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Conor McGregor, Holly Holm and Joaquin Buckley: Top 10 knockouts in UFC history

The knockout is the purest - and most violent - way to finish a fight. Here are ten of the best in UFC history.

Over the years, there have been a number of incredible knockouts in the UFC. 

Here, we take a look at the top 10 greatest KO's in the organisation's long history.

10 - Molly McCann defeats Luana Carolina (UFC Fight Night - 2022)

The UFC returned to British soil for the first time since the pandemic began and the crowd were treated to one of the best cards of the year.

Headliner Tom Aspinall secured a quick finish to announce himself to the upper echelon of the heavyweight rankings and brash lightweight Paddy Pimblett secured a submission win to send the crowd into hysterics.

But the nights defining performance came from women's flyweight contender Molly McCann as she sent the crowd into a frenzy with her sickening spinning back elbow finish of Luana Carolina.

McCann was comprehensively winning the fight before catching a kick from Carolina and executing a perfect spinning back elbow that knockout her opponent out cold.

9 - Holly Holm defeats Ronda Rousey (UFC 193 - 2015)

The headkick that shocked the world.

Holly Holm's knockout of Ronda Rousey sent shockwaves across the globe and ushered in a new era at women's bantamweight.

Holm entered the fight as an underdog and was given little chance of success against the unbeaten and all conquering champion Rousey.

But early on, Holm managed to utilize her boxing skills and frustrate Rousey who had made the decision to strike with the previously unbeaten former professional boxer.
After beating her up in the opening round, Holm staggered Rousey with a straight left jab before connecting with a devastating left high kick to finish the fight and dethrone the champion.

8 - Conor McGregor defeats Jose Aldo (UFC 194 - 2015)

The shot heard round the world.

Conor McGregor's knockout of Jose Aldo stunned everyone who watched it. From the simplicity of his movement to the crushing implications of the knockout, the entire sequence was poetry in motion.

During the build up to the fight, McGregor was approaching unparalleled levels of superstardom. The Irishman attracted eyes from across the globe as he taunted Aldo and made promises of becoming the new featherweight king.

Record numbers tuned in to see the brash Irishman fulfil his destiny or get his comeuppance. What they saw was the birth of a superstar.

One beautifully timed counter left hand saw McGregor write his name in the history books, and end the dominant reign of Aldo's time as champion, all in just 13 seconds.

7 - Gabriel Gonzaga defeats Mirko Cro Cop (UFC 70 - 2007)

Fresh from signing from Pride Fighting Championships, Mirko Cro Cop was one of the most feared strikers to enter the UFC. A title shot seemed to be a formality as he just needed to get past fearsome grappler Gabriel Gonzaga.

"Napao" entered the fight with a 7-1 record and an ADCC silver medal to his name. The plan appeared simple for Cro Cop, stay out of the grappling and KO his unknown opponent.

Gonzaga executed his gameplan perfectly, catching a kick and taking down Cro Cop and battering him from top position, however when Herb Dean stood the fighters up no one could have predicted what would happen next.
A picture perfect right high kick from Gonzaga immediately knocked Cro Cop unconscious, sending him crashing to the canvas and securing "Napao" a title shot against champion Randy Couture.

6 - Dan Henderson defeats Michael Bisping (UFC 100 - 2009)

When Dan Henderson detonated the now patented "H-Bomb" on Michael Bisping's jaw, it sent the Brit crashing to the canvas and inspired an image that would become associated with Henderson to this day.

After a season coaching opposite each other on The Ultimate Fighter and with plenty of back and forth verbal sparring, the two squared off on the PPV of UFC 100 ready to settle the score once and for all.
The opening round saw Bisping continue to circle to his left and fire single shots whilst Henderson stalked him looking to land his big right hand, a telling sign of things to come.
At 3:20 of the second round, Bisping circled, and Henderson fired his right hand, the two collided and Bisping went down.
To add insult to injury, Henderson flew through the air to land one final right hand to Bisping's jaw, leading to the iconic image of the "H-Bomb".

