For most fans, knockouts are the lifeblood of the sport. It's what keeps them watching, if a fighter makes even the slightest mistake, their night could end at the blink of an eye. Over the past year in the UFC, there was 174 knockouts, making this list nearly impossible to get down to just five performances...but Fightful MMA has you covered.
Without further ado...lets see some knockouts.
Number 5: Derrick Lewis def. Curtis Blaydes via KO — UFC Vegas 25
Derrick Lewis already had his shot at UFC gold...but he came up short, so surging contender Curtis Blaydes, who came into this bout as a massive betting-favorite was set to lay claim to being the number one contender for the Heavyweight Championship of The World if he could just dispatch of 'The Black Beast'...but the Houston-native had other plans. The wrestling-specialist Blaydes shot in for a double-leg and he immediately regretted it...see for yourself.
Number 4: Rose Namajunas def. Weili Zhang (C) via KO — UFC 261
Weili Zhang was on top-of-the-world, the first Chinese-born champion in UFC history quickly took care of business against the woman who took the women's 115-pound title from Rose Namajunas, in Jessica Andrade and Zhang was ready to solidify herself as the true Queen of the strawweights by defeating the former champion...until a head-kick sent her directly to the canvas...watch 'Thug Rose' become a two-time champion below.
Number 3: Kamaru Usman (C) def. Jorge Masvidal via KO — UFC 261
Kamaru Usman thought he took care of the loud, boisterous Masvidal after he took a clean sweep from the judges' scorecards over Masvidal at UFC 251...however the Florida-native Masivdal talked his way into a rematch with 'The Nigerian Nightmare'...and things didn't quite go to plan for Mr. Masvidal in his home-state when the pair rekindled their feud at UFC 261. Watch for yourself as to why we're sure to never have any doubt on who the better of these two men are.
Number 2: Cory Sandhagen def. Frankie Edgar via KO — UFC Vegas 18
A highlight knockout that would surely top most years' Knockout of The Year lists...but it comes just short in 2021. Cory Sandhagen was angry, hungry and ready to climb back up the mountain at 135-pounds following being submitted by now-champion Aljamain Sterling just months prior...and in the way was former two-weight champion Frankie Edgar...and NOTHING was stopping 'The Sandman' from getting back to where he believes he rightfully belongs...not even 'The Answer' had an answer for what was about come flying in his direction.
Number 1: Jiri Prochazka def. Dominick Reyes via KO — UFC Vegas 25
The top of our list, is non-other than the spinning-back elbow from hell. Dominick Reyes was fresh-off his narrow decision loss to Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and Jiri Prochazka was coming off of a highlight knockout in his promotional debut of former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir. Reyes was expected by many to get himself back on track en-route to another crack at the longtime 205-pound king however, the Czech-born Prochazka had other plans and the second the bell rang, you could see a potential Prochazka finish coming...but nobody was ready for what was about to happen. Prochazka tuned up the California-native from bell-to-bell and seemingly out of nowhere, another Jiri Prochazka highlight reel finish happened at the blink of an eye when he hit a lightning quick spinning back elbow that sent Reyes face-first to the mat and the birth of a new title contender was created.
Be sure to stay tuned with Fightful MMA's week-long 2021 year-of awards, where tomorrow we'll bring you our Submission of The Year award!
Click HERE to see what you missed, yesterday with our Fight of The Year award!