We could’ve voted on it, of course, and discussed a list of some of the great knockouts of 2013. But instead we all had different opinions and what better way to discuss the year that was in 2013 for combat sports is to discuss our favorites of the year roundtable style.
And now … the best of 2013:
Sohn: Vitor Belfort’s spinning heel kick on Luke Rockhold
Weidman vs. Silva has to go at the top of this list right? Because of what it meant for the sport of MMA, for Anderson Silva’s illustrious career, for the middleweight division and P4P rankings, it has to be #1. But look at it this way, Weidman is by no means a subpar fighter. He’s elite. If anyone dances around with him and doesn’t take him seriously enough, including the best to ever do it, Weidman is going to take advantage. That’s exactly what happened. Had Silva been defensive and wary, doing his best to dodge and avoid Weidman’s strikes, and Weidman still tagged him and put him down, it would be a different story. But the way it went down, his KO by itself wasn’t that impressive. Imagine Silva fighting like that against Dan Henderson or Vitor Belfort now. There are a ton of guys who could have finished him.
That’s why Vitor Belfort’s head kick KO of Luke Rockhold is the KO of the year. Rockhold is a capable fighter and at that time was very aware of what Belfort could do with his headkicks. He was on his guard and fully engaged in the fight, taking Belfort 100% seriously. And there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. Belfort threw that beauty of a spinning heel kick that just couldn’t have landed any better. He finished the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, a guy that many thought would be challenging Anderson Silva at some point in the future. It was a KO that made you jump out of your seat in disbelief.
Keyes: Chris Weidman (UFC 162)
I decided to steer clear of those knockouts that when viewed on a highlight reel in isolation would seem the obvious choice such as Junior dos Santos’ spinning heel finish of Mark Hunt or any of the number of head kick knockouts that Vitor Belfort delivered in 2013, and I have gone for Chris Weidman’s knockout of Anderson Silva at UFC 162. This was the punch that brought about the end of an era. This was the punch that shattered the illusion, aura and majesty of Anderson Silva’s unique striking defense. This was the punch that changed how a legacy was viewed. This was the punch of 2013.
Sawitz: Emanuel Newton starches King Mo at Bellator 90 with a spinning back fist.
It was in the running for my upset of the year, as well, until Glory 11 but Emanuel Newton was supposed to be just another guy that Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal runs through before getting a shot at the Bellator light heavyweight title. And then one spinning back fist later and King Mo fell down on his crown. This fight changed the complexion of how we view Mo and Bellator for a while as Mo, who looked like a Top 10 caliber fighter in his Strikeforce run, was looked to be a new face of Bellator. Now, and a second loss to Newton later, and Lawal is just an afterthought in the division and in Bellator proper.
CY: Anderson Silva gets starched by Chris Weidman at UFC 162
It may not have been the most spectacular finish of the year but for the shock and unbridled jaw-gaping it induced, it has to be Chris Weidman’s knockout of Anderson Silva. The man dubbed by many as the greatest fighter in the sport had looked almost untouchable going in against the young challenger and perhaps he had started to believe that he was.
Tags: Mixed Martial Arts