Oh what a year 2013 was for the knockout in the UFC.
Spinning kicks, punching combinations, knees, it didn’t matter. It seemed that most cards featured several devastating KO’s regardless of whether it was a high profile bout or buried on the prelims.
It wasn’t a good year for Alistair Overeem or Gray Maynard when it came to knockouts, but Vitor Belfort, Travis Browne and others thrived.
With that, here are sportsnet.ca’s top 13 knockouts of 2013:
1. Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva
A lot of people, including many pros, were picking Weidman to become the new middleweight champ at UFC 162, but not many expected it to end the way it did. We all know the story: Silva was showboating, Weidman maintained his composure and landed a left hook that dropped the MMA legend.
2. Antonio Silva vs. Alistair Overeem
This was one of the most violent combinations we’ve ever seen in the UFC. After losing the first two rounds to Overeem at UFC 156, Silva was on a mission in the final frame. He stunned the K-1 kickboxing champ with ahead kick before finishing him off with a stunning 14-punch combo.
3. Vitor Belfort vs. Bisping/Rockhold/Henderson
It’s hard to say anyone in the UFC was more impressive than Belfort in 2013. He had three spectacular knockouts over top competition, all by head kick. In January, he dropped Michael Bisping, in May he used a spinning heel kick to finish outgoing Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold, and in November he became the first person to knock out Dan Henderson.
4. Travis Browne vs. Gonzaga/Barnett/Overeem
Browne had three Knockout of the Night wins in 2013, so take your pick as to which one was the best. He stopped Gabriel Gonzaga and Josh Barnett with elbows to the side of the head while defending takedown attempts along the cage, and used a combo of front kicks and hammerfists to put Alistair Overeem away. What a year for the Hawaiian.
5. Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez
Anyone that said Johnson lacked one-shot knockout power was proven very wrong much to the dismay of Benavidez. The 125-pound champ landed a blistering right hand that dropped Benavidez in the first round of their flyweight championship rematch.
6. Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland
The timing that Barao displayed when executing this kick was the most impressive aspect. To stun a fighter like Wineland, who had never been knocked out like that before, showed what a vast arsenal Barao possesses.
7. Dong Hyun Kim vs. Erick Silva
Kim is known for his grappling, not his striking, but against Silva he showed what he’s capable of on the feet. Silva left himself too wide open when winding up for a punch of his own and Kim came down the middle with a strong left hand.
8. Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve
Hunt has perhaps the most dangerous leaping left hook in all of combat sports and Struve, who’s a full foot taller than Hunt, found that out the hard way. The punch broke Struve’s jaw.
9. Yoel Romero vs. Clifford Starks
Who doesn’t love a flying knee? In his middleweight debut, Romero showcased his power and athleticism.
10. TJ Grant/Nate Diaz vs. Gray Maynard
Poor Gray Maynard. The former No. 1 lightweight contender was the victim of two of the worst beatings of the year. First, at UFC 160, he was put away by Canadian TJ Grant with a combination of punches and knees.
At the TUF 18 Finale, Diaz did his best to one-up Grant as he finished Maynard in a similar fashion. The Stockton, Calif., native used a flurry of precision punches that had Maynard out on his feet; the cage was the only thing holding him up.
11. Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Pascal Krauss/Marcelo Guimaraes
The South Korean welterweight certainly knows how to use his knees to great effect. In his first two UFC bouts, Lim displayed patience and finishing instinct when he landed big knees on both Guimaraes and Krauss; the latter of which helped win him a Fight of the Night award.
12. Conor McGregor vs. Marcus Brimage
There was a lot of hype surrounding McGregor’s UFC’s debut and the Irishman delivered. It took him just 67 seconds to dispose of Brimage, as he used a series of smooth uppercuts to rock his opponent.
13. Jeremy Stephens vs. Rony Jason
Perfectly timed kick from Stephens. Ouch. It was his 15th career knockout win and his first via any form of kick.
BONUS: Uriah Hall vs. Adam Cella
It didn’t happen at an official UFC event but Hall’s spinning heel kick KO of Cella is one of the best in UFC history.
Honourable mentions: Tyron Woodley vs. Jay Hieron/Josh Koscheck, Ronaldo Souza vs. Yushin Okami, Glover Teixeira def. Ryan Bader, Steven Siler vs. Mike Brown, Anthony Perosh vs. Vinny Magalhaes, Josh Thomson vs. Nate Diaz, Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt, Alex Garcia def. Ben Wall, Mauricio Rua vs. James Te Huna, Robbie Lawler vs. Bobby Voelker, Clint Hester vs. Bristol Marunde, Myles Jury vs. Ramsey Nijem