What is a Knockout in MMA?


This article explores the details of Knockout in MMA and the records achieved by the fighters so far.

ufc knockout
DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 02: (L-R) Francis Ngannou of Cameroon punches Alistair Overeem of The Netherlands in their heavyweight bout during the UFC 218 event inside Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

A knockout (KO) in MMA, short for Mixed Martial Arts, is the decisive and electrifying culmination of a match that occurs when one fighter delivers a powerful and precise strike that renders their opponent unconscious or incapacitated, resulting in an immediate end to the fight. It is one of the most emphatic ways to secure victory in the sport.

A knockout is achieved through a perfectly executed strike, often a punch or a kick, that connects with the opponent’s head or body with significant force. The impact of such a blow disrupts the opponent’s neurological functions, causing them to lose consciousness and their body to go limp. This is a testament to the effectiveness of striking techniques and the precision and timing of the fighter delivering the knockout blow.

When a knockout occurs, the referee intervenes swiftly to protect the fighter who has been incapacitated. The referee’s primary responsibility is the safety of the fighters, and recognizing the signs of a knockout is crucial to preventing any further harm. The fighter who delivered the knockout strike is declared the winner, while their opponent is attended to and assessed for any potential injuries.

There are two kinds of Knockouts in MMA, Technical and Double Knockouts.

A technical knockout, often abbreviated as TKO or T.K.O., refers to a scenario in combat sports where the referee intervenes during a round and determines that a fighter cannot continue the match safely for various reasons. 

This decision can arise due to factors such as the fighter’s inability to defend themselves adequately or evident signs of physical distress. Additionally, certain governing bodies grant the ringside physician the authority to halt the fight if necessary. In specific jurisdictions, a TKO verdict is announced if a fighter gets knocked down three times within a single round.

A double knockout unfolds when both fighters exchange blows that render each other unconscious simultaneously, rendering them incapable of continuing the fight. In such unique cases, the match is concluded with a draw, recognizing the extraordinary circumstances that led to the simultaneous incapacitation of both participants.

But there is another similar term called “knockdown”, both knockout and knockdown are terms used to describe different stages of a fighter’s condition during a match. 

A knockdown occurs when a fighter is struck by an opponent’s strike and touches the floor of the ring or cage with any part of their body other than their feet. This could be due to the impact of a punch, kick, or other striking technique. 

However, after a knockdown, the fighter is capable of getting back on their feet relatively quickly and continues to fight. The referee usually starts a count to ten to assess whether the downed fighter can recover and continue. If the fighter successfully rises before the count of ten, the fight resumes without being classified as a knockout.

Knockout Records

Now let us explore the knockout records that have been achieved so far.

When it comes to knockout records in MMA, Travis Jon Fulton claims the top spot with an impressive 143 knockouts to his name. Remarkably, Fulton has participated in over 300 documented MMA matches, setting this record over a span of approximately 15 years since his debut in 1996. He not only holds the record for the most knockouts but also boasts the highest count of first-round knockouts and consecutive first-round knockouts.

Jorge Masvidal secured the title for the fastest knockout in MMA history by swiftly dispatching Ben Askren just five seconds into their clash at UFC 239 on July 6, 2019. Masvidal’s spectacular victory materialized through a flying knee strike that struck Askren’s head while the latter was attempting a takedown.

Within the UFC fights, Derrick Lewis stands tall with the most knockouts in the organization’s history, amassing a total of 13 knockout wins in his career. His awe-inspiring knockout prowess has earned him the moniker “The Black Beast.”

Regarded as one of the greatest women’s MMA fighters, Amanda Nunes has etched her name in history with a remarkable 13 knockout victories. Her dominant performances have solidified her legacy as a force to be reckoned with.

In the realm of female fighters within the UFC, Ronda Rousey seized the title for the fastest knockout, achieving a lightning-fast victory in just 16 seconds at UFC 175 in 2014.

This feat was matched by Germaine de Randamie in 2019, during UFC Fight Night 155. These remarkable achievements underscore the undeniable skill and power present in the world of MMA.

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