The 50 Most Brutal Knockouts in MMA History
In the world of mixed martial arts, many finishes can be produced when two men enter a chain-linked, fenced-in cage.
If you're a purist, technique triumphs over everything, but allowing your more primal urge to witness a tantalizing knockout is always the most aesthetically pleasing alternative.
Nate Marquardt vs. Demian Maia
Both Maia and Marquardt were gunning for their shot against middleweight champion Anderson Silva in 2009, however the Greg Jackson product made an emphatic message when he deftly knocked out the Brazilian with a well-timed right hand that sent Maia face first into the canvas.
Junior dos Santos vs. Fabricio Werdum
After racking up wins over Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera, Fabricio Werdum was knocking on the door for a shot at the title in 2009—that is, before he took on UFC debutant Junior dos Santos, who halted the ascension of his fellow countryman with a hard uppercut.
Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry
K-1 veteran Pat Barry looked to be on his way to victory after rocking and dropping fellow striker Cheick Kongo several times in the opening moments of their heavyweight collision.
However, the resilient Frenchman regained his wits and countered Barry with a right uppercut which clinched him the dramatic, come-from-behind knockout victory.
BJ Penn vs. Caol Uno
In his third bout with the UFC, BJ Penn took on the world-ranked Caol Uno, who had long been a perennial fixture in the lightweight circuit.
The Japanese star came gunning at Penn from the opening bell, though the Hawaiian remained patient, rocking Uno against the cage with a combination before sealing the finish with uppercuts against the cage which earned the knockout victory in only 11 seconds.
Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin
In his second appearance as a light heavyweight, Anderson Silva took on former world champion Forrest Griffin, who remains one of the division's biggest competitors, if not the biggest.
After a short feeling-out process, Silva connected on a sweeping right hook, which knocked Griffin down to the canvas. Resilient, Griffin made his way back to his feet, though The Ultimate Fighter winner didn't remain upright too long.
Silva dropped Griffin twice more, finally with a backpedaling jab that yielded the embarrassing knockout finish.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Ronaldo Souza
In the 2008 Dream middleweight Grand Prix finals, touted submission specialist Ronaldo Souza took on the underdog in Gegard Mousasi.
The Armenian found himself in trouble early as the jiu-jitsu ace took him down to the canvas, however an overzealous Souza waded in for a hellish barrage of ground-and-pound blows, leaving him open for the upkick which knocked him out in a little over two minutes of action.
Marlon Sandro vs. Masanori Kanehara
Then-Sengoku featherweight champion Masanori Kanehara was looking to make the first defense of his title when he took on Nova Uniao product Marlon Sandro.
The Brazilian has shown that he always has a puncher's chance in victory as he had knocked out so many other opponents before Kanehara, though the Japanese star would end up being another victim of the heavy hands of Sandro, who caught Kanehara with a crushing uppercut in just 38 seconds.
Brad Kohler vs. Steve Judson
Brad Kohler, unfortunately, has not been able to mount much of a memorable mixed martial arts career, losing more than he won, although he did leave behind one gem.
At UFC 22 Kohler took on Steve Judson, who became the victim of a crushing straight right from the heavy hitter, getting knocked out in just 30 seconds.
Don Frye vs. Thomas Ramirez
At UFC 8, Don Frye made his mixed martial arts debut when he took on Thomas Ramirez in 1996.
In just eight seconds, Frye made short work of his opponent by devastating him with a swift knockout and with the victory held the fastest knockout in UFC history for many years.
Dan Hornbuckle vs. Akihiro Gono
Under the Sengoku banner, Dan Hornbuckle was looking to earn his victory inside the promotion when he took on veteran Akihiro Gono.
After a back-and-forth two rounds, Hornbuckle caught a low kick and delivered one high, finishing off Gono with a crushing knockout in the waning moments of the fight.
Paul Daley vs. Scott Smith
In his promotional debut with Strikeforce, former UFC contender Paul Daley was looking to make a statement when he took on the equally heavy handed Scott Smith in his 170-pound debut.
Daley rocked Smith early with his left hook, making "Hands of Steel" come forward aggressively, leaving him open for another counter left hook which sent him face first into the mat.
