Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - It may be the single most exciting event in all of sports – the knockout. In baseball you go nine innings, in football and basketball you’ve got four quarters to decide a winner, and hockey requires three 20-minute periods. In mixed martial arts, a bout scheduled for three or five five-minute rounds can end in seconds if the right punch or kick is landed. That makes every fight a war of nerves, and when the end comes suddenly and spectacularly, there’s simply nothing like it. Read on for the top UFC knockouts from the first half of 2009.
It may be the single most exciting event in all of sports – the knockout. In baseball you go nine innings, in football and basketball you’ve got four quarters to decide a winner, and hockey requires three 20-minute periods. In mixed martial arts, a bout scheduled for three or five five-minute rounds can end in seconds if the right punch or kick is landed. That makes every fight a war of nerves, and when the end comes suddenly and spectacularly, there’s simply nothing like it. Read on for the top UFC knockouts from the first half of 2009.
5 – (Tie) UFC 96 – March 7 – Shane Carwin TKO1 Gabriel Gonzaga
With just 10 pro fights, Shane Carwin’s big step up fight was an enormous one as he took on the man who CroCopped Cro Cop, former heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga. And 30 seconds in, Gonzaga welcomed Carwin to the big time with a flush right hand that broke his nose. This would have been the perfect time for Carwin to fold up his tent and go back to his engineering job, but instead, the big man from Colorado roared back with a right hand of his own that put Gonzaga out and earned Carwin his stripes in the heavyweight division.
5 – (Tie) UFC 97 – April 18 – Mauricio Rua TKO1 Chuck Liddell
Once considered the most feared man in the world at 205 pounds, former PRIDE star Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua saw his reputation take a direct hit after a loss to Forrest Griffin, two knee surgeries, and a lackluster win over Mark Coleman. So entering his UFC 97 bout with Chuck Liddell, the Brazilian needed not only a win, but a spectacular one. He got it, courtesy of a left hook followed by a series of ground strikes that brought a halt to the bout at the 4:28 mark of the round. And though most of the post-fight chatter focused on the future of Liddell, don’t forget that the bout could also have been dubbed the ‘Resurrection of Rua’.
4 – UFC 96 – March 7 - Matt Hamill KO1 Mark Munoz
It’s no secret that when two quality wrestlers lock horns in the Octagon, it’s usually the signal for an all-out standup battle, and that was certainly Matt Hamill’s intention when he took on decorated amateur wrestler Mark Munoz. And though Hamill’s hands have gotten better with each fight he’s had since his stint on season three of The Ultimate Fighter, it was his feet that got the job done against Munoz; more specifically, his right foot, which drilled Munoz in the head and sent him down and out for one of the most frightening finishes of the year.
3 – UFC 95 – February 21 – Paulo Thiago KO1 Josh Koscheck
If you expected Paulo Thiago to pull off the huge upset win over Josh Koscheck earlier this year, congratulations, you’re one of a select few. If you thought the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt was going to knock Koscheck out with an uppercut in the first round, you’re probably lying. That’s how out of left field this knockout was, especially considering the bombs ‘Kos’ ate from Thiago Alves four months earlier and just shook off. But when you add perfect timing to small gloves and some lax defense from Koscheck, the third biggest knockout of 2009 is the final result.
2 – UFC 100 – July 11 – Dan Henderson KO2 Michael Bisping
Yes, Michael Bisping talked a lot leading up to his UFC 100 showdown with Dan Henderson. But the Brit’s mouth had nothing to do with his demise at the hands of Hendo. Instead, once the former two-division PRIDE champion realized that Bisping wasn’t hurting him and that he was pulling straight back AND circling into his power hand, the end was inevitable. Once Henderson’s vaunted right hand crashed into Bisping’s jaw, it was lights out, with the final shot delivered to his downed opponent legal, but ultimately unnecessary.
1 – UFC 98 – May 23 – Lyoto Machida KO2 Rashad Evans
“Karate’s back,” said Lyoto Machida seconds after winning the UFC light heavyweight title from Rashad Evans. Do you want to argue with him after another technically flawless performance that was capped off by a final sequence that was certainly – to use the Joe Rogan term – a ballet of violence. In 19 previous pro bouts, no one had ever seen Evans hurt and taken out like this, but Machida, MMA’s most complex puzzle, did it with his usual cool and precision. If you think ‘The Dragon’ is going to be sitting on top of the 205-pound weight class for a long time, you’re not alone.
Honorable Mention – Dennis Siver-Nate Mohr, Lyoto Machida-Thiago Silva, Anthony Johnson-Luigi Fioravanti, Dan Hardy KO1 Rory Markham, Nate Marquardt TKO3 Wilson Gouveia, Terry Etim TKO2 Brian Cobb, Evan Dunham TKO1 Per Eklund, Matt Brown TKO1 Pete Sell, Brandon Vera-Michael Patt, Aaron Simpson-Tim McKenzie, Nate Quarry-Jason MacDonald, Drew McFedries-Xavier Foupa-Pokam, Mike Swick-Ben Saunders, Brock Lesnar-Frank Mir