MMA 2017 Year in Review: Knockout of the Year

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UFC 218 Francis Ngannou, Alistair Overeem
Francis Ngannou, left, hits Alistair Overeem in the first round during a UFC 218 heavyweight mixed martial arts bout, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 in Detroit. Ngannou defeated Overeem by first-round knockout. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

A vicious uppercut, flying knees, a slam — the candidates for Knockout of the Year 2017 had something for everyone.

In a year that saw some big finishes in big fights, picking a Knockout of the Year was no easy task. Do you judge based on sheer skill and execution? Do you factor in the significance of a big finish in a title fight?

Our writers were split on this. They were split on just about everything. Except on the fact that Francis Ngannou is one scary dude in the heavyweight division. On that, there was little debate.

Who did we select for Knockout of the Year 2017? Read on!

Knockout of the Year 2017

Heath Harshman: I’m still having nightmares from watching frighteningly violent prospect Francis Ngannou turn Alistair Overeem, one of MMA’s most talented strikers, into a giant-sized Pez Dispenser at UFC 218. No other knockout in 2017 had me covering my mouth in shock and awe longer than that brutal left from Ngannou.

Gabriel Gonzalez: Alistair Overeem vs. Francis Ngannou. Ngannou has a lot of hype around him, deservedly so. But considering Overeem was the clear #2 contender in the division and a decorated striker, Ngannou’s devastating KO made this one a no brainer for me. *Shout-out to Tywan Claxton however.

Jay Anderson: Ngannou’s soul-crushing knockout of Overeem is up there. Paul Daley’s flying knee KO of Brennan Ward is as well. But for my money, Tywan Claxton’s flying knee KO at Bellator 186 takes the cake. The air he got on that pushed it past Daley. Disclaimer: I’m a sucker for flying knee knockouts.

Dan Doherty: Galore Bofando vs. Charlie Ward. Francis Ngannou was too obvious and everyone else probably went with him so I wanted to shine some light on something I hadn’t seen before. Sure there have been slams that rattle a fighter but Bofando literally threw Ward to the canvas and knocked him out. It happened so quickly we were left wondering if he was caught with something but no, just the strength of Bofando throwing a grown man down like a sack of potatoes.

Mike Straus: This was much harder, so many great KO’s this year. I have to go with Francis Ngannou’s KO of Alistair Overeem at UFC 218. Because of the violence, and speed at which he threw it.

Paarth Pande: UFC 218 — Francis Ngannou’s knockout of Alistair Overeem. I wasn’t expecting him to win. Instead, his knockout was absolutely brutal.

Eddie Law: John Moraga KO’s Magomed Bibulatov – Maybe not the most vicious KO we’ve seen this year but certainly one of the most meaningful for the winner. Moraga had lost 3 of his last 4 fights and was clearly on the chopping block. Everything he had was riding on the outcome of this fight, his roster spot and way of making a living was on the line and he delivered with a beautiful left hook KO of Bibulatov. The post-fight interview, a very emotional one, makes this the KO of the year.

Mike McClory: I imagine that at this point Matt Brown sees himself as a walking hammer. And every other human on this planet is a nail to be driven into a board. That’s very similar to what he did to Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 120, with an elbow strike that I won’t even try describing.

The end result: Francis Ngannou’s soul destroying knockout of Alistair Overeem gets the nod as Knockout of the Year 2017.

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