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Joachim Hansen
Former Dream lightweight champion Joachim Hansen was looking to become a contender in the featherweight class when he took on the heavy-handed Hiroyuki Takaya.
The "Streetfight Bancho" caught Hansen with a right hook, staggering him before sealing the deal with another right which earned the knockout finish in the waning moments of the first round. To date, Takaya is the only man to hold a KO win over the durable fighter.
Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Kazuyuki Miyata
In the prime of his career, "Kid" Yamamoto was a man to be feared and rightfully so.
Olympic wrestler Kazuyuki Miyata would soon find out that Yamamoto was a man not to be messed with, as the dynamo sent Miyata to the mat in just seconds with a leaping knee to the face.
Arthur Guseinov vs. Tyson Jeffries
Under the M-1 banner, Arthur Guseinov earned likely his most impressive victory to date as the Russian hit a spinning backfist, knocking out Tyson Jeffries well before he hit the mat.
Rob McCullough vs. Olaf Alfonso
On his road to the lightweight title in the WEC, Rob McCullough took on veteran Olaf Alfonso. The battle was a highly anticipated affair between two sluggers, though the technician in McCullough connected on a crisp right hand that emphatically finished Alfonso in just 12 seconds of the second round.
Hayato Sakurai vs. Shinya Aoki II
In the opening round of the welterweight Grand Prix under the Dream banner, rivals Hayato Sakurai and Shinya Aoki met one another in a highly anticipated, blockbuster battle.
The bout didn't live up to its expectations, thanks to the ring-savvy Sakurai who used his crushing knees to drive in shots at Aoki, who was knocked out less than 30 seconds into the opening round.
Gilbert Yvel vs. Gary Goodridge
Touted kickboxing aces Gilbert Yvel and Gary Goodridge met under the Pride banner some years ago. The heavy-handed Yvel instead opted to use a kick to the head to yield the impressive knockout victory.
Igor Vovchanchyn vs. Franciso Bueno
Small in stature, Igor Vovchanchyn wasn't the most imposing figure inside the ring, but the man wielded some real heavyweight power, to which Francisco Bueno could attest to.
The Brazilian met the Ukrainian under the Pride banner and was victimized by a left-right combination which knocked him out just seconds into the first round.
Pablo Garza vs. Fredson Paixao
In the first featherweight battle in UFC history, Pablo Garza made the most of his opportunity when he took on WEC veteran Freson Paixao.
A well-timed jumping knee to the face sent the Brazilian reeling to the canvas, knocking him out just 51 seconds into the opening round.
Pedro Rizzo vs. Josh Barnett
Looking to get back to the UFC title after a loss to then-champion Kevin Randleman, Pedro Rizzo was building on the strength of a TKO victory over Dan Severn when he took on up-and-comer Josh Barnett.
The submission grappler failed to bring Rizzo the canvas, though he stood toe to toe with the Brazilian long enough to become the victim of an emphatic knockout, courtesy of a crushing right hand from Rizzo.
Roman Zenstov vs. Pedro Rizzo
The former UFC contender in Rizzo ventured overseas to take on the elite of the heavyweight class when he took on Roman Zentsov, training partner to Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko.
The Russian made the most of his opportunity against Rizzo when he squelched the ascension of the Brazilian in just 25 seconds, knocking him out with a counter left hook.
Renzo Gracie vs. Oleg Taktarov
The undersized Gracie took on "The Russian Bear" in a heavyweight collision in 1996. Many pegged Taktarov the consummate favorite though Renzo surprised everyone when an upkick sent Taktarov reeling to the canvas.
A follow-up right hand sealed the knockout win in just 62 seconds.
Gary Goodridge vs. Oleg Taktarov
Unfortunately for Taktarov, for all his accolades throughout his career, he has been victimized by two devastating knockout losses that will live on in infamy, particularly that of his battle with Gary Goodridge, who used a right hand to drop the Russian early. Goodridge followed up with some brutal hooks that earned the knockout.
John Makdessi vs. Kyle Watson
The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 vet Kyle Watson took on then-undefeated Canadian star John Makdessi at UFC 129.
With a Toronto crowd behind him, Makdessi was searching for a home run spinning backfist from the opening bell and he finally found that highlight-reel shot in the third round, sending Watson to the canvas, making Makdessi the winner by knockout.
