Leon Edwards has redefined the meaning of an all-or-nothing knockout.
That was it. UFC 278. The moment Edwards had been working toward for seven years. A UFC title shot. Recognized as the best welterweight in the world. A second crack at the indomitable Kamaru Usman.
And it slipped away.
The talented Englishman had done pretty well in the first round, but from there it was all Usman as a great welterweight – our 2021 Fighter of the Year, 2021 KO of the Year winner and, at the moment. era, the No. 2 Pound -for-Pound fighter in the world – settled into a groove and began to pull away on the scorecards. Heading into Round 5, no one could be blamed for going mentally offline. Usman was no stranger to cruising to decisive wins and Edwards was hardly known as a one-hit knockout artist.
This story held until the last minute of the fight. Then Edwards exploded.
It was the perfect whim and it came completely out of nowhere. Edwards didn’t put up a late flurry. He didn’t catch a disappearing Usman. If anything, it looked like the fight was following exactly the pattern described by the commentary team, with Edwards content to drop points and live to fight another day. When the kick landed and Usman fell, it didn’t feel real. This is still not the case.
Edwards lost to Usman in 2015 and had to mount a 10-fight unbeaten streak to find his way back to a title fight. He wouldn’t get another hit like this. It was either immortality for Edwards or just another title defense under Usman’s historic welterweight reign. All or nothing.
After, great editing did the trickhighlighting Edwards’ corner and their impassioned plea for him to save the unique opportunity.
The video uses music from the film Rockya nod to Edwards’ moniker linking him to fighting’s greatest fictional underdog.
There is one major difference though: Rocky lost in his first shot at a world championship.
Edwards? He scored the best, biggest and most important knockout of the year.
Whether you like it or not, Michael Chandler’s absurd knockout of Tony Ferguson at UFC 274 is guaranteed to replay in your head over and over and over and over until the end of time.
Aesthetically speaking, there hasn’t been a knockout in a high-level MMA contest more exciting and, at the same time, more heartbreaking to watch than Chandler leaving Ferguson face down on the canvas.
Just look at this:
It’s horrible to watch, let alone think of the consequences of a human absorbing a kick like that. And the fact that it happened at Cavity center in Phoenix? Truly macabre.
To make the scene even tougher is that Ferguson didn’t fare badly at all in the fight and had every reason to feel good about himself after the first round. Seventeen seconds later, it was over.
By now, we’ve gotten used to Ferguson taking losses, but never quite like this. You could say “El Cucuy” was due to a brutal knockout, but then again, we’ve never seen it. He’s a man who ate Justin Gaethje haymakers for almost five full rounds, only being stopped due to a call from a merciful referee. We don’t just arrest Ferguson.
That’s exactly what Chandler did, unleashing the new favorite for the biggest knockout in MMA history. It’s a coat that’s hard to cling to – even Vitor Belfort’s legendary toe-to-toe finish of Anderson Silva was usurped just two months later by the Lyoto Machida crane kicking Randy Couture . But we can say with confidence that it will be a long time before Chandler’s effort is exceeded. If ever.
Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s first fight was a war. Their second was a massacre.
After these two warriors put on one of the biggest fights in MMA history at UFC 248 — MMA Fighting’s 2020 Fight of the Year, in fact — it would have been a travesty if they didn’t. had never shared the cage again, and fans got their wishes last November at UFC 275. Few would have expected the rematch to live up to the non-stop action of the first encounter. Even fewer could have predicted that Zhang would knock out Jedrzejczyk like she did.
Zhang was the sharpest fighter for five minutes, but there was every reason to believe that Jedrzejczyk might find the magic that made their first fight so memorable and remind everyone that she was once the invincible queen of the fight. strawweight division. Sure enough, Jedrzejczyk looked to pick up the pace in round two, but just when it looked like she might have Zhang on the back foot, she found herself on the wrong side of a back fist that landed sideways. from his head.
Not only did Zhang’s knockout move permanently close the door on her two-fight streak with Jedrzejczyk, but it signaled Jedrzejczyk’s swansong as she announced her retirement shortly after the fight. It was also Zhang’s first knockout in three years, and despite falling short against Rose Namajunas twice – a rivalry destined for a trilogy fight – the Chinese star is firmly back on track for the title, which she recovered with authority five months later by submitting Carla Esparza.
Mars feels like an eternity now, but in the first quarter of 2022, Molly McCann was a lock to win Knockout of the Year.
‘Meatball’ couldn’t have had a better platform to continue her stardom as she not only became the first Englishwoman to compete on a UFC London main card, but she made the most of the opportunity by scoring the first spinning nudge. never by a female fighter in the promotion’s history.
McCann is no stranger to exciting fights, but she had yet to finish any of her first seven UFC opponents before facing Luana Carolina. The action didn’t disappoint, and McCann took the leap to another level of notoriety when she caught Carolina in the third round with an elbow that left the Brazilian cold on the canvas.
Along with close friend and fellow scouser Paddy Pimblett, McCann has become one of the most popular female fighters to come out of the UK in recent years, and while she never quite lives up to the hype and becomes a real contender , she will always have that shining example of spin and victory to look back on with pride.
How not to be romantic with MMA?
Prior to the rematch with Adriano Moraes, Demetrious Johnson’s time with ONE Championship had been successful for the most part, with a flyweight Grand Prix victory under his belt and a fun victory over Rodtang that he can tell the kids about one day. But one thing he didn’t do was capture the flyweight title from ONE.
“Mighty Mouse” had his chance in April 2021, but he was stopped by a brutal knee from the reigning champion. It would be over a year before he and Moraes faced off again, and the bigger Moraes again gave Johnson everything he could handle. However, in round four, Johnson got the upper hand like he has done so many times in the past.
Johnson shook Moraes with a right hand, then seized the moment as only he could, stalking a stumbling Moraes to the fence before firing a flying knee to the jaw. Even before the fight was officially called off, Johnson was walking away.
One knee kept Johnson from reclaiming the flyweight throne, another put him back on top of the mountain he ruled for most of the 2010s.
Here’s how the voting for MMA Fighting’s 2022 Knockout of the Year went.
Ilia Topuria vs. Jai Herbert (UFC London, July 23)
Irene Aldana vs. Macy Chiasson (UFC 279, September 10)
Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz (UFC San Diego, August 13)
- Manny Akpan vs. Connor Hitchens (Cage Warriors 136, April 2)
Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya (UFC 281, Nov. 12)
John Lineker vs. Bibiano Fernandes (ONE Championship: Lights Out, March 11)
- Magomed Kabardiev vs. Valmir Lazaro (Naiza FC 38, April 1)
Andrey Koreshkov vs. Chance Rencountre (Bellator 274, February 19)
Roman Dolidze vs. Jack Hermansson (UFC Orlando, Dec. 3)
- Alex Pereira vs. Sean Strickland (UFC 276, July 2)
Paul Daley vs. Wendell Giacomo (Bellator 281, May 13)
Goiti Yamauchi vs. Neiman Gracie (Bellator 284, August 12)
2022 KO of the Year: Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman – MMA Fighting