It’s been a memorable year so far for MMA, with some amazing performances and big names in the fighting ring. Fans have had some particularly fantastic entertainment in 2020 with some incredible, and sometimes shocking, knock outs to watch.
Here are the top five knock outs of the year.
Raphael Assuncao vs Cody Garbrandt
Definitely one of the top knockouts of the year has to go to Cody Garbrandt. The former UFC Men’s Bantamweight Champion returned to the winner’s circle on a Saturday night in June as part of the co-main event of UFC 250 in Las Vegas against Raphael Assuncao. It was an important win for Garbrandt, who had lost three straight fights; he came back with a bang, destroying Raphael Assuncao with a hooker-cut milliseconds before the horn to end the second round.
It will be amazing to see what he achieves in the future; OLBG’s list of New Jersey sportsbooks will be offering short odds on him to be successful next time out. For Assuncao though, it’s bad news: he’s on a three-fight losing street, and this loss was definitely one of the most devastating he’s had in his career.
Jan Blachowicz vs Corey Anderson
It was just the second time they faced each other, but it’s one for the history books. Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz were in a heavyweight clash at UFC Fight Night 167 at the Santa Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. After kicks, jabs and more, the fight ended with Anderson stepping forward and throwing a low kick much to close, giving Blachowicz the opportunity to blast him with a right hand for a knockout.
At 3:08 of Round One the match had ended, making it the second-best MMA Knockout of 2020. Speaking on the future, Blachowicz said: “2020 is a crazy year for everybody. But we have opportunities to fight and I cannot wait.”
Francis N’Gannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
A 20 second knock out is one to be remembered. And that’s what happened in Jacksonville Florida at UFC 249, when Jairzinho Rozenstruik was took out by Francis N’gannou, launching N’gannou to a 15-3 record and dropping Rozenstruick to 10-1. Having recovered from the knockout post fight, 32-year-old Rozenstruik went to social media and thanked N’Gannou for the fight, writing “I’m okay! Big up Francis Ngannou for taking the fight. Respect.”
It just goes to show you, that despite rivalry and a heavy blow to the head, at the end of the day these athletes truly respect the sport and their competitors. It was certainly an exciting event for the fans.
Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone
A Conor McGregor fight always comes with a huge amount of anticipation and fanfare. And at the main event of UFC 246 at T-Mobile Arena, things were no different. Matched against UFC’s all-time leader in performance bonuses, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, it had been 1,160 days since McGregor had last one a fight, which added to the tension – and excitement – in the room during the build-up. In front of 19,040 fans in the sold-out arena, including celebrities of the likes of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Tyson Fury, Matthew McConaughey and Dave Bautista, there was expectations of a drag-out brawl between the two fighters. But it was going to have a surprising end for the fans to experience.
It began with a miss from his left hand, which spurred McGregor on to plow his shoulder into Cerrone’s face. Separating, McGregor made a shock move with a head kick to Cerrone, then made a full out attack on his wounded opponent until referee Herb Dean pulled him away from Cerrone at the :40 mark. It certainly was something of a legendary fight, and has sustained McGregor’s status as one of the most entertaining and exciting fighters out there.
And while McGregor made a shock announcement in June that he’s quit UFC as a result of lack of ‘excitement’ because of delays in the next match, things could change, with talks of him wanting to yet again fight Khabib Nurmagomedov. Time will tell what the future holds for one of MMA’s most provocative stars.
Sean O’Malley vs. Eddie Wineland
Sean O’Malley faced MMA veteran Eddie Wineland at UFC 250 in August. The fight started with O’Malley throwing kicks and jabs and fighting long with Wineland trying to close the distance. O’Malley ramped up the aggression after Wineland clipped him with a solid right. The fight ended with O’Malley starching Wineland with a straight right, knocking him out cold.
One of the biggest knock outs of the year, the 25-year-old has kept up his stardom with his quirky social media presence and outspoken personality that has fans flocking. It will be interesting to see how his career builds over the next few years.