Marcus Aurelio vs. Keegan Marshall
Brazilian Marcus "Lelo" Aurelio put his capoeira skills to the test in his battle with Canadian Keegan Marshall, who fell victim to some vicious spinning kicks from Aurelio, who earned the impressive knockout win, which has since made its rounds on the Internet.
Chuck Liddell vs. Guy Mezger
Then-UFC contender Chuck Liddell was imported to the Pride organization in order to take on the elite of the light heavyweight division. His first task was a familiar face when he took on UFC vet Guy Mezger.
The heavy-handed Karate specialist rocked Liddell early, though "The Iceman" came storming back in the second round, scoring the knockout in just 21 seconds.
Travis Browne vs. Stefan Struve
In a battle between the UFC's two tallest heavyweight fighters, Stefan Struve took on the up-and-coming Travis Browne in May of last year.
After a contentious four minutes of action, "Happa" waded in with a superman punch, sending the crowd into a roar with the emphatic finish, which sent Struve crashing to the mat like a chopped-down piece of timber.
Yves Edwards vs. Josh Thomson
At UFC 49, lightweight contenders Yves Edwards and Josh Thomson met in a pivotal collision that would have made either man the consummate top dog of the 155-pound class.
The AKA product was game early, though maybe he was too game.
Once Edwards took Thomson's back early, "The Punk" opted to throw a spinning backfist, to which Edwards countered with a head kick, sending Thomson crashing to the mat.
Subsequent ground-and-pound blows were just a formality to seal the knockout finish.
Sam Stout vs. Yves Edwards
After going 2-0 upon his return to the UFC, Edwards was pitted against lightweight-notable Sam Stout last June.
Many believed the craftier veteran would be able to edge Stout and as Edwards threw a hard right hook, Stout countered with a counter left of his own, sending Edwards crashing to the canvas, making him victim of what president Dana White called "one of the vicious knockouts in UFC history, if not the most vicious."
Phil Baroni vs. Dave Menne
Baroni had the chance to make a statement when he took on former UFC champion Dave Menne some years ago and the heavy-handed fighter made the most of the opportunity, blitzing Menne against the cage where he released a machine gun-like barrage of strikes which earned the knockout victory in just 18 seconds of action.
Joey Villasenor vs. Hank Weiss
Villasenor is the owner of one of the first walk-off knockouts, if not the first, when he countered an aggressive Hank Weiss with a crushing left hook, wilting him to the ground with the single blow.
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Aleksander Emelianenko
Under the Pride banner, K-1 veteran Mirko Cro Cop took on then-undefeated heavyweight stud Aleksander Emelianenko, brother to the famed Fedor Emelianenko.
With his crippling kicks, Cro Cop scored one up high, laying the Russian to the mat before he pounced with additional ground-and-pound blows, earning the knockout finish in the opening round.
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Igor Vovchanchyn
Much like Aleksander Emelianenko, Igor Vovchanchyn also fell victim to a highlight-reel head-kick knockout at the hands of Cro Cop, who devastated the Ukrainian within the opening round.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko Cro Cop
In an ironic twist of fate, it was the Croatian who became the victim of his previous career successes, having been leveled by a head-kick knockout from Brazilian powerhouse Gabriel Gonzaga, who a title shot with the emphatic finish.
Robbie Lawler vs. Frank Trigg
Lawler was looking to reclaim what was once his when he took on then-Icon Sport champion Frank Trigg. After a back-and-forth three rounds of action, Lawler took advantage of a fatigued Trigg by muscling him into a corner and laying down hooks galore, ending the bout with an uppercut as a cherry on top of the definitive knockout.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton Jackson II
Jackson earned his shot at then-Pride middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva after knocking out top light heavyweight star Ricardo Arona with a devastating slam.
Though "Rampage" was game against Silva in their second encounter, the Brazilian brutalized Jackson in the clinch, with a final knee sending the durable fighter crashing through the ropes for arguably the most memorable loss of his career.
Dan Henderson vs. Wanderlei Silva II
After a decision win over former UFC champion Vitor Belfort, Henderson earned his shot against rival Wanderlei Silva, who edged the American years prior.
The Team Quest star returned with a vengeance, rocking Silva with a spinning backfist before finishing him off with right hook and a forearm smash.
Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping
After the two middleweights culminated the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter serving as opposing coaches, they finally had their chance to enter the cage to face one another at UFC 100.
There, Henderson made Bisping victim to his crushing right hand, which sent the Brit wilting to the canvas before "Hendo" sealed the deal with another air-leaping right, earning him the "Knockout of the Year" in the process.
Douglas Lima vs. Chris Lozano
On his way to the Bellator welterweight tournament finals, Douglas Lima took on New Yorker Chris Lozano.
The once-beaten Lozano had proven to be a force in the cage, though Lima thought otherwise when he devastated him with a crushing right hand.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski
After getting teed-off on for the better part of their heavyweight collision, Emelianenko was pushed back against the ropes by an oncoming Arlovski.
Looking for the flashy finish, "The Pitbull" leapt in the air for a flying knee, being brought down to earth by a counter right hook that sent him face first into the mat.
Rashad Evans vs. Chuck Liddell
Former champion Chuck Liddell was looking to get back to a shot at what was once his when he took on Rashad Evans.
The Ultimate Fighter winner was a heavy underdog leading into the bout, though he opened up the eyes of the MMA community when he crushed the knockout artist with a right hook that sent him flatlining to the mat.
Lyoto Machida vs. Rashad Evans
Evans was fresh off of a TKO victory over Forrest Griffin, which earned him the 205-pound title in the process.
Machida became the first contender to his title and the Brazilian made the most of the opportunity as he rocked Evans early and remained unrelenting, stalking him with precision strikes before a barrage of punches earned the KO finish in the second round.
Pete Williams vs. Mark Coleman
Former champion Mark Coleman was looking to get back to his winning ways when he took on the Lion's Den product in Pete Williams.
The two battled back and forth for the majority of the fight and in the overtime round, Williams teed off on a fatigued Coleman, who wilted against the fence from strikes before being crushed with a right high kick which sent him stumbling to the ground, the victim by knockout.
Jose Aldo vs. Cub Swanson
In a featherweight title eliminator, Cub Swanson and Jose Aldo met one another in the now-defunct WEC promotion.
There was little feeling-out as Aldo leapt with a double flying knee, with Swanson immediately wilting to the canvas before the referee intervened at just eight seconds into the opening round.
Tank Abbott vs. John Matua
In his mixed martial arts debut, Tank Abbott entered the UFC 6 tournament, first taking on John Matua in the opening round of action.
Abbott plodded forward and connected on devastating strikes which earned the stoppage just 18 seconds into the opening round, which laid credence to his knockout prowess for future bouts.
Anderson Silva vs. Chris Leben
"The Crippler" was riding high on a five-fight win streak inside the Octagon and looked as if he was just one more big win away from a championship tilt.
Anderson Silva had different plans as the Brazilian made an emphatic UFC debut by knocking out Leben with an array of strikes, where a final knee to the head sealed the stoppage at just 49 seconds of the opening round.
Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort
In a grudge match between former friends and teammates, Vitor Belfort contended for the UFC middleweight title against reigning 185-pound kingpin Anderson Silva.
"The Spider" shocked the world when he finished Belfort with a front-kick to the face followed up by ground-and-pound blows which earned the decisive knockout victory, defending his belt in the process.
Anderson Silva vs. Tony Fryklund
In one of the more impressive finishes of his career, Silva met UFC vet Tony Fryklund under the now-defunct Cage Rage banner, where an upward-angled elbow earned the knockout finish in a little over two minutes of the opening round.
Quinton Jackson vs. Ricardo Arona
In the most memorable performance of his career, Quinton Jackson put himself in the MMA history books when he hoisted Brazilian submission ace Ricardo Arona in the air and slammed him to the canvas where he laid knocked out from the brutal blow.
Robbie Lawler vs. Melvin Manhoef
K-1 star Melvin Manhoef lit up Robbie Lawler with crushing leg kicks, which had the Iowa native wilting early from the blows.
Just as Manhoef waded in for the finish, "Ruthless" ducked his head and swung for the fences, connecting on a counter right hook which dropped Manhoef to the mat before finishing off the Dutchman with subsequent ground-and-pound blows, earning the come-from-behind victory in the process.