Ten best KOs of 2011 ... so far

QMI martial arts columnist Neil Springer says Anderson Silva's victory over Vitor Belfort in UFC...

QMI martial arts columnist Neil Springer says Anderson Silva's victory over Vitor Belfort in UFC 126 was the killer knock-out of 2011 so far. (WENN photo)

Neil Springer, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 7:41 PM ET

There are few sports as unpredictable as mixed martial arts.

 

Fights can end in any number ways, involving techniques from a multitude of different disciplines. Everybody loves a back-and-forth brawl or a slick submission, but at the end of the day nothing sends fans home happy quite like a killer knockout.

So here are the 10 best KOs of 2011 ... so far.

10. Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz (UFC 129)

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

The quickest knockout of the year saw veteran grinder Vladimir Matyushenko abandon his wrestling background and put away Jason Brilz in 20 seconds. After dropping Brilz with a beautifully timed uppercut, Matyushenko rained down more punches to seal the deal.

On almost any other card this could have won Knockout of the Night, but this is UFC 129 we’re talking about.

9. Mark Hunt vs. Chris Tuchscherer (UFC 127)

There are few things on this planet as cool as the walk-off knockout.

Sure, it’s often best to leave zero room for error and keep attacking until the ref stops the fight, but what about style points?

After flattening Chris Tuchscherer with a nasty short-uppercut in the second round, former K-1 world grand prix champion Mark Hunt turned his back and walked off into the sunset before the ref even had time to step in.

Too bad they don’t allow fighters to carry sunglasses into the octagon. Watching Hunt slap on a pair of shades would have been the icing on the cake.

8. Travis Browne vs. Stefan Struve (UFC 130)

The biggest hurdle in fighting a guy who’s 6-foot-11 is this: How the hell do you get close enough to hit him in the head?

Even though Travis Browne is only four inches shorter, he was having a tough time connecting with Stefan Struve’s melon. That is, until he exploded with a slick Superman punch for the stunning knockout victory.

Well, that’s one way to do it.

7. Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim (UFC 132)

Going into the fight, many fans wondered how Carlos Condit would handle the stellar takedowns and top game of Dong Hyun Kim. After all, takedown defense isn’t Condit’s biggest strength and Kim is one of the best grapplers at welterweight.

Those concerns were immediately addressed when Condit was taken down early and quickly scrambled back to his feet.

Condit then went airborne with a beautiful flying knee that dropped the previously undefeated Kim. After a flurry of punches on the ground, it was academic.

6. Sam Stout vs. Yves Edwards (UFC 131)

With a nickname like ‘Hands of Stone,’ you’d better be knocking people out all over the place.

Despite his moniker and obvious striking talent, Sam Stout approached his 11th UFC appearance without finishing a fight by KO during his time in the organization. Also, his opponent, Yves Edwards, had never been knocked out in 57 professional MMA bouts.

What happened was likely the culmination of Stout’s frustration — one massive left hook that put Edwards completely out. In a classy move, Stout simply threw his arms up in celebration, rather than inflict any unnecessary punishment.

5. John Makdessi vs. Kyle Watson (UFC 129)

John Makdessi may be one of the most entertaining strikers in the lightweight division, but it was clear he wanted no part of Kyle Watson’s ground game.

Though Makdessi was winning the fight handily, he was somewhat tentative. You could tell he was constantly thinking about getting put flat on his back if he made a mistake.

However, at the start of the third round, Makdessi started to open up more with his striking. After faking a low kick, he flowed into a lighting-quick spinning back-fist that knocked Watson out cold.

4. Patricky (Pitbull) Freire vs. Toby Imada (Bellator 39)

The speed and accuracy of Patricky (Pitbull) Freire’s brutal flying knee on Toby Imada easily makes it one of the most brutal knockouts of the year. But it earns extra points — and subsequently cracks the top five — due to Imada’s haunting reaction to the shot.

In a scene almost out of a George Romero film, Imada appeared to stand lifeless with his eyes pointed at the mat, like a zombie trying to remember where he left his car keys.

Freire charged with punches, knocking Imada down and forcing the referee to call the fight.

3. Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry (UFC on Versus 4)

Things looked bleak for Cheick Kongo.

After eating a huge overhand right from Pat Barry, the French kickboxer began stumbling around the octagon like Nick Nolte after happy hour.

But as Barry went in for the kill, Kongo started swinging out of instinct. The first punch to the temple wobbled Barry, the follow-up to the jaw put him to sleep.

2. Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture (UFC 129)

Lyoto Machida sure picked the biggest possible stage to deliver the best knockout of his career.

In front of more than 55,000 fans at the Rogers Centre, Machida dug deep into his bag of tricks and pulled out a “Karate Kid” crane kick to retire Randy Couture.

Not only was it awesome to look at, but the shot knocked out the MMA legend’s tooth.

1. Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort (UFC 126)

Though Anderson Silva’s version of the front kick to the face didn’t include the Ralph Macchio twist Machida put into it, this is the moment that really kick-started the Steven Seagal revolution — or troll job, depending on how you look at it.

Many felt Vitor Belfort’s power and hand-speed would be too much, but Silva’s foot had other ideas.

 


Photos