KNOCKOUTS…Ah…The unpredictability and craziness in the sport of mixed martial arts comes from a variety of factors including 4-ounce gloves, a book-load of attacks to watch out for, and knowing that one well-timed, well-placed move can end the fight in an instant.
Sometimes, that one flush counter punch, or that picture perfect head kick gains immortality in the highlight reel forever, and defines careers. But nothing compares to the rush and emotion one gains, whether a martial arts enthusiast or not, when they watch it come out of nowhere for the first time.
Join us for an eye-opening, swaggerish walk down memory lane to countdown a few jaw-droppingly insane octagon moments in MMA: Top 5 Crazy Knockouts You Never Saw Coming! (in descending order.)
5. Quinton Jackson vs. Ricardo Arona — Pride Critical Countdown (June 20, 2004)
Quinton Jackson famously built his career with Pride Fighting Championships, his unique persona and more importantly, his savage performances.
This knockout ignites this list of many moments defining the warrior we all know as “Rampage” as we get into our countdown of the most unorthodox finishes.
Just as you think Arona has Jackson trapped for a triangle choke in his guard, no-one expected the tables to turn immediately, when Arona was literally hoisted up in the air and slammed ferociously to the mat, rendering him unconscious.
Jackson not only escaped the choke and a near loss, but finished the fight by KO, earning himself a middleweight title fight in the process.
4. Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort – UFC 126 (Feb. 5, 2011)
When these two Brazilian titans, (one considered pound for pound the best of all time in Anderson Silva) faced off for the middleweight title, there were guaranteed thrills no matter what the outcome.
Silva is by all means an expert in all aspects of MMA, but his Muay Thai and boxing are his strongest skills, and on most occasions, his visually most- pleasing tools.
However, it’s fair to say a front kick to the face of Belfort was the last method many would have predicted when it came to the finish, and “The Spider” made it look easy.
After getting comfortable with his range, Silva launched a kick typically used to attack the body, but Belfort just covered his torso, he was too late to realise it was heading straight for his chin, spawning one of the most iconic images in the history of MMA.
It was the first front kick knockout ever in the UFC, and earned Silva a Performance of the Night bonus, along with his ninth consecutive title defence.
3. Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo — UFC 194 (Dec. 12, 2015)
Blink and you’ll miss it…The “Notorious” Conor McGregor shocked the world once more in 2015 when he dethroned the featherweight king, who at the time was pound for pound, the number one, Jose Aldo.
Many were quick to jump online and call his one punch KO a fluke, but video footage of McGregor drilling the exact technique that dropped the champion shut down all doubts.
The Notorious one looked remarkably relaxed in the octagon compared to Aldo, which perhaps demonstrated the power that trash talk and raw emotion had in the build-up to this fight night.
2. Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping — UFC 100 (July 11, 2009)
Speaking of trash talk, there was a lot of tension in the build-up to this middleweight clash at one of the biggest MMA events of all time, UFC 100.
Both Henderson and Bisping had previously served as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, and it’s appropriate to note that they had mildly different approaches to hyping a fight.
Bisping was the brash Brit putting all his power into winding up the American ahead of their bout. Henderson being the calm and humble fighter that he is, simply endured weeks of talk before deciding to make his statement in the cage.
As he connected with one of the most perfectly executed right hands in history, Henderson followed with a brutal ground strike to the already flatlined Bisping. The image of him launching himself through the air is one that will remain in the history books forever.
1. Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren – UFC 239 (July 6, 2019)
At five seconds (three seconds if you take away the time it took for referee Jason Herzog to run in and wave it off), you just can’t beat it. An undefeated and very confident Ben Askren became the victim of one of the most violent knockouts in history, at the hands (or knee) of none other than “Gamebred” himself, Jorge Masvidal.
Askren is of course, a highly accomplished wrestler, whose grappling had been his go-to for all of his victories. Masvidal, anticipating the former to shoot in straight away, made sure he’d pay for it.
The flying knee was perfectly timed, and Askren went down and out cold immediately. It remains the fastest knockout in UFC history, and deserves the number one spot on this list.