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2013 MMA End of the Year Awards: Knockout of the Year

In my Fight of the Year column I wrote 2013 would go down as the year of epic battles. While it is true fans were treated to a number of back and forth battles that ended without a clear winner, they also witnessed an incredibly high number of fights end in highlight-reel fashion.

With more fights ending via spinning back kick, liver shot and standing elbows than any other year before, there were dozens of knockouts deserving of being named the best of the best.

But in the end it should come as no surprise that one of the most basic knockout punches of the year is the clear run away winner for my 2013 Knockout of the Year.

Entering his title fight against longtime middleweight champion and pound-for-pound kingpin, Anderson Silva, fight fans were giving Chris Weidman very little chance of having his hand raised in the end.

But everyone who believed in Weidman seemed to be in agreement the most logical way the former Hofstra University wrestling standout could win would be by using a strong ground game to grind out a decision victory or utilize his high level jiu-jitsu skills to pull off the submission victory. There was simply no chance a fighter so new in the fight game could stand and trade punches with one of the most brilliant strikers in UFC history.

But Weidman didn’t seem to get the memo as he entered the arena brimming with confidence. With the American flag draped around his shoulder, the Long Island native made his way through the crowd as the boos rained down around him.

Nobody knew it yet but they were about to witness history.

The first round started off with a quick feeling out process before Weidman finally secured the first takedown of the fight. But Silva survived Weidman’s ground and pound and even squirmed out a fairly title leg lock and scrambled to his feet.

After the inevitable showboating form Silva where fans witness him standing still with his hands down and mocking Weidman’s punching power, the round came to and end.

But what happened next will forever be pointed to as the turning point for the 185-pound division for decades to come.

The second round picked up right where the first left off as Silva jokingly danced around the cage. But then Weidman connected with a perfectly timed left hook that sent Silva crashing to the ground.

As the crowd rose to their feet Weidman delivered a punishing blow to the skull of downed Silva, which sent the champion’s eye rolling back into his head.

As the referee rushed in to call a stop to the action the crowd released a collective gasp as they watched in disbelief at a dazed Silva struggled to his feet and a newly crowned Weidman standing in celebration.

Similarly to how my 2013 Submission of the year was not the most spectacular way to finish a fight, Weidman’s second round knockout victory was not anything special in terms of flash But it the fact that he knocked out a fighter who’s skills have been compared to the legendary Bruce Lee and the fact he did so in front of one of the biggest most watched fights in UFC history that makes this my 2013 knockout of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Travis Brown over Alistair Overeem, Vitor Belfort over Luke Rockhold, Junior Dos Santos over Mark Hunt, Lyoto Machida over Mark Muñoz, Emanuel Newton over ‘King Mo’.

· 2013 MMA End of the Year Awards: Event of the Year

· 2013 MMA End of the Year Awards: Fight of the Year

· 2013 MMA End of the Year Awards: Submission of the Year