The walk-off knockout in MMA is a beautiful thing to behold. Action could be consistent and intense, a fight fan’s dream. But in one quick moment, someone delivers a bout-ending strike that abruptly calls a halt to the contest. They turn around and walk away like they knew it was going to happen.
There are major style points to be had in the awesome phenomenon that is the walk-off knockout. Aside from it being really cool, however, is the fact that it’s also a great way to rack up those wins.
Not everyone is blessed with this type of power. There are a handful of athletes who are capable of scoring highlight-reel KO’s. But only the very best get to earn this badge of distinction.
We’ve compiled a few of the most exquisite sequences in this amazing game. Here they are in no particular order.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five of the most spectacular walk-off knockouts in mixed martial arts history.
1) Lyoto Machida Head Kicks Mark Munoz
Outside of the Octagon, Brazilian Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and Filipino-American Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz are close friends. Munoz was Machida’s former wrestling teacher. But at UFC Fight Night 30 in 2013, the two were called to do battle.
Thankfully for fans, the two never had any problems facing each other despite their friendship. Both men felt that to go all-out and not hold back was showing each other the highest of respect.
On paper, the matchup was certainly intriguing. Machida would bring in his incredible striking pedigree while Munoz offered his world-class wrestling. It really was a case of whose style would reign supreme.
The answer to that question came quick and abrupt in the first round. Just over three minutes into the contest, Machida unleashed a thunderous left head kick that, even though partially blocked by Munoz, sent the Filipino crashing to the canvas. Machida followed Munoz to the ground to finish the job but saw his friend was already out and held back. The referee stepped in immediately.
2) Yair Rodriguez Stuns “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung
If there’s a better knockout than the one Yair Rodriguez pulled off against the Korean Zombie, please let us know. It’s arguably the most creative finish in mixed martial arts history, given the circumstances.
The two men met in the Octagon in the main event at UFC Fight Night 139. Scheduled for five rounds, both Rodriguez and Chan traded explosive artillery from start to finish. Rodriguez was precise, but Chan was tough and durable. Both men were pushed to their absolute limit.
Although Korean Zombie was ahead on the scorecards heading into the final round, he decided to take risks and go for the finish. For Chan, it was always all or nothing. But just as he was lunging in for a jab-straight combination, Rodriguez countered with an extraordinary reverse upward elbow — a rare Muay Thai technique that is hardly ever seen in MMA competition.
As soon as the elbow connected, Chan was out cold, and Rodriguez knew it. The lights were out, and Rodriguez walked away like a boss.
3) Martin Nguyen Sleeps Eduard Folayang With Well-Timed Right
Known for his devastating right hand, ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin Nguyen was making a habit out of stopping his foes in one punch. Just the fight before, Nguyen finished former featherweight titleholder Marat Gafurov with the same maneuver.
Coming for his second world title at lightweight to elevate himself to champ-champ status, Nguyen would again deliver a similar performance. This time it was against former lightweight king Eduard Folayang.
Nguyen wasn’t winning the fight at the time of the knockout. Folayang was just too elusive and far too active to get outworked. But there was no denying Nguyen’s power that night. Just as Folayang unleashed Team Lakay’s patented Wushu spinning back kick, Nguyen timed him with an overhand right from out of nowhere.
Folayang was out before he hit the ground and was unconscious for a few seconds before he was revived. Nguyen walked off into victory, and into the history books as the first concurrent two-division world champion in ONE.
4) Mark Hunt Destroys Frank Mir
He’s the king of walk-off knockouts, and that’s why he appears twice on this list. “The Super Samoan” was known for his immense power. He would often destroy opponents with his big right hand, and then calmly walk away as referees waved guys out.
At UFC Fight Night 85, Hunt scored another iconic KO finish. This time, it was legendary Frank Mir whom he laid out.
Realizing he was at a disadvantage against the superior grappler in Mir, Hunt knew he had to keep the fight standing. Just past the three-minute mark of the first round, Hunt detonated a bomb of a right hand on Mir’s temple, sending him abruptly to the mat.
Hunt slowly turned his back and walked away. He never even saw the referee wave Mir off, because deep down Hunt knew that shot was all it took.
5) Mark Hunt Faceplants Roy Nelson
Hunt appears for the second time on this list, now for his handiwork against “Big Country” Roy Nelson. Hunt and Nelson met at UFC Fight Night 52 in 2014, and the Super Samoan turned in yet another spectacular walk-off KO finish.
One of the most devastating punchers in MMA history, Hunt has certainly made a name for himself in this space. His fight against Nelson was billed as an action fan’s dream, and for good reason. The two men are known never to back down from any fight, and fans expected an all-out war from start to finish.
The fight lasted just halfway through the second round, however, after Hunt blasted Nelson with a vicious uppercut right on the button. Nelson was out instantly and fell face-first into the ground. The referee swooped in from across the cage to prevent any more damage. Hunt raised his arms in victory, a-la Muhammad Ali and casually walked off to the adulation of fans in attendance.
The sequence earned Hunt “Knockout of the Year” honors.