged at Overeem after the fight ended. This one was undeniably one of the most devastating knockouts in UFC history, and certainly was one of the best of 2013.
3.) Josh Thomson’s second-round TKO of Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 7.
Thomson returned to the UFC this past April, after going 2-1 in a three-fight stretch back in 2003-04. The 34-year-old was looking to get in the title picture quickly, and did just that when he took out top 10 lightweight Nate Diaz. In round two Thomson rattled Diaz with a vicious head kick and followed up with some punches that sent Diaz to the mat. Diaz never recovered and Thomson unleashed some more punches and hammerfists on the ground that caused referee Mike Beltan to jump in between the two and waive it off in favor of a TKO win for Josh Thomson. Diaz hadn’t been stopped in any of his 17 prior UFC fights, and had been finished only once in his career, which was a submission loss to Hermes Franca back in 2006 in the WEC. Thomson sent a message to the rest of the lightweight division that yet another shark had entered the tank, and the win moved into main event status, as he was briefly penciled in for a title fight against Anthony Pettis at UFC on Fox 9, but now will take on former champion Benson Henderson in the main event of UFC on Fox 10 in January.
2.) Vitor Belfort’s first-round head kick knockout of Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32.
It didn’t take Vitor Belfort long to become the first man to knock out Dan Henderson. Belfort closed out his 2013 campaign with a thunderous head kick that floored Hendo and prompted Dan Miragliotta to jump in and call a stop to the action. Though the fight took place at 205 pounds, the win clinched the number-one contender spot for Belfort at 185 pounds. In my opinion this was one of the most powerful knockouts ever uncorked in the UFC. Between the accuracy and power of the shots thrown by Belfort, combined with the fact that Henderson had never been finished by KO or TKO in his 16 years fighting, the only thing that could top this finish would be something like the greatest fighter of all time getting knocked unconscious…
1.) Chris Weidman’s second-round knockout of Anderson Silva at UFC 168.
Had the former champions’ antics in the cage led to a knockout of Chris Weidman, we would all be extolling the virtues of his ingenious fighting style. At UFC 162, Anderson Silva clowned around just a bit too much, and allowed his opponent Chris Weidman to deliver the knockout heard round the mixed martial arts world. As the second round started, Silva danced around the cage and goaded Weidman to come forward. Weidman obliged, and dropped arguably the greatest fighter of all time with a well-placed left hook that left Silva looking up at the lights.
A lot of people thought that Weidman would be the man to finally defeat Anderson Silva, but nobody expected the win to come about the way it did. The win for Weidman set up the most anticipated rematch in UFC history, at UFC 168, but regardless of the outcome in that fight, Weidman’s win over Silva in their first encounter stands as the best knockout of 2013.