Best of Canada 2013: Knockout of the Year
There is no sure method to picking the best KO of the Year. Sometimes it is the style and grace that grabs attention. Sometimes the sheer quickness of the ending takes one’s breath away. It certainly helps if a fighter performs the violence in front of a national audience so the entire Canadian MMA community is talking about it.
2013 saw a massive amount of highlight reel knockouts. From head kicks to suplexes to elbows to hooks, Top MMA News waded through them all. Here are our top picks for KO of the Year.
Top MMA News Top 3 Knockouts in 2013
1. James Mancini Suplex KOs Yvon Anselme Kadjo
Being a former member of the Canadian national wrestling team and a medalist in the Commonwealth Games, James Mancini had a lot of upside when he made his MMA debut against Yvon Anselme Kadjo at Challenge MMA 2 this past August. Even with an incredible wrestling pedigree, few expected the fantastic ending that earned “Boom Boom” Canada’s Knock out of the Year. Mancini came out, feinted a few punches, then took his opponent straight to the mat. He quickly passed to side control and looked for key lock. Anselme Kadjo used this opportunity to turn his back and looked to get up, but Mancini saw this and quickly took the back with a waist lock while also trapping Yvon’s arm. What happened next is like a brutal car accident – you don’t want to watch but you can’t look away. Mancini finds his balance and threw his opponent over his back straight German suplex style crushing Anselme Kadjo’s unprotected head directly into the canvas knocking him unconscious. The events happened so quickly Mancini landed three hammer fists before the ref made it over to stop the assault. Slam knockouts happen so rarely but when they happen this viciously they get crowned Canada’s Top Knockout of 2013. Watch the fight HERE.
2. TJ Grant Overwhelms Gray Maynard
Prior to his drop to Lightweight, TJ Grant was known as a submission guy with solid wrestling that would usually grind out decisions against tough guys, finishing just two of his sixteen wins by TKO. Something changed in 2013. Maybe it was beard, maybe it was Scott MacLean’s Fit Plus fanny pack, but in 2013 TJ came out swinging. In his first bout of the year, Grant battered the always durable Matt Wiman making him appear not so “Handsome” with brutal hammer fists earning him a TKO finish late in the first round. In his final appearance of 2013, Grant kicked it up a notch in the striking department in his title eliminator against Gray Maynard. Grant quickly landed a big right hand that wobbled “The Bully” another straight right planted Maynard on his arse. Maynard tries to make it back to his feet and this is where the onslaught begins. Grant lands a flurry of short punches to the side of Maynard’s head, as Gray gets to his feet and tries to escape, Grant follows behind landing heavy rights and lefts that cause Maynard to turtle against the fence. Grant pinpoints a big knee then falls Maynard with a brutal left hand. Maynard’s legs now shaky attempts to stand only to eat a Grant knee that buckles his legs again. Once more Maynard tries to stand and is met with a right straight left hook combo that puts the former title challenger face first on the mat. A few more punches as the ref runs in and TJ Grant secured himself (at that point in UFC history anyways) a shot at the 155 lbs title. Sometimes it’s a quick clean punch and sometimes it a cavalcade of violence and in this instance it was the latter that earned TJ Gant the silver medal in Canada’s 2013 Knockout of the Year!
3. Kalib Starnes Nelmarks Dwayne Lewis
Prior to his 2013 campaign, most fans and pundits had written off Kalib Starnes and his lasting memory would be his infamous UFC 83 bout against Nate Quarry. But after his loss to Joe Doerksen in September of 2012, something clicked in Starnes’ head. Starnes entered 2013 like a man on a mission dispatching with Middleweight prospect David Perron wickedly in the second round. Kalib followed that up by starching Tim Hague with punches over the course of three rounds to earn a lopsided unanimous decision. Just two months later, Starnes quickly dispatched of veteran Middleweight Clay Davidson needing just 81 seconds to earn the TKO finish. His new found penchant for fist-o-cuffs and his meaner attitude all seemed to culminate when Starnes met former MFC title challenger Dwayne Lewis at WSOF’s Canadian debut on December 7th. In front of a home town crowd, Starnes traded kicks and punches with the heavy handed Lewis before trapping “D-Bomb” against the cage and rocking him with a big over hook and a horizontal elbow that rocked the Fort Mac native and turned the tables in the UFC vet’s favor. For the rest of the first round, Lewis looked to land punches while Starnes bobbed and weaved retaliating with power shots and constantly inviting Lewis to throw Nick Diaz style. The aforementioned switch in Starnes’ head flipped into overdrive for the second round as resident from the “778” traded a few leg kicks with Lewis before cornering him against the fence and landing a big two punch combination followed by a body kick that hurt Lews. Against the cage, Starnes connecteds with two vicious horizontal elbows the second of which knocks Lewis out cold falling straight backwards with a knee bent under him (A straight up Nelmarking). Starnes anger didn’t stop there. After ref Jerin Valel pulled him off, he proceeds to let Lewis know exactly how he feels as Lewis still lay unconscious. This award isn’t for sportsmanship, it’s awarded for the best KOs and Starnes’ flush elbow was probably the cleanest KO in Canada this year emanating from an appendage.
- Adam Hunter knocks out unbeaten Teddy Ash in six seconds at ECC 18.
- Elmer Waterhen monster smashes Garett Davis with a head kick six seconds into their King of the Cage rematch.
- Ryan Ford‘s leaping left hook into Brendan Tierney’s guard to brutally win at AFC 17.
- John Makdessi punches out his doppelganger Renee Forte at UFC 165.
- Alex Garcia‘s uppercut on Ben Wall in a fantastic UFC debut at Fight Night 33.
- James Kouame‘s took off Bryan Black’s head with a kick in the third round at WRECK MMA 2.0.
- Jordan Mein devastatingly finished Dan Miller at UFC 158.
- Leo Xavier dropped much heralded prospect Micah Brakefield at BFL 24
- Kyle Oliveira KOs Keegan Oliveira at KOTC Out Cold after being on the receiving end of a highlight reel KO in his last fight.
- Smealinho Rama taught Mike Hackert not to play with the big boys at MFC 36.