The Best Knockout from Each Weight Division in UFC History

Dustin FilloyFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2013

The Best Knockout from Each Weight Division in UFC History

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    Plenty of boring nights in the UFC have changed in an instant with a spectacular knockout.

    Although fans have always craved submissions, there's nothing quite as compelling or aesthetically alluring as a knockout.

    Since the company's inception in 1993, UFC fighters have pulled off artistic and brutal versions of this fight-ending maneuver.

    Some chose to deliver the blow with a knee or a fist, while others used an elbow, a foot or a shin to get the job done.

    Regardless of their modus operandi, the fighters on this countdown delivered prolific and violent knockouts that altered the sport forever.

    Here's a look at the best knockout from each weight class in UFC history.


Honorable Mentions

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    Women's bantamweight: Liz Carmouche TKOs Jessica Andrade (punches and elbows) at UFC on Fox 8

    Flyweight: John Moraga KO's (elbows and punches) Ulysses Gomez at UFC on Fox 4

    Bantamweight: T.J. Dillashaw KO's (knee and punches) Issei Tamura at UFC 158

    Featherweight: "The Korean Zombie" (Chan-Sung Jung) KOs (punches) Mark Hominick at UFC 140

    Lightweight: Edson Barboza KOs (spinning heel kick) Terry Etim at UFC 142

    Welterweight: Georges St-Pierre TKOs (high kick and punches) Matt Hughes at UFC 65

    Middleweight: Anderson Silva KOs (front kick) Vitor Belfort at UFC 126

    Light heavyweight: Tito Ortiz KOs (slam) Evan Tanner at UFC 30

    Heavyweight: Gabriel Gonzaga KOs (high kick) Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at UFC 70

Women's Bantamweight: Cat Zingano vs. Miesha Tate

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    Although a pure KO has yet to happen in the brief history of the women's bantamweight division, Cat Zingano came the closest when she TKO'd Miesha Tate with knees and an elbow at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale.

    In a gutsy showing, Zingano stormed back to finish Tate with a flurry that consisted of several knees from the clinch and a finishing elbow from the standing position.

    Referee Kim Winslow had seen enough after Tate got dropped by a flush elbow from Zingano, calling the fight with 2:05 left in the third round. 

    While Zingano didn't garner "Knockout of the Night" honors for her efforts, she and Tate each nabbed $50,000 for "Fight of the Night" bonuses.


Flyweight: Joseph Benavidez vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani

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    Because he only scored one KO in the WECfew predicted Team Alpha Male stalwart Joseph Benavidez to earn "Knockout of the Night" honors in his flyweight debut in the UFC.

    However, a revved up Benavidez did precisely that when he flattened Japanese standout Yasuhiro Urushitani with a vicious right hand and follow-up ground-and-pound at UFC on FX 2. 

    Seconds into the second round of the company's second-ever flyweight bout, Benavidez checked a kick from Urushitani before hammering the former Shooto champ with a counter right hand.

    Urushitani hit the canvas and absorbed several clean blows to the jawline before referee Steve Percival stepped in to save the day in the midst of a masterful display of violence. 


Bantamweight: Michael McDonald vs. Miguel Torres

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    Desperately wanting to make his bones in the 135-pound division, Michael McDonald accepted the stiffest test of his young career when he locked horns with Miguel Torres at UFC 145.

    The then-21-year-old McDonald clobbered the former WEC champ with a three-punch combination that ended with a picturesque uppercut.

    Torres fell lifelessly to the canvas, only to absorb one more blow from McDonald before referee Herb Dean could intervene to stop the carnage just 3:18 into the fight. 

    Less than a year later, his stunning KO of Torres ultimately helped McDonald score a bantamweight title fight with Renan Barao.

Featherweight: Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes

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    If Chad Mendes would have just kept Jose Aldo's back for one more second at UFC 142, then the Team Alpha Male product may have escaped his featherweight title bout without a concussion.

