The best knockout category is always the most hotly debated, simply because the number of impressive knockouts that take place in the Octagon consistently supersedes the amount of slots on lists like this. But we must carry on, and while there may not be full agreement with the top 10 knockouts of 2015, you can’t deny that these were pretty damn good.
10 – Matt Dwyer-William Macario
Fights have ended in the UFC by Superman Punch before, but I never understood why. It always seemed to be a maneuver that an opponent could see coming, and even if they got hit with it, everything looked to be against it being a fight-ending technique. William Macario will say otherwise after getting finished by Matt Dwyer’s Superman Punch in February, and when you consider that Dwyer has ended all his wins by knockout, it’s not that surprising anymore. And if the win wasn’t enough, kudos to Dwyer for bouncing back from a knockout loss against Albert Tumenov four months earlier to earn a Performance of the Night bonus.
9 – Thomas Almeida-Brad Pickett | WATCH ON FIGHT PASS
One of the most exciting prospects to hit the UFC in years, Thomas Almeida is a wrecking machine in the Octagon, and the most impressive thing about the talented Brazilian is his attitude. He is always looking to finish and he does not want anyone to get the jump on him. Case in point, his July knockout of Brad Pickett. The two bantamweights were going back and forth throughout their UFC 189 bout until Pickett tried a flying knee on Almeida that came up short. Not to be outdone, Almeida fired off his own flying knee. His landed and the fight was over.
8 – Uriah Hall-Gegard Mousasi
It was a flashback of sorts to The Ultimate Fighter 17 when Uriah Hall finished Gegard Mousasi in their September bout. Everyone remembers the highlight reel knockouts Hall was producing on the show, and when the stakes were at their highest against Mousasi, “Prime Time” reached into his bag of tricks and pulled off a spinning back kick that essentially ended the Dutchman’s night. The follow-up knee and punches were just window dressing.
7 – Andrei Arlovski-Travis Browne | WATCH ON FIGHT PASS
What is there not to love about this fight? Sure, the ending wasn’t as jaw-dropping spectacular as others, but a) when the referee stepped in there was no doubt that Travis Browne was done for the night and b) it was more the culmination of a spectacular comeback run by Andrei Arlovski, and a win that saw him pick himself off the deck to get it. If you’re a true fight fan, there should be no complaints about this one here.
6 – Stephen Thompson-Jake Ellenberger
When Stephen Thompson needed a complete performance the most in his July bout against Jake Ellenberger, he delivered it. But when it came time to put an exclamation mark on that performance, he went back to the old reliable in his arsenal, and that was a spinning hook kick to the head that put Ellenberger down and out and established “Wonderboy” as a legitimate welterweight contender.
5 – Frankie Edgar-Chad Mendes | WATCH ON FIGHT PASS
Since a February 2013 loss to then-featherweight champion Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar has done everything in his power to secure a second crack at the 145-pound crown, decisioning Charles Oliveira and Urijah Faber, stopping BJ Penn and submitting Cub Swanson. But when the title shot didn’t come, “The Answer” one-upped his previous efforts with a single left hook that knocked Chad Mendes out earlier this month. Statement made. Give that man a shot.
4 – Paul Felder-Danny Castillo | WATCH ON FIGHT PASS
One of only a handful of fights in UFC history to end by way of a spinning backfist, Paul Felder’s finish of Danny Castillo was a no brainer for a spot on this list. And though some fights featuring a spectacular and unorthodox technique end moments after that technique lands, as soon as Felder landed on the always tough Castillo, the Californian was out, with the subsequent fall to the canvas a mere formality. It was flashy and final, a rare mix.
3 – Thiago Santos-Steve Bosse
While Paul Felder’s knockout of Danny Castillo was sudden, making you jump out of your chair, Thiago Santos’ head kick finish of Steve Bosse made you tense up and cringe for the split second when you saw him throw it and knew it was going to land. And oh, when it landed, you knew Bosse was out. In a classy gesture, Santos knew it too, and refused to add another punch or two as the referee moved in. Sometimes, you let the masterpiece speak for itself.
2 – Conor McGregor-Jose Aldo
If Conor McGregor’s 13-second finish of Jose Aldo on Dec. 12 was a video game, we would call it a flawless victory. Getting in and out with frightening precision, a single left hook sent Aldo to the mat in the opening seconds of the most highly-anticipated bout of 2015, and a couple hammerfists later, “The Notorious” one was the undisputed featherweight champion and a man with the brightest of bright futures at the top of the sport.
1 – Holly Holm-Ronda Rousey | WATCH ON FIGHT PASS
You could say that for mere shock value, McGregor’s win over Aldo took the cake in 2015, mainly because it happened so fast, not necessarily that happened. But when Holly Holm knocked out Ronda Rousey with a head kick in the second round of their UFC 193 bout in November, it had all the elements of a Knockout of the Year. It had stellar technique, it was shocking, it was final, and when you consider that the victim of that finish was the most dominant female fighter ever to compete in MMA, there was no question as to the winner of this category. Knockout of the Year clearly goes to “The Preacher’s Daughter.”
HONORABLE MENTIONS – Almeida-Birchak, Mir-Duffee, Rousey-Correia, Jordan-Lewis, Serrano-Syler