Knockout of the Year – LowKickMMA 2022 Awards

Leon Edwards knockout

With the mixed martial arts schedule largely coming to a close this week ahead of an end-of-year Bellator vs. Rizin event in Japan on New Year’s Eve, the sport has once again produced memorable, highlight-reel, and shocking knockout finishes over the course of the last year. 

With countless finishes turned in across the world and within the community of mixed martial arts – it seems the magnitude, consequences, and rallying factor of Leon Edwards’ August rematch KO of welterweight titleholder, Kamaru Usman has taken the forefront of people’s minds – and in particular, the LowKick MMA staff.

Knockout of the Year – Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards II – UFC 278 (10 votes)

Headlining UFC 278 back in August in Salt Lake City, Utah – Birmingham favorite, Edwards, in his first shot at gold under the banner of the promotion, turned in a spectacular fifth-round finish over the pound-for-pound number one, Usman.

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Rematching the Auchi native following his initial December 2015 decision loss to his then-fellow contender, Edwards dropped three of the opening four rounds in the pair’s rematch, heading into the fifth and final frame. 

Backed by corner man, Dave Lovell to pursue Usman in a hail mary attempt in the final frame in a bid to turn the tide of a fight, Edwards sprung with a brutal left high kick attempt, flattening Usman to clinch the undisputed welterweight crown.

The victory snapped a promotional-perfect run of 16 straight Octagon victories for Usman, knocked him from the summit of the pound-for-pound listing, and ended his title run spanning three years and five fights. 

Expected to rematch next year, however, yet to be officially announced by the promotion amid rumors of a potential hand injury flare-up for Usman – Edwards is expected to headline UFC 286 on March 18. at The O2 Arena in London, England. 

Honorable Mentions 

Michael Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson – UFC 274 (1 vote) 

Also gaining massive attention earlier this year back in May at UFC 274, former title challenger, Michael Chandler became the first fighter in mixed martial arts to score a KO win over former interim titleholder, Tony Ferguson – and in rather spectacular fashion.

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Handing Ferguson his fourth consecutive defeat amid an ongoing losing skid, Chandler, a former three-time Bellator lightweight champion, landed a brutal second round front kick knockout over Oxnard native Ferguson – sending the fan-favorite to the canvas in faceplanting fashion. Chandler would go on to suffer a submission loss to Dustin Poirier last month following the stunning KO triumph.

Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz – UFC San Diego (1 vote)

Continuing his rich-vein of form following a dominant win over fellow contender, Rob Font back in April — returning against former bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz in August — Marlon Vera battled back to lodge a stunning finish over the past titleholder.

Headlining UFC Fight Night San Diego against the home-town favorite, Vera walked Cruz onto a brutal left high-kick effort in the penultimate round of their main event clash, securing his fourth consecutive triumph in the process.

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Molly McCann vs. Luana Carolina – UFC London

Turning in two victories in London from three Octagon walks this year, Liverpool native, Molly McCann may have been a shoo-in for Knockout of the Year in her own right, prior to her compatriot, Edwards’ stoppage of Usman. 

Drawing Brazilian flyweight, Luana Carolina in the promotion’s first visit to the UK back in March of this year, McCann landed a stunning spinning back-elbow knockout win at The O2 Arena – before scaling the Octagon fence and plucking a UFC championship belt from the crowd. 

Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk II – UFC 285 

Another spinning finish, this time in June in Singapore – with current champion, Zhang Weili drawing former titleholder, Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the pair’s long-awaited strawweight title-eliminator rematch.

Sending the Polish sports icon and future Hall of Fame inductee into retirement, Weili, who took the opening round against Jedrzejczyk in Kallang, landed a stunning spinning back-fist knockout of the former champion.

Full List Of 2022 KO Of The Year Votes

Frank BonadaLeon Edwards

Ross Markey: Leon Edwards

Murdo Todd: Leon Edwards

Patrick Post: Leon Edwards

Ian Shutts: Leon Edwards

Tim Wheaton: Leon Edwards

Arshan Dhillon: Leon Edwards

Ollie Brockett: Leon Edwards

Alex Lerman: Leon Edwards

Keelin McNamara: Leon Edwards

Marc Ray: Michael Chandler

Brady Ordway Briggs: Marlon Vera