2017 Knockout of the Year: The Punch from Hell or Toppling the Queen?

January 7, 2018

There was no shortage of contenders for the 2017 Knockout of the Year.

Marlon Moraes drove a knee to Aljamain Sterling’s head, planting him on the canvas at UFC Fight Night 123. Paul Daley’s patented flying knee devastated Brennan Ward at Bellator 170. Holly Holm landed a beautiful kick to Bethe Correia’s head causing the Brazilian’s legs to fold underneath her at UFC Fight Night 111. 

There were many, many more, but when we narrowed it down, it came down to Francis Ngannou‘s “uppercut from hell” that floored Alistair Overeem at UFC 218 or the magnitude of the moment when Rose Namajunas dropped UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk with a left hook and then pummeled her into a first-round stoppage.

Francis Ngannou and Rose NamajunasNamajunas dropping the previously undefeated Jedrzejczyk was unprecedented. No one had ever defeated Jedrzejczyk in a cage, let along knocked her out. 

Namajunas was the underdog. Jedrzejczyk had bullied and intimidated her leading up to the fight. But Namajunas overcame the odds and her own mental roadblocks to topple Jedrzejczyk, who had been coasting toward a UFC record set by Ronda Rousey. 

While Namajunas’ achievement was spectacular, it was more about the moment than the knockout itself. We eventually determined that Namajunas deserved the 2017 Upset of the Year award, but was not the top knockout.

For the 2017 Knockout of the Year, we had to go with the action itself that floored us, and while the contenders were many, as we mentioned above, they couldn’t top the unbridled brutality of Ngannou’s powerful one-punch blackout of Overeem.

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Less than two minutes into their UFC 218 bout, Ngannou unleashed a left upper cut that hit the mark, snapping Overeem’s head back in destructive fashion. The lights went out, Overeem went down and he didn’t move for several minutes. 

Overeem eventually recovered and emerged without serious injuries, but the brutality of the moment made it clear that Ngannou, who has now knocked out five of his six opponents in the Octagon, was more than deserving of the 2017 Knockout of the Year and a shot at heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 in Boston.

2017 Knockout of the Year: Francis Ngannou’s Uppercut From Hell

(Video courtesy of UFC on FOX | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

Rose Namajunas Takes Out Joanna Jedrzejczyk

(Video courtesy of UFC on FOX | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

Paul Daley’s Knockout of Brennan Ward

(Video courtesy of BellatorMMA)

Marlon Moraes Face Plants Aljamain Sterling

(Video courtesy of UFC on FOX | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

Holly Holm Head Kick Crumples Bethe Correia

(Video courtesy of CBS Sports | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)