2008 had it’s fair share of brutal, jaw breaking knockouts and it’s time to look back on some of the best. Here is my comprised top 5 KO’s of the year. Though I wanted to do 10, spanning twelve months is harder than it seems, so I did the five that stood out for me the most. Feel free to chime in with your own opinions or thoughts on the knockouts of ’08:
5 – Jeremy Stephens over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 91 – When you see this knockout, you almost expect Anjos to go flying over the cage and sailing to those fatal spikes in the Pit (all my Mortal Kombat fans will get that one). This was an uppercut of pure beauty and ferocity. It was as if Stephens just said ‘I’m ready to end this’ and threw the most destructive blow he could think of. Although both lightweights, I wouldn’t be shocked if that blow didn’t knock out some of the guys in the heavier weights with how accurate the blow was and how much power was put behind it.
4 – Quinton Jackson over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92 – We all knew that it was highly unlikely that scorecard would be needed when these two archenemies stepped foot in the octagon. From the opening, each man threw wild but threw with very bad intentions. There was very little technical about this bout, minus maybe the defense of Jackson towards the conclusion. And it would be that defense that would lead to ‘The Axe Murderer’ taking a nap. A beautifully placed left hook caught Silva right on the jaw and sent him crashing to the mat unconscious. A possible bitter end to a bitter rival.
3 – Josh Koscheck over Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC ‘Fight for the Troops’ – There’s very few times I really cringe while watching an MMA fight but watching Yoshida’s eyes roll back was cringe worthy. The always improving Koscheck usually throws loopy, power packed hay makers that rarely hit the target but the AKA standout seemed much more refined in his strikes and Yoshida never saw those rights coming. He was easily out after the first brutal shot but an overhand right left him in bad shape and left the troops in a frenzy.
2 – Junior dos Santos over Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90 – This may not have been the prettiest looking knockout of the year or the most brutal but it was the most significant one. The consensus number one contender to the UFC heavyweight title (whomever it would be after the mini-tourney) was given a ‘gimme’ fight to showcase the future contender at UFC 90. However, dos Santos was hearing none of that. Obviously overlooking the power puncher, Werdum came in overweight and overconfident. Unfortunately for him, dos Santos not only handed him a loss but helped hand him a pink slip out of the UFC and now begging for someone to take him in.
1 – Rashad Evans over Chuck Liddell at UFC 88 – Now it may be a little unfair, since I gave this the number one nod mostly because I was there live but you’ve got to understand how shocking and how brutal this knockout really was. Coming into UFC 88, no one expected Rashad to win. While it wasn’t out of the question, it certainly didn’t seem possible with Chuck’s resume against wrestlers and Rashad coming off a coma inducing fight with Michael Bisping at UFC 78. The stage was set for Chuck to recapture his glory after a punishing but satisfying win over Wanderlei Silva. Anytime Rashad’s face was on the screen the entire arena booed him out the building. As the two came out, I could hear screams of ‘knock his head off Chuck’ amongst other things. The rowdy crowd was solely behind Chuck minus a few of us (my wife, my father in law, myself, and Kelvin I’m sure) and when Chuck, looking as if he had been swatted with a baseball bat, went crashing to the mat unconscious you could hear a pin drop. The entire arena went silent as Rashad, in his usual post-fight antics, made sure to let the people know that this was just another day at the office. The sheer brutality of the overhand right, that ironically Chuck made famous, was something to be seen. Looking at Chuck lay motionless for nearly the entire duration of the post-fight just reiterated what had just happened. I think this was a no brainer for knockout of the year and may be the beginning of Rashad’s takeover of the light heavyweight division
I'm sure 2009 will have it's fair share of surprising and jaw dropping knockouts. Feel free to comment.