MMA Knockouts are special. As UFC and MMA fans, we want the KO as badly as the fighter in the octagon. We like submissions and the bouts that go the distance but knockouts are precious.
Some of those KOs are a little more special than others. These special knockouts made us feel warm and cozy inside thanks to the extra thrill and excitement of the moment.
Take a look at this list of some of the most incredible MMA knockouts in the history of the sport.
Rashad Evans Vs. Sean Salmon
Rashad Evans was a newcomer in the UFC at Fight Night 8 when he fought veteran fighter, Sean Salmon. No one expected Salmon to win the bout, but the outcome was also quite unexpected.
Salmon asked for the fight against Evans. And so, on January 25, 2007, in Hollywood, FL, the two men went head-to-head.
Salmon rocked Evans a few times during the first round but things drastically changed by round two.
Evans had never thrown a leg kick during his career, but this one left its impression. It’s known as one of the most brutal kicks in UFC history.
At 1:06 of Round 2, Evans propelled a vicious headkick to his opponent. Salmon’s arms clinched to his sides, his head went back and he never knew what hit (err, kicked) him before he was unconscious well before hitting the mat.
— danawhite (@danawhite) October 3, 2015
Jackson Vs. Arona
This ranks as one of the best knockouts in MMA history in almost any fight fan’s book. There is some controversy behind the KO as well since some spectators say that it was Jackson’s head that actually knocked out his opponent.
Before Quinton “Rampage” Jackson become a UFC sensation, he fought in the PRIDE FC. Going into PRIDE: Critical Conflict 2004, Jackson held an 8-1 professional record. He was a wrestler known for his takedowns and powerful punches. And, of course, his tough-guy image to match.
Early in the match, Ricardo Arona landed a couple of good kicks to Jackson’s face while the two men grappled on the mat. An obviously stunned Jackson regained composure and the two men exchanged punches and kicks for another minute.
Maybe Arona did not get the memo, but Jackson doesn’t play that. Seconds later while both men still wrestled on the mat, Jackson picked up Arona at least 6-ft. in the air and slammed him with all 205-pounds of power.
Lights out. Undoubtedly, one of the most incredible MMA knockouts in the history of the sport.
16 years ago today today, Quinton Jackson knocked Ricardo Arona out cold with a slam at Pride: Critical Countdown 2004
— Jon Realejo (@BloodyCanvasJon) June 20, 2020
Williams Vs. Coleman
Mark Coleman was the ground-and-pound god during the early years of UFC. He had recently lost his title to Maurice Smith before he stepped into the octagon to fight Pete Williams.
It took place on May 5, 1998, at UFC 15.
At 12:38 of the bout, an obviously winded and tired Coleman was struggling to stand on his feet while Williams looked fresh and ready to fight. Coleman stumbled several times, his opponent obviously taking advantage of the fact.
Williams landed a clean kick mid-face to Coleman, giving him the KO win and a standing ovation from fight fans packed in the arena to see the fight.
Not only did Williams land an incredible, yet brutal, KO, he was the first man to ever take down Coleman.
Coleman retired from professional MMA with a 16-10-0 record. He also earned a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.
— danawhite (@danawhite) December 18, 2015
Matt Hughes Vs. Carlos Newton
At UFC 34, Matt Hughes took on titleholder Carlos Newton for a shot at the welterweight title.
Hughes had a rough start and it looked as though Newton would come out on top in the first two rounds.
Newton locked Hughes in on a triangle choke. Hughes lifted Newton into the air while in the triangle choke, walked him to the side of the octagon fence. Newton grabbed onto the octagon, quickly removed his hand, and then…
Hughes’s legs gave out on him. Hughes, still holding Newton, fell to the ground, knocking himself and Newton out in the process.
No one knew what happened until Hughes regained consciousness several moments later. The two men fought a second time due to the controversy of this fight. Hughes won the rematch.
Matt Hughes defeated Carlos Newton via controversial knockout to become UFC welterweight champ on this day 16 years ago. pic.twitter.com/34vsYWUrlq
— Sherdog by Mandatory (@sherdogdotcom) November 3, 2017
Gonzaga Vs. Cro Cop
Mirko Cro Cop was a UFC legend when he entered the octagon with Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70 on April 21, 2007. Known for his hard knockout kicks, Cro Cop was a shoo-in for this bout.
Fight fans were wrong.
Lasting just 4 minutes, 51-seconds, Gonzaga landed a sickening head kick to the side of Cro Cop’s face, ending the bout. Cro Cop was out before Gonzaga’s glove was off of his face.
No one saw it coming, especially Cro Cop, whose career went down as fast as he did after that kick. A surprising moment deserving of a spot on the most incredible MMA knockouts list.
UFC 70. On this day in 2007 “Cro Cop got Cro Coped” in a devastating headkick by Gabriel Gonzaga. pic.twitter.com/kvJVj1MufA
— Neil Butcher (@MMAassault1) April 21, 2020
Who’s on Your List of Incredible MMA Knockouts?
Narrowing down five knockouts in a sport with a history spanning more than 20 years is difficult. I could easily list several more knockouts. Which bouts should make the most incredible MMA knockouts list?