Welcome to MMATorch’s Daily Top Five. Every weekday, tune in for a new Top Five list on a variety of topics; some will be regularly updated, some will be one offs, but we hope you enjoy them all throughout the week! If you’ve got an idea for a Top Five list you’d like to see, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we may fit them into the weekly mix!
7/6/16: Five Best Knockouts of 2016 (Thus Far)
We’re at the midway point of the 2016 schedule, so today we’re looking at the standout KOs from the first half of the year!
5. Cody Garbrandt’s first round KO over Thomas Almeida (UFC Fight Night 88): Cody Garbrandt had been impressive, if at times underwhelming, into his first ever main event in May, but he turned any negative impressions around with one hell of a performance against fellow unbeaten Thomas Almeida. With a technically sound drubbing, one which ended with a fantastically precise series of strikes midway through the first round, Garbrandt announced himself as the real prospect at 135 lbs.
4. Michael Bisping stops Luke Rockhold (UFC 199): Michael Bisping stunned Luke Rockhold, every fan in California, and perhaps even himself when he landed the left hook that turned this fight around. Rockhold had gotten a bit cocky and overconfident, leaving his hands down while out-striking Bisping, and that left him open to getting countered. That’s exactly what happened, and then Bisping followed him down to the cage where he dropped him with a second left hook, and he’s now the UFC Heavyweight Champion.
3. Stipe Miocic’s one-punch KO over Fabricio Werdum (UFC 198): Before Bisping scored his crazy upset, Stipe Miocic got the party started on title changes when he silenced a crowd of 45,000 strong in Curitiba. With Werdum rushing him around the cage, Miocic tossed out a short strike that let Werdum’s momentum do all the work. Werdum dropped in a heap, Miocic grabbed the UFC Heavyweight Title, then brought it back home to Cleveland. Unforgettable.
2. Yair Rodriguez’s flying head kick KO over Andre Fili (UFC 197): “TUF: Latin America” winner Yair Rodriguez earned his first UFC main event slot almost exclusively off this insane highlight reel finish. He’d put on some impressive performances since debuting in 2014, and this fight with Fili was a step up in competition. He stepped up throughout the bout, beating Fili to the punch through much of the first round before scoring a fantastic knockout in the second. Running towards Fili, Rodriguez left the canvas before tossing out the kick, which dropped Fili up against the cage and gave Rodriguez his first stoppage win in the UFC.
1. Dan Henderson’s back elbow KO over Hector Lombard (UFC 199): I’ll give the man his due; Dan Henderson certainly doesn’t deserve a title shot off of this KO from last month, but knocking someone out in close with a quick back elbow to the temple gets you on a list like this. It was a massive turnaround for Henderson in that second round, and his brutal follow up on the ground made this a finish no one’s going to forget.
[Photo (c) Derek E. Hingle via USA Today Sports]
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