MMA 2022 Year in Review: Knockout of the Year

Tony Ferguson and Michael Chandler, UFC 274
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 07: (R-L) Michael Chandler knocks out Tony Ferguson in a lightweight fight during the UFC 274 event at Footprint Center on May 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

There is nothing quite as exciting as a knockout finish in all of professional sports, and this year certainly had its fair share of them. When it comes to Knockout of the Year, however, there were two finishes in particular that were neck-and neck.

Jay Anderson: Michael Chandler’s foot connected with Tony Ferguson’s face at UFC 274 in May, and completely rearranged it, leaving Ferguson looking something akin to a Warcraft Orc. That’s an image I won’t soon forget. An easy pick for my Knockout of the Year.

Gabriel Gonzalez: Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson. It is Ferguson’s early success that also made this one all the more devastating.  Though the bout was far from over, Chandler looked as if he might have plenty to deal with before he made the adjustments and delivered the most brutal finish of fan-favorite Ferguson’s current skid.

Eddie Law: Nobody saw this one coming after 24 minutes of seeming domination from then champion Kamaru Usman. A literal last minute head kick by Leon Edwards saw the belt make it’s way to the UK. 

The left hand to hide the head kick was as basic as a set up gets, but very effective. Combined with the commentary that had written Edwards off at that moment, the KO left the entire arena in complete shock.

Alex Behunin: Michael Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson. This knockout is just violent – which is what I like in a knockout. Did it have the story or stakes of Edwards vs. Usman? No but it was the first time Tony Ferguson was flatlined and it was brutal.

Jamie Theodosi: Leon Edwards over Kamaru Usman. Bias aside, my KO of the year goes to Leon Edwards. The whole situation, being down 3-1, Dave Lovell (his coach) giving him probably the most inspiring talk ever while being down 3 rounds, still holding out the hope that Leon could secure something monumental, Jon Anik’s perfectly timed bit of commentary, the whole moment played out to be one of the most unique, special moments, ever. 

Val Dewar: Molly McCann Spinning Elbow vs Luana Carolina. Molly McCann burst onto the scene this year and may have set herself up financially for life with the best knockout – even among many other great ones – on one of the biggest cards of the year, the first UFC London card back in March. This knockout instantly shot her into stardom, the UFC video game, and a six-figure sponsorship with Barstool Sports, changing her life forever. Though it is not part of choosing this award, it has to be mentioned that in her very next fight Molly once again got a finish with the help of a spinning elbow, turning it into somewhat of a signature move for her.

Michael Lynch: Leon Edwards over Kamaru Usman. Was down so bad going into the last round and pulled off a perfect high kick to win the title.

End Result: We were split between two thunderous head kick KOs this year. Michael Chandler’s front kick rearranged Tony Ferguson’s facial features, while Leon Edwards fifth-round head kick against Kamaru Usman secured him the welterweight title. The two share our Knockout of the Year award for 2022.