Knockout of the Year Watch: July 2013 Edition
At UFC 162, fans were treated to six knockouts on the year's annual Fourth of July card. The most prominent of which came in the main event, where Chris Weidman used a left hand to leave Anderson Silva laying in an unconscious heap of flesh on the canvas.
The knockout sent shockwaves across the world. People who have no clue about the sport were left talking about Silva's jaw-dropping loss.
In the eyes of fans, knockouts are the most satisfying conclusion to any fight. Every year, we award the fighters who generate the best of the year, and here at Bleacher Report, we are keeping a close eye on the action.
Here is a look at the top candidates for Knockout of the Year, as of July 8, 2013.
The best knockout to air in 2013 came in the form of Uriah Hall vs. Adam Cella on The Ultimate Fighter. However, being that the show was filmed in 2012, it does not qualify to be a part of our list, despite not seeing the light of day until February.
Dana White hyped up the episode by promoting "one of the nastiest knockouts I’ve ever seen in the fight business, let alone on ‘The Ultimate Fighter." It turned out that White wasn't simply trying to use hyperbole to aid promotion.
7. Emanuel Newton
When Muhammed Lawal, better known to the MMA world as "King Mo," signed on with Bellator, it was widely assumed that he would walk through the organization's stars and win their light heavyweight tournament. After scoring a four-minute knockout in the quarterfinals, that prediction looked as if it would hold up.
However, anything can happen in MMA.
Meeting tremendous underdog Emanuel Newton in the semi-final round, King Mo got clipped by a shot that he never saw coming. Mo was able to evade an overhand right from his opponent, but Newton's attack wasn't finished.
"The Hardcore Kid" used the momentum of his failed strike to throw a spinning back-fist. Lawal wasn't prepared for it and went down like a bag of rocks.
6. Vitor Belfort
Only moments after Chris Weidman defeated Anderson Silva to claim the UFC middleweight championship, Michael Bisping turned to Twitter and asked for a title shot. Apparently, the January knockout he received from Vitor Belfort was so vicious that "The Count" forgot about it entirely.
Belfort knocked down Bisping in the first round with a head kick, but The Ultimate Fighter star was able to survive. In the second frame, he wasn't quite so lucky.
After putting Bisping down with another head kick, The Phenom swarmed with hammer fists and finished the fight.
5. Bigfoot Silva
When you stand in front of a dangerous opponent and taunt, don't be surprised when they level you with a vicious knockout. In 2013, it happened twice in a pair of high-profile situations.
The first occurrence took place on Superbowl weekend when Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva took on K-1 champion Alistair Overeem. With a win, Overeem would be scheduled to challenge Cain Velasquez for the UFC heavyweight championship.
That didn't happen.
Overeem got cocky, left his hands at his waist, and paid for it in brutal fashion. After being leveled with some of the nastiest overhand rights, "The Demolition Man" woke up to find a screaming Bigfoot standing over him in the year's most frightening moment.
4. Chris Weidman
By now, you've heard about the incredible way that Chris Weidman left Anderson Silva unconscious on Saturday night. No need for me to beat it into the ground.
3. Junior Dos Santos
Heavyweight fighters tend to deliver the brutal knockouts that leaves jaws on the floor. When Junior dos Santos met Mark Hunt at UFC 160, that is exactly what happened.
Both fighters represent the elite striking that can be found in MMA. Believe me when I say that each guy took some devastating shots during the encounter.
After Hunt was able to survive the signature overhand right of dos Santos, it looked as if the Super Samoan was truly incapable of being knocked out. It wasn't until the final minute of the contest that "Cigano" disproved that theory.
It's rare to see a heavyweight throw a spinning back kick to the head, and although it didn't land flush, it was enough to send Hunt crashing to the canvas.
2. Muhammed Lawal
Welcome to King Mo's second appearance on our countdown. Thankfully for the Bellator star, he isn't on the receiving end this time around.
Kicking off the 2013 Summer Series, Lawal met now former UFC fighter Seth Petruzelli. After scoring a takedown, Lawal found himself standing over a felled opponent.
That was the beginning of the end.
In one fluid motion, Lawal swung Petruzelli's legs in one direction and threw a single diving punch that landed flush and left The Ultimate Fighter veteran limp.
1. Vitor Belfort
At UFC on FX 8, Belfort looked to expand on the momentum he built by knocking out Michael Bisping back in January. After being booked in a clash against Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, it appeared that "The Phenom" was in a title eliminator.
It took only half of a round before Belfort's arm was raised, and that victory is a direct result of a gorgeous wheel kick that Rockhold never saw coming.
Do you want to know why Vitor Belfort deserves another crack at the UFC middleweight championship? Because he scored two of the year's most brutal knockouts and both of them came against Top-five opponents.