In a six month stretch that produced more than its fair share of fantastic finishes, it was the UFC’s Brazilian contingent that once again showed the fight world that they bring more than world-class jiu-jitsu to the Octagon. They can bang with the best of them, as the following list of the top knockouts of 2013 thus far will prove.
5 - Anthony Pettis-Donald Cerrone - UFC on FOX 6 (watch event replay)
Body punches and kicks are a lost art across the board in combat sports, but leave it to one of the most dynamic and creative strikers in the game, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis to remind everyone just how devastating a well-placed shot to the body can be. And before Pettis took out equally dangerous striker Donald “Cowboy’ Cerrone with a kick to the midsection, he put on a striking clinic against one of the best lightweights in the world, making the finish even more impressive.
4 - Wanderlei Silva-Brian Stann - UFC on FUEL TV 8 (watch event replay)
It was only fitting that in Wanderlei Silva’s first bout in Japan since 2006 that he would once again show off the berserker style that earned him the nickname “The Axe Murderer” and made him the hero of PRIDE fans around the globe. And against Brian Stann in March, he wasn’t going to be in with someone looking to engage in a grappling match or point kickboxing affair. This was going to be a fight, and what a fight it turned out to be, with the 36-year-old Silva delivering a vintage knockout win at 4:08 of the second round.
3 - Antonio Silva-Alistair Overeem - UFC 156 (watch event replay)
If you were getting odds on who was going to score a knockout in the heavyweight clash between Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Alistair Overeem, “The Reem” would have been a clear, almost prohibitive, favorite. But when you put big heavyweights in the Octagon with four ounce gloves and something to prove, anything can happen, and after some heated verbal exchanges leading up to their UFC 156 bout, it was Silva who got the last word, stunning the fight world and Overeem with a third round knockout that put the Brazilian in a title fight rematch with Cain Velasquez.
2 - Vitor Belfort-Luke Rockhold - UFC on FX 8 (watch event replay)
For years, the mantra for anyone fighting Vitor Belfort was to watch out for his fast hands. Well, in 2013 opponents got a new problem to deal with: his feet. First, Belfort finished Michael Bisping in January with a flurry that began with a kick to the head. But then “The Phenom” upped the ante in May with a spinning heel kick that ruined the UFC debut of the last Strikeforce middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold. Now that’s what you call a fighting evolution.
1 – Junior dos Santos-Mark Hunt - UFC 160 (watch event replay)
Belfort’s spinning finish of Rockhold was undoubtedly impressive. But not to be undone, Belfort’s countryman Junior dos Santos delivered the same kick and the same finish a week later, taking out Mark Hunt in the third round. But what made this knockout the best of the year thus far wasn’t just that it was a heavyweight pulling off a move with a high degree of difficulty; it was that dos Santos could have taken his foot off the gas in the final round and coasted to a decision win, but instead he upped the ante against a dangerous foe and went for the knockout. That’s worth a number one slot for sure.
HONORABLE MENTION: Mark Hunt-Stefan Struve, Clint Hester-Bristol Marunde, Jake Ellenberger-Nate Marquardt, Tyron Woodley-Jay Hieron, Vitor Belfort-Michael Bisping, Roy Nelson-Cheick Kongo, TJ Grant-Gray Maynard, Josh Thomson-Nate Diaz, Yoel Romero-Clifford Starks, Conor McGregor-Marcus Brimage
Unofficial Half-Year Awards: The Knockouts of 2013
The Highly Unofficial Half-Year awards season continues with the best knockouts of 2013 thus far...