Oh, hello. I didn't hear you come in. I was just reviewing all the wild MMA knockouts that happened in July. It's something I'm doing for this new B/R series here, wherein we rank the five best KOs and TKOs from each month.
You've come on a pretty good month, with not one but two knockouts setting UFC records.
Although the UFC is definitely in the mix, we're looking well beyond those familiar borders; all MMA promotions are welcome. That said, higher-stakes bouts naturally merit extra consideration. Video footage is included as available.
Did you catch a knockout that grabbed your fancy? Tip me off on Twitter. If I use your suggestion, I'll shout you out in this very space. Here we go.
5. Flying Knees = So Hot Right Now
Knee strikes are among the tastiest of KO methodologies, and in July the cup—the knee-strike cup—ranneth over.
For example, Jonathan Martinez (11-2) took home $50,000 for flattening Pingyuan Liu (13-6) at UFC Fight Night 155 on July 13—no mean feat given that there were five knockouts on the evening. And who can forget a certain record-breaking knee earlier in the month that set the entire sport on fire? We'll get to that one momentarily.
On Tuesday alone, Week 6 of Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series yielded a pair of these gems, with featherweight Aalon Cruz (6-2) taking the cake on this list with a surgical strike to the unsuspecting dome of Steven Nguyen (3-1) in the closing seconds of the contest.
It was impressive enough that UFC President Dana White essentially signed Cruz on the spot (see the end of the video):
4. Doomsday Is Upon Us (Again)
For years John "Doomsday" Howard (28-15-1) was a reliable brawler for the UFC and the now-defunct World Series of Fighting. Now he's a welterweight staple in the Professional Fighters League.
But it's been fairly inauspicious lately for the Boston native. Heading into his bout with Ray Cooper III (18-7) at PFL 4 2019 on July 11, Howard was 2-2-1 over the past two years. But the old Doomsday resurfaced against Cooper. A big left hook served as both the beginning and the end of the end, with plenty of swarming bombs between. Good to see Howard still swinging.
There's a little technological bonus in this video. Note that PFL measures hand speed during contests. The left hook that began the finishing sequence clocked in at a brisk 26.5 miles per hour.
3. The Record-Setting Return of GDR
Give credit where it's due. Germaine de Randamie (9-3) took a lot of guff (not entirely undeserved) for ducking Cris "Cyborg" Justino (21-2 ) immediately after winning the inaugural UFC women's featherweight champion. Also, for being kind of a dirty fighter. So it's reasonable that she received praise for ending Aspen Ladd (8-1) in 16 brisk seconds in the main event of UFC Fight Night 155.
A relatively humble but perfectly placed right hook, set up with GDR's nifty jab, brought about the sudden end. The fight was an unofficial attempt to bring some shine to a promising youngster in Ladd. De Randamie didn't get the script. But she did rewrite a part of the UFC history books, tying Ronda Rousey for the fastest knockout in a women's bout.
The bout wasn't without controversy—Ladd bitterly protested what she thought was an early stoppage—but the book is written, and De Randamie is again a UFC fighter in relatively good standing.
2. Julia Budd Freezes Olga Rubin
The reigning, defending and, to date, only Bellator women's featherweight champion added yet another stunner to her highlight reel in July. And that's more literal here than usual, as Julia Budd (13-2) momentarily incapacitated Olga Rubin (6-1) with a front kick to the body in the main event of Bellator 224 on July 12.
Kyle Johnson @VonPreux
Julia Budd (13-2) notches her third featherweight title defense, crippling Olga Rubin with a Kikuno kick and follow-up punches in round one! Now 7-0 in Bellator, the Canadian "Jewel" has won 11 straight bouts. She has stopped three of four title fights by knockout. #Bellator224 https://t.co/8J2w7ZMM7S
That was all the opening Budd needed to swarm and close the show with punches and knees. It was the sixth knockout of Budd's MMA career.
1. Masvidal Steamrolls Askren into History Books
Forget July. This is your clubhouse leader for Knockout of the Year, at least in this clubhouse. It might just be an all-timer.
What else could top the list? It's the easiest one to describe. Theretofore undefeated Ben Askren (now 19-1 ) took the center of the cage, Jorge Masvidal (34-13) paused a beat and then sprinted toward the Olympic wrestler, launching a picture-perfect flying knee that knocked Askren cold.
Masvidal set a new UFC record for the fastest knockout at five seconds.
It was an emphatic emotional release for Masvidal, who had spent weeks in an increasingly personal war of words with the self-described heel. Hey, at least Askren was a good sport about the whole thing.
Masvidal is on a roll following his second straight knockout win. The increased mic time afforded by higher-profile success is working in his favor, and his star is on the rise. If you need any proof, just look at the recent online buzz between Masvidal and one Conor McGregor.