Ah, knockouts! You can show your non-fan friends submissions and be greeted with total confusion, but everyone understands the time-honored interaction of hard object and face. In a year absolutely filled to bursting with quality candidates, we’ve done our best to whittle it down to five. Let’s have a look at 2019’s “Knockouts of the Year.”
5. The Johnny Walker Double Special (UFC on ESPN+ 2, UFC 235)
I’ll admit to being a little torn on this final spot because Steven Peterson’s contra-rotating spinning back fist knockout of Martin Bravo was a strong contender, but I feel like kill-or-be-killed bruiser extraordinaire Johnny Walker deserves special mention. The guy took out two solid Light Heavyweights in 51 seconds combined, both via truly wild techniques.
He started his 2019 campaign in February against Justin Ledet, a former professional boxer who looked to have the technique to at least trouble the free-swinging Brazilian. Instead, Walker followed up a side kick with a hook kick, then followed that up with a spinning back fist that caught Ledet clean. One thankfully whiffed soccer kick and some standing-to-ground punches later ... over in 15 seconds (watch it).
One month later came Misha Cirkunov, a dangerous grappler. To deal with said grappling, Walker employed lateral thinking and simply crushed him with a flying knee before it could matter. Then he hurt himself doing the worm. Godspeed, you magnificent bastard.
4. Kevin Lee rejects “The Gift” (UFC 244)
If 2018 was the “Year of the Knee,” then 2019 was the “Year of the Head Kick.” There were tons of deserving contenders for this spot, including a pair of impressive title defenses from Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes, but this one was my favorite.
Gregor Gillespie looked for all the world like the next big thing at Lightweight, boasting one of UFC’s most impressive wrestling pedigrees and making mincemeat of all comers in the Octagon. Kevin Lee, meanwhile, was reeling from losses in three of his previous four fights.
Despite their radically different trajectories, Lee emerged victorious with the first clean knockout of his career, following up a right cross with a left high kick that landed perfectly. Gillespie was out before he hit the ground and Lee had new life as a contender.
3. Douglas Lima drops the hammer (Bellator 221)
There wasn’t any sort of technical wizardry or uncommon techniques at play, but it’s hard to knock someone out harder than Lima knocked out Page.
“The Phenom” has always been one of the scariest Welterweights on the planet, and his finish of undefeated Michael “Venom” Page is a worthy addition to his horrifying highlight reel. After knocking Page sideways with one of his signature leg kicks, Lima took advantage of Page’s unprotected face to blast him with a full-tilt right hook directly to the point of the chin. You could almost hear the cartoon dink sound effect as the various bits of Page’s body tried to decide which direction to collapse in.
I’ve given up hope on it ever happening, but man would it be great to see Lima in the Octagon. Maybe someday.
2. Jessica Andrade smash (UFC 237)
For about 7:50, Rose Namajunas fought Jessica Andrade to perfection. Despite most of her fellow Strawweights struggling with “Bate Estaca’s” relentless pressure, Namajunas danced around her without issue, plugging away with sharp counters and never letting her back hit the fence.
Then Andrade undid all that by slamming the champ on her damn head (highlights).
It was the first time in nearly two decades that a UFC title had changed hands via slam, and even without the hardware involved, the shocking level of sudden violence made this an immediate top contender for “Knockout of the Year” honors. That is, until...
1. Jorge Masvidal makes history (UFC 239)
Come on, did you seriously expect anything else in the top spot? It’s a five-second upset knockout via flying knee, delivered in an on-paper competitive match up between elite fighters. It ticks practically every box there is when ranking these things.
Between the hype, the brutality, and the shock, no other knockout even came close. Your BMF champ is the proud owner of 2019’s “Knockout of the Year” after his destruction of Ben Askren.
He called his shot, too. C’mon ...
Honorable Mentions: Steven Peterson (spinning back fist) Martin Bravo, Amanda Nunes (head kick) Holly Holm, Anthony Pettis (Superman punch) Stephen Thompson, Jorge Masvidal (Superman punch) Darren Till, Valentina Shevchenko (head kick) Jessica Eye, Dwight Grant (punch) Carlo Pedersoli Jr.
What Was The Best UFC/MMA Knockout Of 2019?
This poll is closed
Jorge Masvidal’s Flying Knee Face
Jessica Andrade’s Hulk Smash
Douglas Lima’s Hook From Hades
Kevin Lee’s Soul Snatcher
Johnny Walker’s Double Special
Other (Explain in comments section)