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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
There were a ton of fights in 2013, which led to a very large amount of finishes to sift through for the annual year-end awards. The year was filled with fantastic knockouts and submissions, along with some excellent fights in general, some really fun fight cards, and some hugely successful fighters. We'll be breaking it all down over the next several days, and we start tonight with the 2013 "Knockout of the Year," which proved to be perhaps the easiest call of all.
2013 Knockout of the Year: Chris Weidman shocks Anderson Silva - UFC 162 - July 6
Was there any doubt as to who was getting the nod here? Chris Weidman knocked Anderson Silva out cold last July in one of the most shocking finishes the UFC has ever seen. After Silva got to his feet following an early takedown, he started taunting Weidman, clowning around as has been a signature for him in numerous fights. But as he continued that in the second round, Weidman kept moving forward. As he did so, Silva continued to leave his hands down, and he played around whenever Weidman connected. After doing a little shimmy and feigning being hurt, Silva failed to get out of the way of a vicious left that caught him on the button and flattened him. The UFC's longest reigning Champ had his reign come to an end in brutal fashion, and Weidman left jaws dropped around the world.
The Best of the Rest (In Chronological Order)
Anthony Pettis liver kick to Donald Cerrone - UFC on Fox 6 - 1/26/13
Though fighters getting knocked unconscious provides for exciting visuals and finishes, there might not be anything more brutal than fights stopped by leg kicks or body strikes. A prime example of the latter came in January, where future UFC Lightweight Champ Anthony Pettis secured his spot as a top contender with a nasty series of kicks to the liver on Donald Cerrone. The look on Cerrone's face told the story, and him crumpled up in pain and dropped to the canvas just showcased how Pettis can stop fights in a number of ways.
Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva's third round KO over Alistair Overeem - UFC 156 - 2/2/13
Schadenfreude at its finest, Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva made Alistair Overeem pay for weeks of disrespect along with two and a half rounds of uninspired action in the cage. Down two rounds on the scorecards into the third, Silva came forward strong and knocked Overeem out with a huge barrage of punches at the cage. It was a huge comeback, and a very satisfying win for Silva fans.
Emanuel Newton spinning back fist over King Mo Lawal - Bellator 90 - 2/21/13
Just weeks after that, another fighter's disrespect and pre-fight dismissal of an opponent led to backfire in the fight itself, as Lawal was destroyed by a spinning back fist from Emanuel Newton. The punch was thrown perfectly, and Newton caught Lawal in his arms as he went down. It was a crazy moment, and one of Bellator's most-highlighted stoppages ever.
Vitor Belfort spinning head kick over Luke Rockhold - UFC on FX 8 - May 18
After looking back at the finish itself, this may have been Belfort's best of three head kick finishes this year. The spinning kick to the face landed perfectly, and Belfort dispatched of the former Strikeforce Champ in fantastic fashion. It established him as the top contender in the division, and he'll get his title fight in 2014.
Travis Browne over Alistair Overeem - UFC Fight Night 26 - August 17
Overeem was on the wrong end of two of these highlights in 2013, as in addition to the "Bigfoot" Silva loss, he allowed Browne to come back from near defeat in an insane one-round swing. After surviving the early onslaught, Browne came firing back with a series of front kicks to the body. That was just the set up, though, as he elevated one of them further and cracked Overeem on the jaw, sending him to the ground and securing the stoppage.
Patricio "Pitbull" Freire flattens Diego Nunes - Bellator 99 - September 13
Bellator's ninth season featherweight tournament got off to a hot start, as Patricio "Pitbull" Freire gave UFC vet Diego Nunes a rude welcome. The finish came just 1:19 into the opening round, made even more shocking by the fact that Nunes had only ever lost by decision.
Renan Barao spinning head kick over Eddie Wineland - UFC 165 - Sept. 21
Interim UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao channeled Vitor Belfort with this spinning back kick, connecting to the jaw of Eddie Wineland with his heel and swarming him on the ground. It was over in a flash after the kick landed, and sent him into a 2014 showdown with returning Champ Dominick Cruz.
Vitor Belfort over Dan Henderson - UFC Fight Night 32 - Nov. 9
As if two head kick victories in a row wasn't enough, Belfort went back to the well in November. He had Henderson hurt on the ground and was landing a barrage of strikes, but he needed to open Henderson up some more to land. He backed off, and as Henderson got to his feet, Belfort threw the left kick, and it cracked Hendo in the face and sent him back to the canvas. It all happened in a furious flurry, but on replay the kick's effect was clearly the final straw for Henderson.
Shogun Rua over James Te Huna - UFC Fight Night 33 - Dec. 7
This makes my list for how perfectly it was timed. Te Huna ran in on Shogun with his right arm down, allowing the former UFC Champ to step in with one of the sickest left hook KOs you're going to see. It was perfectly timed, perfectly placed, and Te Huna went out quick.
Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson over Joseph Benavidez - UFC on Fox 9 - Dec. 14
The UFC Flyweight Champion had a massive 2013. After defeating John Dodson in a tough test in January, he submitted John Moraga before moving on to a rematch with Benavidez. Then, he did something entirely unexpected: knocked him out in the first round. He found an opening for a straight left, popped in with it and flattened Benavidez with the well-timed counter. It came out of nowhere, and Benavidez suffered the first stoppage loss of his career. It was a beautiful finish for Johnson, who looks to be stronger than ever into the new year.
* Vitor Belfort head kicks Michael Bisping (UFC on FX 8)
* Tyron Woodley one punch KO over Jay Hieron (UFC 156)
* Mark Hunt walk off KO over Stefan Struve (UFC on Fuel 8)
* Wanderlei Silva flurry over Brian Stann (UFC on Fuel 8)
* Jake Ellenberger flurry over Nate Marquardt (UFC 158)
* Yoel Romero flying knee over Clifford Starks (UFC on Fox 7)
* T.J. Grant beat down over Gray Maynard (UFC 160)
* Junior dos Santos spinning back kick over Mark Hunt (UFC 160)
* Myles Jury comeback over Ramsey Nijem (UFC on Fox 7)
* Robbie Lawler head kick over Bobby Voelker (UFC on Fox 8)
* Anthony Perosh 14 second finish over Vinny Magalhaes
* Matt Brown blitzes Mike Pyle (UFC Fight Night 26)
* Carlos Condit's fourth round finish over Martin Kampmann (UFC Fight Night 27)
* Chad Mendes stops Clay Guida (UFC 164)
* Glover Teixeira fires back over Ryan Bader (UFC Fight Night 28)
* Douglas Lima head kick over Ben Saunders (Bellator 100)
* Dong Hyun Kim destroys Erick Silva (UFC Fight Night 29)
* John Dodson's left hook over Darrell Montague (UFC 166)
* Lyoto Machida head kick over Mark Munoz (UFC Fight Night 30)
* Tim Kennedy late round 1 KO over Rafael Natal (UFC Fight For The Troops 3)
* Tyron Woodley takes out Josh Koscheck (UFC 167)
* Nate Diaz standing TKO over Gray Maynard (TUF 18 Finale)
* Travis Browne's elbows over Josh Barnett (UFC 168)
Correction: Mighty Mouse Johnson submitted John Moraga last July, not John Maguire as was initially indicated. The error has been corrected.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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