ByJared Jones, writer at
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Jared Jones

The Champions "Best of 2016" Awards continue as we look at the most scintillating knockout of 2016.

Us MMA fans may appreciate a well-timed submission more than most, but the truth is that, in the world of combat sport, there are few moments more captivating than the knockout. As the great George Foreman once said after being dealt a taste of his own medicine by Muhammad Ali, "Ouch, that really hurt."

There were a lot of fantastic knockouts in 2016. Arguably more than in 2015 (arguably). This was a year, after all, that saw score yet another come-from-behind win via a head kick-elbow obliteration of Hector Lombard, Stipe Miocic solidify his reign as heavyweight champion with a vicious ground-n-pounding of Alistair Overeem, and Lando Vannata knockout veteran John Makdessi with a Spinning Heel Kick of Doom (trademark pending).

So without further ado, let's look at our official list of nominees for KO of the Year (MMA).

The Nominees:

  • Michael Bisping KO Luke Rockhold (Punch)
  • Michael Page KO Cyborg Santos (Flying Knee)
  • Wonderboy KO Hendricks (Spinning back kick & Punches)
  • Rodriguez KO Fili (Head Kick)
  • Lahat KO Rivas (Flying Knee)
  • Miocic KO Werdum (Punch)
  • Henderson KO Lombard (Head Kick & Elbows)
  • Vannata KO Makdessi (Wheel Kick)
  • Romero KO Weidman (Flying Knee)
  • Woodley KO Lawler (Punches)
  • Cerrone KO Brown (Head Kick)
  • VanZant KO Rawlings (Switch Kick & Punches)
  • McGregor KO Alvarez (Punches)

Not a bad list at all, unless you happen to be one of the men or women who wound up on the receiving end of these fantastic knockouts. In which case, hey, how's that liquid diet treating you?

Winner: Michael Page's Flying Knee KO of Cyborg Santos at Bellator 158

When determining what makes a knockout truly stand out from the rest, there are always several things to consider: Was the victim of said KO truly knocked out? How brutal did the KO look and/or sound? And most importantly, did the victor's celebration involve an elaborate Pokemon Go routine?

So, while we had to dock a couple points for not actually knocking Cyborg Santos in their battle at Bellator 158, he scored so high with all of the remaining criteria, that we simply couldn't deny him the win here. In case you somehow forgot, "Venom" made headlines back in July by adding yet another fantastic knockout to his already deep highlight reel, stopping the Brazilian legend with a perfectly-time flying knee so devastating that it literally fractured his skull in about a dozen places.

As for the visual/audible factor? Just give it another look-see....

That is the sound of a man's skull shattering, people.

The good news? Following a 7 hour surgery to repair the damage, Santos has already set the timeline for his return to the cage and even donated the money his ex-wife raised for his surgery (which had already been paid for by Bellator) to a local children's institution.

It's like the saying goes, "Every cloud has a silver lining and maybe a little bit of CTE."

Runner-up: Yair Rodriguez's Jumping Switch Kick KO of Andre Fili at UFC 197

If there's one thing that featherweight prospect has become known for, it's his kooky, crazy kicks. The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America winner has shown nothing if not a willingness to sacrifice momentum, position, and pretty much anything else in an attempt to score a highlight reel KO, which may not be the best idea from a strategic point of view, but also results in the absolute like he scored over Andre "Touchy" Fili at UFC 197.

There are really no words that can do the KO justice, so we suggest you just sit back and enjoy this one (and if you're BJ Penn, maybe reconsider the whole "coming out of retirement again" thing).

Where do our picks rank on your own year-end lists?


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