A devastating knockout usually invokes one of two feelings in a fan: elation or devastation – depending on which fighter happens to be on the giving and receiving end.

Sometimes, however, all personal feelings are set aside when a knockout so spectacular, so jaw-droppingly inspiring occurs. Fans gaze in wonder at their television sets –or if they’re lucky enough, at the cage before them– and realize they have just witnessed something great. Something seemingly impossible.

Inspired by a thread entitled Best KO Via… in our forum, I’ve decided to assemble a list of my favourite knockouts.

Best god Impression

A split second after rendering Michael Bisping unconscious with one of the most devastating overhand rights ever seen inside The Octagon (a punch that would later be dubbed the “H Bomb” by MMA commentator, Mauro Ranallo), Dan Henderson descended upon his fallen prey from the heavens like the hammer-wielding Thor.

Cracking his face with a thunderous follow-up shot, Henderson forever etched his name in the annals of combat sports history and reminded his fellow fighters that the old dog still had some fight left in him.

Best Ninja Impression

In front of his hometown crowd at UFC 142, the Brazilian, Edson Barboza, proved that Bruce Lee’s scripted martial arts moves may be possible to pull off in real-life fight situations.

Etim looked like an old oak tree whose time had come as he was struck down by a spinning back kick akin to a well-sharpened Huskvarna.

 

Best Rocky Impression

The final fight in what many consider the most accomplished Light Heavyweight Career, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell went out with a bang. Unfortunately, that bang was delivered on his chin by former Middleweight champion, Rich “Ace” Franklin.

In a fight that saw Liddell dictating the pace and picking his opponent apart, Franklin threw a last-second Hail Mary of a right hand that put the legend to sleep. The most impressive part? Liddell had broken Franklin’s left arm with a kick earlier in the fight, and had he held on one second longer, the fight may have ended via TKO due to injury in between rounds.

Best Daniel-san Impression.

You’ve seen the movie; wax-on, wax-off. The original Karate Kid culminated with the protagonist, Daniel-san, defeating his arch nemesis at a karate tournament. On an injured leg, Daniel-san landed a perfectly timed crane-kick to his adversary’s pretty blond mug. The crowd went wild and all was right in the world as the formerly bullied kid attains retribution.

Fast forward more than a decade to UFC 129 in Toronto. The event broke attendance records for the UFC with 55,724 seats sold. And my ass just happened to be in one of those seats.

I watched in awe as Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida landed an impossibly accurate crane-kick to the face of Randy Couture. The crowd eventually gave “The Natural” a standing ovation as he announced his retirement, but not before screaming our voices hoarse following Machida’s take on an infamous karate kick.

Best Street Fighter Impression

OK, this one isn’t a knockout, but it needed to be honourably mentioned. Just prior to the WEC’s official merger with the UFC, lightweights Ben “Smooth” Henderson and Anthony Pettis duked it out in the WEC’s final match. A close five-round affair could have been given to either fighter… until the closing moments of the final round.

With a move that usually takes advanced skills in button mashing, Pettis laid his opponent out with a kick that… well… just watch:

 

And there you have it. Five of the most unbelievable strikes in UFC history. Got a few to add of your own? Pissed that I didn’t include your favourites? Discuss it here and let me know.