Like our “Submission of the Year” piece, there were numerous knockout finishes in 2011 to illuminate, and picking a decisive winner of this little title, is no easy task. There were flashy finishes, unforeseen finishes, and a few outrageously brutal finishes.
Bellator played host to a number of spectacular knockouts this year, including Alexis Vila’s one punch leveling of promotional ace, Joe Warren, Pat Curran’s perfectly placed right high kick finish of Marlon Sandro and Patricky Freire’s well-timed flying knee that left Toby Imada in another dimension. It was a stellar year for the promotion, as I’m just skimming the surface of Bellator knockouts.
Fans were also gifted an assortment of violent finishes by the Strikeforce promotion. Dan Henderson became the first man to render Fedor Emelianenko unconscious when he delivered a sneaky right uppercut through the defenses of the downed Russian. Even more aesthetically pleasing than the Emelianenko knockout however, was Sergei Kharitonov’s brutal destruction of Andrei Arlovski; the two traded strikes for half of a round before the durable Golden Glory representative landed a devastating combination that sent the Belarusian to the canvas, wide eyed, but deep asleep.
As is the usual, promotional powerhouse The Ultimate Fighting Championship produced the most spectacular knockouts of the year, in part due to the sheer amount of fights the organization is able to host yearly. Sam Stout knocked Yves Edwards out cold with one punch, and Rafael dos Anjos mirrored that performance when he blitzed George Sotiropoulos in under a minute. John Makdessi made his promotional debut a successful one, when he left TUF product, Kyle Watson sprawled on the canvas after eating a beautiful spinning backfist that turned the lights out upon impact.
All these wondrous knockouts, but two still stood far ahead of the pack, and both were equally as mesmerizing. At UFC 126, Anderson Silva reminded the MMA masses of why he’s considered the most diverse fighter on the planet, as he landed a picture perfect front kick to the chin of Vitor Belfort. Belfort collapsed, Silva swarmed, and one awe inspiring knockout was added to the history books. Just two months later former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida would replicate the assault, with a touch of extra flash. Machida met Randy Couture in a featured bout at UFC 129. After a single round it was apparent that Couture was going to have issues controlling the talented Brazilian; a minute into the second frame “the Dragon” launched a jumping front kick that connected with “The Natural’s” chin. The strike rendered the hall of famer defenseless, and one tooth shy of a full set of chompers.
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