Best UFC Knockouts
Photo Credit: Esther Linn/MMAFighting.com

Best UFC Knockouts of 2016

This last year treated us to some fantastic knockouts. We had everything from blistering haymakers to spinning kicks, all rendering their targets unconscious. With the year under wraps, let’s take a look at the best UFC knockouts of 2016. Let’s also give our pick for “Knockout of the Year”!

Best UFC Knockouts of 2016 + Knockout of the Year

1. Lando Vannata vs John Makdessi

Our pick for Knockout of the Year goes to the one and only Lando “Groovy” Vannata. He pulled off a sensational spinning hook kick to knockout John Makdessi at UFC 206. It may have been a prelim bout, but it was re-aired during the PPV broadcast; this will surely give Vannata a boost to his popularity. Vannata got several fans’ attention when he took his UFC debut on short notice against top-ranked lightweight Tony Ferguson. Vannata rocked Ferguson in the first round and held his own against one of the best lightweights on the roster. In his very next fight, he does this:

Absolutely sensational! Notice the small side kick to the leg that helps Vannata line up the hook kick. What a perfect connection too – heel to jaw. To add to this sensational performance, Vannata does the walk-off because he knew Makdessi was done for. Definitely check out Groovy’s next fight, which will be at UFC 209!

2. Donald Cerrone vs Rick Story

UFC 202 was home to a lot of spectacular fights. At the head of the event we had Conor McGregor enacting revenge on Nate Diaz. However, welterweight Donald Cerrone pulled off another sensational performance – this one over top ranked Rick Story. After Cerrone failed to capture lightweight gold, he made a career move up to 170 lbs where he has yet to be defeated. This notch over Rick Story is perhaps his most impressive. Check out this amazing animation edit:

While the Super-Saiyan edit is cool, the combination Cerrone hits Story with is the real reason why it’s #2 on this list of best UFC knockouts of 2016. Cerrone slips the left hand and then fires off a jab, cross to the body, left uppercut, and a brutal headkick which Story leans into. Cerrone got the finish soon after. This is just a mesmerizing display of Cerrone’s striking ability, even against the hardest hitters of the 170 lb division.

3. Yoel Romero vs Chris Weidman

UFC 205 played host to a bunch of awesome finishes, but one of the best took place during the middleweight bout between Romero and Weidman. After losing his middleweight title to Luke Rockhold, Weidman took some time off to nurse injuries. In the mean time, Yoel Romero served his suspension time after failing due to a tainted supplement. The two collided in a bout that potentially crowned the next middleweight contender.

Romero and Weidman were both quite tentative for the better part of two rounds. Body kicks and some insignificant takedowns were exchanged, but it was anybody’s fight going into the third round. That is, until Romero launched himself into the air and slammed his knee into Weidman’s ducking head. The knee landed flush as Romero sprung into the air, but also landed on the way down. To make things worse, Weidman’s head collided with his own knee. Three knee strikes in the matter of a second. Devastating.

Yair Rodriguez vs Andre Fili

Young prodigy Yair “Pantera” Rodriguez picked up the most impressive win of his career at UFC 197. Rodriguez was 3-0 in the UFC at the time, but had all 3 wins via decision. He had shown flashy striking and grappling techniques in the past, but nothing that could quite finish the fight. That is, until he landed a beautiful jumping switch kick on Andre Fili. Rodriguez backed Fili up against the cage, and jumped in the air leading with one leg. This caused Fili to duck his head, but Rodriguez kicked out with the other leg, catching Fili clean. Rodriguez faces the legendary BJ Penn in his next fight, so definitely tune in to see this phenomenal fighter do his thing!

Dan Henderson vs Hector Lombard

And they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! At 45 years of age, Dan Henderson showed everyone that he still could put away the best of the best. Lombard is renowned as one of the scariest, most vicious fighters to grace the mats, and he showed that early against Henderson at UFC 199. Lombard had Henderson hurt and in all sorts of trouble, but Henderson stayed in it. Then, in the second round, Henderson landed a big kick to Lombard’s head who then tried to take him down. Henderson planted a back-elbow to the temple of Lombard which dropped him to the mat. Henderson followed it up with another devastating elbow that rivals the brutality of his UFC 100 KO against Michael Bisping.  Savage stuff.

What were your best UFC knockouts of 2016? We want to hear from you! Put your picks in the comments below!

About Casey Hodgin

Casey is a passionate MMA writer and journalism student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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