5 - Valentina Shevchenko defeats Jessica Eye (UFC 238 - 2019)

Valentina Shevchenko looked to extend her dominant title reign as she took on Jessica Eye in the co-main event of UFC 238.

After a successful run at bantamweight where her only losses came to champion Amanda Nunes, Shevchenko moved down to her more natural weight class and secured wins over Priscila Cachoeira and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

What she needed though was a statement performance, something to distance herself from Nunes who was still reigning as queen up at bantamweight.

She secured that performance against Jessica Eye. After a dominant opening round, she landed a clean left high kick to Eye's head which immediately shut her lights out, securing a walk off KO and a place in UFC highlight reels for years.

4 - Leon Edwards defeats Kamaru Usman (UFC 278 - 2022)

A rematch seven years in the making, a comeback for the ages, a fight for all the marbles. Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman II had it all.

Their first encounter in 2015 saw Usman come away with a unanimous decision victory. The university of Nebraska native used his dominant wrestling to get the nod from the judges.

Seven years later the two squared off once more to determine the best welterweight in the world.

In the opening round Edwards became the first man in the UFC to take Usman down. However, that was quickly drowned out by three rounds of dominance from the champion, leading into the final minute of the final round where the challenger knew a finish was needed to win the fight.

Just as the commentary team questioned the heart and commitment of Leon Edwards, he unleashed a sensational head kick which flattened the champion, sending the belt to the UK and the crowd into a frenzy.

3 - Edson Barboza defeats Terry Etim (UFC 142 - 2012)

A devastating striker with some of the most dangerous kicks ever seen inside the octagon, Edson Barboza is still one of the most feared men in the UFC.
Much of that reputation has come from his deadly kicks, a fact that Terry Etim knows firsthand and all too well.

At UFC 142, the pair squared off in a match between two lightweight prospects. Barboza was undefeated since entering the UFC whilst Etim was 4-1 in his previous five fights, the only loss being to future champion Rafael dos Anjos.

A competitive opening two rounds saw Barboza enter the third with an advantage but by no means out of danger. If he wanted to secure his victory on home soil he would need a finish.

And finish is what he did, landing the first ever wheel kick knockout in UFC history, perfect timing and placement saw Etim stiffen up instantly with no need for follow up shots.

2 - Jorge Masvidal defeats Ben Askren (UFC 239 - 2019)

Entering a fight with an undefeated wrestler who was looking to steamroll his way through the welterweight division, Jorge Masvidal knew he would need to do something impressive to get past Ben Askren.

Prior to the fight, Askren was relentless with his trash talk, insulting Masvidal's intelligence and culture.

Masvidal was visibly fired up at the media day face off.

That fire and aggression built up within Masvidal and he unleashed it in the most devastating way possible.

In the opening seconds of their fight, Masvidal sprinted across the octagon and launched into a flying knee that connected perfectly on Askren's chin.

Two "Super necessary" follow up shots saw an end to the contest and sent Masvidal's popularity into the stratosphere.

1 - Joaquin Buckley defeats Impa Kasanganay (UFC Fight Night - 2020)

The greatest knockout in UFC history took place in an almost empty arena, during a time when fans could not come and watch due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even with no fans to cheer them on, Joaquin Buckley and Impa Kasanganay threw down for our entertainment, and the ending is one that will go down in history.

In the second round of their middleweight contest, Kasanganay caught Buckley's left ankle as he threw a kick. In a moment of improvised brilliance Buckley leveraged his entire body to spin and land a back kick with his right leg sending Kasanganay to the canvas unconscious.

It looked like something out of a film that you would never believe could happen in a real fight, something plucked from the back catalogue of Steven Segal films that no one would ever try.
Buckley tried it, and came away victorious, securing his place in UFC history with one spin and sending him home with a well deserved bonus cheque for $50,000.

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