There’s nothing that rouses fans quite like a stunning knockout. Fortunately, there were plenty of those in ONE Championship’s mixed martial arts ranks during the third quarter of 2021.
From clean punches that instantly turned out the lights to body shots that caused wince-inducing slumps to the canvas, we witnessed numerous exciting finishes over the past three months.
Here are the top five MMA KOs inside the Circle from July to September this year.
#5 Xie Finishes Kim With Heavy Body Shot
Kim is a durable veteran who’s gone the distance with some of the best fighters in the world, which made “The Hunter’s” third-round knockout even more impressive.
They went back and forth for the first two rounds, with both men hitting the deck at points, but Xie began to look stronger as the fight went on. He came close to a ground-and-pound finish in the second frame and then continued to apply pressure in the third.
In that final frame, “The Hunter” stuffed his rival’s takedown attempts and battered him with punches. But Kim would not quit — at least not until the Chinese slugger shut him down.
Xie threw everything at his adversary, and a sharp left hook to the liver finally took the wind out of “Holy Beast’s” sails. He folded to the mat, and a couple of follow-up shots led the referee to wave off the bout.
#4 Kim Outguns Nguyen In World Title Eliminator
Former two-division ONE World Champion Nguyen was the aggressor early on, scoring with calf kicks behind his jab. But “The Fighting God” was absorbing information so he could launch his own attacks.
“The Situ-Asian” grew in confidence and started to load up with his heavy punches, but this gave Kim a prime opportunity to counter. When Nguyen stepped in behind his jab and teed up a power punch, the South Korean snuck inside with a right cross.
The short strike landed with double the force, as Nguyen’s momentum was coming forward at the same time, and “The Situ-Asian” fell to the mat immediately.
Kim quickly swarmed with ground-and-pound, forcing the referee to intervene. Along with the win and the spectacular knockout, “The Fighting God” booked himself the next ONE Featherweight World Title shot.
#3 Aung La Gets Back To Knockout Form
Despite the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion getting to his back early, Aung La showed improvements to survive the tough spot.
After fending off Ataides’ grappling attack, “The Burmese Python” shrugged off another takedown attempt and forced his Brazilian rival to the Circle Wall behind a head kick and some heavy hooks.
They briefly clinched, which gave Aung La the chance to score with a knee. The Myanmar hero then broke off and unleashed a furious salvo of hooks, which was punctuated by a final right hand that sent “Wolf” down for the count – and put “The Burmese Python” back in the win column.
#2 Pacio KOs Saruta In World Title Trilogy
In less than one round, however, the reigning king emphatically settled the score.
Early in the contest, Pacio looked to counter “The Ninja’s” low kicks with his right hand, and that tactic bore fruit later on.
“The Passion” started the finishing sequence when he countered Saruta’s low kick with a looping right hand that dropped his foe to the canvas.
Giving his opponent no respite, Pacio chased Saruta down as he tried to recover and escape. The Filipino then unleashed hard hooks on his foe as “The Ninja” fell into the Circle Wall.
A few more left hands to his downed rival sealed the deal for “The Passion,” who secured a 2-1 series victory with a second consecutive stoppage win over “The Ninja.”
#1 Saputra’s Record-Breaking Right Hand
And just 10 seconds into their flyweight MMA tussle, the Indonesian wrestling sensation did just that – making history at the same time.
Liu was the first to attack, swinging looping fists at Saputra, but the Evolve man backed away from the incoming leather.
“Dynamite” replied immediately by going on the front foot with a cross-hook combination that forced Liu to retreat. And as the Chinese athlete stepped back in with a low kick attempt, he left his chin exposed, which proved to be a fatal error.
Saputra uncorked a hellish right hand that crashed straight into his rival’s chin – separating him from his senses and earning “Dynamite” the fastest flyweight finish in ONE history.