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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
We're at the halfway point of an already crazy 2015 in MMA, so it's time to take a look at some of the best finishes, fights, and events thus far in the year. With the UFC's increased schedule this year, they've already put on nearly as many cards as they did each year through 2011. That gives us a lot to look through, not to mention outside organizations in Bellator and the WSOF. Over the next few days, I'll be handing out some awards for all of that, and we start today with the award for the "Knockout of the Year (So Far)."
2015 Knockout of the Year (So Far): Thiago Santos' head kick KO over Steve Bosse - UFC Fight Night 70 - 6/27/15
There have been a lot of great finishes thus far in 2015, and while this particular one may be seen by some as simply the default most recent memory, it's a stand out in not only technique but absolute viciousness. Santos set up the head kick last weekend with a hard kick to the body, and quickly recognized he'd have the head open. The next shot thrown knocked Bosse out cold with one of the sickest sounds you could hear accompanying a KO blow inside the Octagon. It's the type of highlight that sticks with you, and while there were some nice finishes throughout the year, some in more important fights, this one's out to an early lead, and it'll be hard to beat it over the next six months.
The Best of the Rest (In Chronological Order)
Paul Felder's spinning back fist over Danny Castillo - UFC 182
The undefeated Felder hasn't been able to get back in the cage yet this year to follow up on his fantastic appearance in January, but he delivered the spinning back fist in the midst of avoiding a flurry from Castillo for his tenth win in ten MMA fights. This was a great highlight to kick off the year.
Makwan Amirkhani's flying knee over Andy Ogle - UFC on Fox 14
If you make your UFC debut with an eight second flying knee KO win, you deserve consideration for one of the top finishes of the year. Amirkhani's been an excellent addition to the UFC's featherweight roster, and this particular finish was one hell of a way to make his presence in the UFC known.
Thiago Alves' come from behind win over Jordan Mein - UFC 183
Body strike finishes can be absolutely brutal, and for Alves to pull off the win as he did following a very bad first round, this was one of the great comebacks in the last few years. It wasn't the cleanest straight up knockout of the year, but it was an excellent finish that nevertheless warrants recognition.
Shawn Jordan's sweet chin music over Derrick Lewis - UFC Fight Night 68
To see a guy with Jordan's frame show off that type of flexibility was fantastic, but he delivered an awesome hook kick to drop Lewis and lead to the finish. It was a wonderfully entertaining highlight, and remains one of the more memorable finishes in a packed year.
Patricio "Pitbull" Freire knocks out Daniel Weichel - Bellator 138
Bellator's Featherweight Champion nearly lost his title in the first round, as he was saved by the bell from a vicious flurry late from Weichel. The challenger was continuing that up in the second when Pitbull dropped him with a perfect counter-punch. It was a quick and clean KO when he was nearing the end of his own rope, and one hell of a way to hold onto that title.
Hisaki Kato's superman punch over Joe Schilling - Bellator 139
One of the most visually pleasing finishes of the year, Kato's sick superman punch put an emphatic end to what had been a decently heavy push by Bellator. Though the rest of the fight wasn't all that great, this knockout blow was fantastic, and closed out the first half of Bellator's year in exciting fashion.
-Matt Dwyer's superman punch over William Macario (w/Flair flop) - UFC Fight Night 61
-Sam Alvey's comeback KO over Cezar Ferreira – UFC Fight Night 61
-Leon Edwards' eight-second KO over Seth Baczynski – UFC Fight Night 64
-Ovince St. Preux uppercut to ground finish over Pat Cummins – UFC on Fox 15
-Dan Hooker's come from behind head kick over Hatsu Hioki – UFC Fight Night 65
-Robert Whittaker stops Brad Tavares with multiple knock downs – UFC Fight Night 65
-Anthony Birchak's face-planting KO over Joe Soto – UFC Fight Night 68
-Dan Henderson's counter-KO over Tim Boetsch – UFC Fight Night 68
-Yoel Romero's elbows from hell over Lyoto Machida – UFC Fight Night 70
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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