    Instead, Mendes allowed Aldo to escape, turn and then deliver a thunderous knee to the jawline with time running out in the first round.

    Mendes spiked off the canvas and Aldo quickly pounced, finishing the fight with a pair of unnecessary punches that put the former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler into a deeper state of unconsciousness.

    Aldo officially ended the fight with one second left in the opening round.




Lightweight: Yves Edwards vs. Josh Thomson

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    Josh Thomson made every mixed martial artist on the planet aware of the risks of throwing a spinning back fist at UFC 49.

    At the end of a back-and-forth first round, Yves Edwards took Josh Thomson's back in the standing position in the middle of the Octagon.

    Thomson broke free from Edwards' grip and almost immediately attempted to throw a spinning back fist. Edwards, however, was already in the midst of unleashing a leaping high kick that Thomson didn't see coming.

    Edwards connected on Thomson's jawline and dazed the Californian enough to land a series of fight-ending ground strikes with 28 seconds left in the opening round of a memorable classic. 

Welterweight: Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton

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    In just the fourth fight in his illustrious UFC career, Matt Hughes KO'd Carlos Newton in astonishing fashion to capture the welterweight strap at UFC 34.

    Just seconds after getting slammed by Hughes, Newton slapped a triangle choke on the former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler.

    Hughes calmly lifted Newton to his corner and pressed his back to the cage. As Newton tightened the choke, Hughes took a step back and slammed the former champ to the canvas.

    The impact rendered Newton unconscious, and although the choke seemingly did the same to Hughes, the Miletich Fighting Systems product walked away with the belt in a controversial welterweight title fight.


Middleweight: Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping

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    Acutely aware of the dangers of Dan Henderson's right hand at UFC 100, Michael Bisping only slipped up for an instant, but it was a mistake that immediately left him snoring on the canvas.

    Henderson pumped his jab repeatedly before throwing a left inside leg kick directly followed with a left hook. "Hendo" then moved forward and threw another inside leg kick to set up his haymaker of an overhand right.

    Bisping momentarily dropped his left hand just as Henderson unleashed the H-bomb. Despite being unconscious on impact, Henderson landed one last death blow before referee Mario Yamasaki could intervene.


Light Heavyweight: Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture

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    While Randy Couture ending his career with a KO loss felt unsavory, it seemed only fitting that Karate master Lyoto Machida would land the kick that saved Daniel LaRusso in the 1984 hit The Karate Kid at UFC 129.

    Machida didn't catch Couture with his hands down. "The Dragon" did, however, confuse Couture with a feint of his left foot. 

    An instant after feinting a left front kick, Machida leaped into the air and split Couture's hands with a right crane kick. Machida's foot spiked off Couture's jaw, snapping his head back and knocking the Hall of Famer into an oblivion.

    Thankfully for Couture, referee Yves Lavigne recognized his dire state and wrestled Machida off his back before any further damage could be done in his retirement fight.


Heavyweight: Pete Williams vs. Mark Coleman

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    Few heavyweights wanted to square off with a determined Mark Coleman after "The Hammer" got upset by Maurice Smith to relinquish his belt at UFC 14.

    Coleman was initially slated to face Randy Couture in his next bout at UFC 17. But Couture suffered an injury during training, a mishap that gave Lion's Den product and UFC newcomer Pete Williams a crack at the former Olympic wrestler (freestyle).

    Williams and Coleman banged it out for the 12-minute regulation round. By the time the overtime period started, though, The Hammer had little left in the tank.

    Williams recognized Coleman's state of fatigue and poured it on early in the overtime round. Just 38 seconds in, Coleman dropped his hands and opened the door for a highlight-reel KO.

    Wearing a pair of wrestling shoes, Williams unloaded a high kick that landed square on Coleman's chin and put the Ohio native straight to sleep.

    Williams set a new standard that night in 1998, becoming the first fighter in UFC history to end a bout with a high kick.