Voting is now open for the Ninth Annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards and to help you with your selection, here’s a breakdown the five nominees in the running for this year’s Knockout of the Year stature.
Anthony Johnson KO1 Glover Teixeira (UFC 202)
UFC 202 might be remembered as the night Conor McGregor got his revenge on Nate Diaz, but the co-main event had two power punching light heavyweights squaring off to knock each others heads off. Anthony Johnson vs. Glover Teixeira was always going to a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ affair and it didn’t disappoint to live up to the billing. It took Johnson only 13 seconds of the first round to deliver an uppercut from hell, knocking Teixeira out cold giving the Brazilian his first clear cut knockout loss of his career. More so this solidified Johnson as the #1 contender in the 205lb division.
Lando Vannata KO1 John Makdessi (UFC 206)
On paper it was heavily criticised, but UFC 206 ended up delivering one of the best nights of fights in 2016, including an action-packed main card. Yet long before the main card rolled into action Lando Vannata ensured his UFC campaign really got out of the blocks by knocking out John Makdessi with something right out of a Bruce Lee movie. Headlining the UFC Fight Pass preliminary card, Vannata delivered an inch perfect spinning hell kick which knocked Makdessi out cold. Destined to be a highlight reel knockout replayed for years to come, it was original and spectacular.
Michael Page KO2 Cyborg Santos (Bellator 158)
Michael Page is flashy, oozes charisma and bravado and matches that personality with a killer instinct inside the cage. The opportunity to feature on the main card in Bellator’s debut event in London, UK, was set up to create a memorable moment – and didn’t it ever. A second before the second round was due to end, ‘Venom’ delivered a devastating flying knee to the head of ‘Cyborg’ Santos, caving in his skull and sending him off to the hospital. Page then now equally infamous ‘Pokemon Go-inspired celebrations, which went instantly viral, only added to the majesty of the finish. Bellator’s MVP in every sense of the word.
Yair Rodriguez KO2 Andre Fili (UFC 197)
To open a Jon Jones comeback pay-per-view main card means one thing: lots of eyeballs on the fight card. And in what was his coming out party, Mexican sensation Yair Rodriguez delivered an awesome flying scissor kick to the head, rocking Andre Fili’s head backwards and sending him to La La land. It ended up earning Rodriguez a ‘Performance of the Night’ $50,000 bonus along with plenty of kudos, which is now a permanent fixture in his highlight reel.
Michael Chandler KO1 Patricky Freire (Bellator 157)
A knockout is great for the highlight reel but when there’s stakes involved it makes the performance that much more meaningful. That was the case last June when Michael Chandler took on ‘Pit bull’ Freire for the vacant Bellator lightweight championship. There was no controversy in the way this fight finished. It took Chandler just a few minutes of the first round to land a devastating punch to the chin of Freire, leaving the Brazilian catatonic on the floor, leaving Chandler to jump the fence and celebrate his status as the new 155lb champ.
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