Knockout of the Year Watch: May 2013 Edition

Sean SmithAnalyst IMay 4, 2013

Knockout of the Year Watch: May 2013 Edition

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    Vitor Belfort was already in the hunt for Knockout of the Year with his head kick against Michael Bisping. 

    The former UFC champion is about to have a chance to one-up himself, though. At UFC on FX 8, Belfort will meet Luke Rockhold, who enters the UFC as the final Strikeforce middleweight champion.

    With a victory over Rockhold, Belfort would also become the leading candidate for a fight with the winner of an upcoming middleweight title bout between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman. 

    As UFC on FX 8 and this important 185-pound contest approaches, let's take a look back at the best knockouts thus far in 2013.

5. Yoel Romero

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    Event: UFC on Fox 7

    Opponent: Clifford Starks

    Knockout Method: Flying knee and punches

    An Olympic medalist, Yoel Romero's wrestling was considered his biggest weapon heading into his UFC debut at UFC on Fox 7.

    While he is bound to show off his takedowns at some point in his UFC career, Romero unleashed his striking on Clifford Starks in his first Octagon appearance.

    Less than two minutes into his UFC career, Romero landed a flying knee that knocked Starks down. With a few follow-up punches, Romero had earned his first UFC win.

4. Myles Jury

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    Event: UFC on Fox 7

    Opponent: Ramsey Nijem

    Knockout Method: Overhand right

    After beating Michael Johnson at UFC 155, Myles Jury was matched up with another TUF runner-up in Ramsey Nijem.

    Although the first round between Jury and Nijem featured a lot of back-and-forth grappling, the fight would be decided in the striking department during the second frame.

    Nijem pushed forward with a combination. After slipping some punches, Jury countered with an overhand right that stopped Nijem in his tracks. Out cold on impact, Nijem violently crashed to the canvas, putting an end to the fight.

3. Anthony Njokuani

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    Event: UFC on Fox 7

    Opponent: Roger Bowling

    Knockout Method: Left hook

    Coming off of a loss to Rafael dos Anjos, Anthony Njokuani was given a matchup with Strikeforce veteran Roger Bowling.

    Although Bowling carried notable knockout power, it was Njokuani who was able to beat his opponent with better technique and speed.

    As Bowling rushed forward and dropped his hands in the second round, Njokuani capitalized with a quick left hook. Bowling's momentum carried his limp body forward, and he crashed into Njokuani's shoulder before falling to the canvas.  

2. Clint Hester

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    Event: TUF 17 Finale

    Opponent: Bristol Marunde

    Knockout Method: Stepping elbow

    Following an appearance on TUF 17, Clint Hester made his UFC debut against fellow TUF veteran Bristol Marunde.

    With a UFC contract likely on the line, the 26-year-old Hester made a big statement and showed he could have a very bright future in the middleweight division.

    After rocking Marunde near the end of both the first and second rounds, Hester finished the job in the final stanza with an impressive standing elbow knockout. Marunde's hands flung into the air upon the impact of the elbow, causing referee Steve Mazzagatti to rush in and try stop the fight immediately. 

1. Emanuel Newton

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    Event: Bellator 90

    Opponent: Muhammed Lawal

    Knockout Method: Spinning backfist

    Muhammed Lawal was one of the cornerstones in Bellator MMA's promotion on Spike TV. Many expected the former Strikeforce champion to breeze through a light heavyweight tournament and become the organization's 205-pound champion.

    However, Lawal's run came to a shockingly early end in a semifinal bout against Emanuel Newton.

    Despite his strong wrestling background, Lawal appeared focused on standing with Newton and got caught with a wild spinning backfist that caused him to go limp while still standing.

    Newton is now set to face off against Mikhail Zayats, who scored a spinning backfist knockout of his own against Renato Sobral en route to the light heavyweight tournament finals.