In a sport with four-ounce gloves, it should come as no surprise that selecting the year’s best knockout would be one of the most difficult endeavors in 2013.

Of course, there was a resurgent Vitor Belfort and his three vicious head-kick knockouts in Brazil. There was former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida announcing himself to the middleweight division with a devastating knockout of Mark Munoz. And don’t forget former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos getting in on the spinning action, stopping the granite-chinned Mark Hunt at UFC 160.

Those examples of beautiful destruction weren’t enough to top our list in 2013. But two others were.

The first should come as no surprise to anyone in the MMA community. As highlighted in our Upset of the Year award, Chris Weidman’s stunning knockout of Anderson Silva at UFC 162 in July was not only surprising, but perhaps the most important finish during the calendar year.

However, our second choice may not have been seen by as many people as Weidman’s knockout. In November, at RFA 11, it was the aforementioned Machida’s older brother, Chinzô, that delivered the most violent knockout of the year. Against fellow featherweight Brian Wood, Machida connected with a perfectly timed knee that snapped Wood’s head back and put him out cold.

As the sport continues to evolve and more fighters learn new techniques, the highlight-reel knockouts will keep coming in the future. Whether it’s an unexpected punch like Weidman’s or a well-executed knee like Machida’s, look for even more excitement in 2014.

Click below for video of the Machida knockout of Wood (courtesy of AXS TV).

Honorable Mention: Junior dos Santos over Mark Hunt (UFC 160), Lyoto Machida over Mark Munoz (UFC Fight Night 30)
The MMA Corner’s 2013 Awards were selected by our staff of writers and photographers. Unless noted otherwise, the nominations were open to all fighters, promotions and events that took place during 2013.