The highly unofficial half-year awards season continues with the best knockouts of the first half of 2023 and how we saw them on fight night…
5 – Ismael Bonfim Knocks Out Terrance McKinney
UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill
You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better debut finish all year, as Ismael Bonfim collected a second-round walk-off finish on Saturday, planting a flying switch knee on the side of the jaw of Terrance McKinney that sent him crashing face-first into the canvas.
The lightweights ran fairly even through the first five minutes, with Bonfim landing the better shots, but McKinney wearing them well. The Brazilian newcomer seemed to be the more composed and confident of the two, and in the second, he took the fight to McKinney. With him pinned along the fence and having just dislodged his mouthpiece with a clean counter shot, Bonfim backed off, elevated, and connected cleanly, ending the fight in a flash.
This is a tremendous debut performance for the older of the Bonfim brothers, who immediately becomes a person of interest in the 155-pound weight class by dispatching McKinney in thrilling fashion.
4 – Manuel Torres Knocks Out Nikolas Motta
UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Cannonier
Manuel Torres took a big shot from Nikolas Motta early in their fight, and moments later, “El Loco” closed the distance and smashed home a left elbow to the face that put Motta on the canvas, out cold.
This was a hellacious finish in a fight that hadn't started well for the Mexican lightweight and Dana White’s Contender Series graduate. That’s now consecutive first-round stoppage wins for Torres since joining the UFC roster, and five straight first-round finishes overall.
Keep an eye on this man.
3 – Jim Miller Knocks Out Jesse Butler
UFC Fight Night: Kara-France vs Albazi
Jim Miller collected a walk-off knockout win over late replacement Jesse Butler in the middle of the main card, catching Butler with a thudding left hand that put him out in a flash.
In a career that has produced a UFC record 25 wins, that is the quickest finish of the New Jersey native’s illustrious career.
That’s now four wins in five fights and another step closer to competing at UFC 300 for the veteran lightweight.
2 – Diego Ferreira KO 2 Michael Johnson
UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Hill
Diego Ferreira registered one of the most vicious knockouts of the year in Saturday’s main card opener, planting an overhand right on the jaw of Michael Johnson that sent the veteran crashing to the canvas. Johnson had a great deal of success through the first round and had just shucked Ferreira off in the second when he looked for a takedown, and the Fortis MMA representative responded by landing a fastball that ended the fight in a flash.
After more than a year on the sidelines and entering on a three-fight slide, this was a statement return for Ferreira, who previously resided in the Top 15 and could be on his way back there if he keeps delivering finishes like this going forward.
1 – Israel Adesanya Knocks Out Alex Pereira
UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2
Israel Adesanya is the UFC middleweight champion again after knocking out Alex Pereira in the second round.
The bitter rivals went one-for-one through much of the first two rounds, with Pereira chopping at Adesanya’s legs, and the challenger fighting with more forward pressure and urgency than in their last meeting. Just when Pereira pressed forward, looking to punish a seemingly hurt Adesanya, “The Last Stylebender” uncorked a right hand that landed flush and dazed the champion, with the follow-up right putting him on the canvas, out cold.
Just an absolutely tantalizing finish from the Nigerian-born, Auckland-based standout, who reclaims the middleweight title in style.