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MMA Fighting’s 2016 Knockout of the Year: Stipe Miocic faceplants Fabricio Werdum

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Given the unassuming nature of UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, it is perhaps fitting that the performance which earned him his title, a sensational knockout of Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198, has slid somewhat under the radar this year.

After all, this is the same guy who, despite being the Baddest Man on the Planet, continues working full-time as a fire fighter. It’s this blue-collar, grab-your-lunch-pail-and-go-to-work attitude that has endeared him to fans in his hometown of Cleveland and that may also have played a role in his relatively unheralded rise to UFC title contender.

 Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Going into UFC 198, the focus was around Fabricio Werdum and whether a win that night would cement him as the greatest heavyweight mixed martial artist of all time. No one counted out Miocic, a durable, athletic, hard-hitting guy, but the general belief was that he wasn’t dynamic enough to finish Werdum and the talk centered around where a win put Werdum in the “best ever” conversation. But those talks, and Werdum, were put to bed 2 minutes and 47 seconds into the first round when Miocic delivered a back-stepping right hand that crumpled the champ, earning Miocic the UFC heavyweight title and MMA Fighting’s 2016 Knockout of the Year.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, Miocic’s one-punch kill shot is among the best of the year. As Werdum comes rushing wildly at Miocic, he calmly circles away and then lands a short right hand that drops Werdum like a sniper shot, leaving the all-time heavyweight great slumped over on top of himself, a highlight that will play on UFC intros for years to come. The knockout is made all the more impressive when considering that Miocic had never shown true one-hitter-quitter power before and Werdum had only been stopped once previously after a barrage of punches from arguably the biggest hitter in the heavyweight division, Junior dos Santos.

But Miocic shutting the lights off on Werdum isn’t only a spectacular KO, it was also incredibly important. Going into the fight, Werdum was fighting for his legacy and Miocic was fighting for his lineage. A native of the Cleveland suburbs, Miocic wanted to end the “Cleveland Sports Curse” and three minutes after the bell rang, he delivered the first championship to Cleveland since 1964, running across the Octagon, jumping over the cage, and shouting “I’m world champ!” as his coaches swarmed him and Werdum lay prone on the canvas.

Source:: mma fighting