Robbie Lawler's Top 5 Career Knockouts
He's refined himself vastly over the years, but there's no denying that Robbie Lawler has always possessed a top-flight killer instinct.
Once considered a one-trick pony, the UFC's second-ranked welterweight has improved every facet of his game since beginning his second stint with the UFC—including his incredible knockout dexterity.
Lawler joined American Top Team before his return to the UFC in early 2013, a choice that's helped him morph from a rough-around-the-edges brawler to a downright surgically precise knockout artist.
While "Ruthless" is finally beginning to reach his potential as a mixed martial artist, the 32-year-old Pat Miletich disciple has always packed extraordinary KO power. Of his 23 career wins, 19 have come via KO.
Here are the five best knockouts of Lawler's career.
Honorable Mentions: Lawler's Flying Knees
Joey Villasenor: In an amazing display of explosiveness, Lawler leaped in the air and landed a flying knee that abruptly sent a previously upright Villasenor onto his back at Pride 32.
A stunned Villasenor took a few follow-up punches from Lawler before the referee stepped in to save the day just 22 seconds into the first round.
Adlan Amagov: Shortly after getting hit with an illegal knee, Lawler issued some payback to Amagov in the form of a legal flying knee to his head at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine.
Lawler grazed the top of Amagov's head with his flying knee, flattening the blossoming Russian. Lawler dropped three left hands and a right on a defenseless Amagov for good measure to prompt referee Steve Mazzagatti to stop the bout.
5. Lawler vs. Matt Lindland
In his fourth fight with Strikeforce, Lawler made quick work of former Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler Matt Lindland to momentarily regain his footing during a rough stretch in his late 20s.
The left-handed Lawler, who had dropped two of his first three bouts in Strikeforce, dropped Lindland with a masterfully timed three-punch combination that ended with a brutal right hook.
An essentially unconscious Lindland hit the canvas belly first before absorbing a thunderous right hammerfist from Lawler for good measure.
4. Lawler vs. Tiki Ghosn
At the age of 20, Lawler showed off his lethal right hook for the first time on Tiki Ghosn's jaw in his third fight with the company at UFC 40.
Lawler slipped a straight right and then landed a flush counter right hook that dropped Ghosn. Ghosn seemingly hit the mat conscious only to absorb a right haymaker from Lawler that instantly put him to sleep.
Referee Nelson Hamilton got to a possessed Lawler just in time to save Ghosn from any further damage, but he nearly broke his neck in the process.
3. Lawler vs. Bobby Voelker
Five months after upsetting Josh Koscheck in his return to the UFC, Lawler kept his momentum going by scoring the first head-kick KO of his career in a thrilling win over Bobby Voelker at UFC on Fox 8.
Voelker took a beating in the opening round and emerged from his corner in the second round battered and bloody.
Lawler wasted little time putting the Kansas City, Missouri, native away, landing a left high kick square on Voelker's temple that rendered the fellow Strikeforce vet unconscious just 24 seconds into the second round.
Referee Dan Miragliotta thankfully recognized Voelker's dire state and stepped in to spare him from Lawler's signature finishing hammerfists.
2. Lawler vs. Frank Trigg
An exhausted Frank Trigg foolishly dropped his hands and stopped moving his feet once backed into a corner in the fourth round of his battle against Lawler at Icon Sport: Epic in 2007.
Lawler responded by unleashing eight unanswered looping haymakers to Trigg's grill, an epic flurry that both folded the two-time UFC title challenger and ignited a crowd of rabid Hawaiians.
In defeat, Trigg suffered just the second KO setback of his career. The win marked the third of four straight KOs for Lawler between October 2006 and September 2007.
1. Lawler vs. Melvin Manhoef
In a win that truly epitomized his career, Lawler stormed back from the brink of agonizing defeat to KO Dutch kickboxing star Melvin Manhoef in his second fight with Strikeforce in 2010.
Manhoef virtually schooled Lawler in the standup department until the last three seconds of the fight, when a momentary lapse cost him his consciousness.
Manhoef peppered Ruthless with leg kicks and landed 24 strikes to Lawler's none before being surprised and dropped with a vicious three-punch combination at the 3:33 mark of the first round.
An instant after landing his eighth leg kick of the bout, Manhoef dropped his hands and invited Lawler to unleash a beautiful overhand right.
Lawler floored and dazed Manhoef with that punch, but polished him off with a left hook and follow-up right hammerfist.
Lawler garnered Knockout of the Year honors in 2010 from Sherdog for becoming the first fighter since 2004 to KO Manhoef.