MMA Junkie’s ‘Knockout of the Month’ for October: A crushing upkick finish

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMA Junkie looks at the best knockouts from October 2019: Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMA Junkie’s “Knockout of the Month” award for October.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting for your choice.

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The Nominees

Tony Johnson def. Joe Schilling at Bellator 229

When Joe Schilling (4-6 MMA, 3-3 BMMA) fights, you know someone’s lights are probably going out. A truly do-or-die fighter, Schilling took a nasty knockout from “Dana White’s Contender Series” alumni Tony Johnson (8-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA).

With Schilling seemingly ahead going into the third round of the middleweight bout, Johnson countered the kickboxing standout with a short left hook. The shot sent a crumpled Schilling flopping to the mat. A follow-up shot didn’t make a difference, except adding more insult to injury.

Yorgan De Castro def. Justin Tafa at UFC 243

Yorgan De Castro’s (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) journey to the UFC took him from his homeland of Cape Verde to his adopted hometown of Fall River, Mass., and then out to Melbourne, Australia, where he made his UFC debut against Justin Tafa (3-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC).

There, De Castro made a huge impact. Tafa was charging forward, only to run straight into a massive right to the jaw from De Castro that left him face planted and ended the heavyweight affair in just over two minutes.

Israel Adesanya def. Robert Whittaker at UFC 243

Just 18 months after making his UFC debut, Israel Adesanya (18-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) completed his breathtaking ascent to stardom, as he clobbered Robert Whittaker (20-5 MMA, 11-3 UFC) to claim the undisputed UFC middleweight championship.

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In front of a big crowd at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, Adesanya, who entered the bout as interim champion, found his groove not long into the fight and knocked out Whittaker with a precise shot to unify the title.

Mike Davis def. Thomas Gifford at UFC on ESPN+ 19

Fighting on just four days’ notice, Mike Davis (8-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) handed Thomas Gifford (17-9 MMA, 0-2 UFC) one of the most lopsided beatings in recent memory, closing the show with a merciful knockout in the third round.

Davis found a home for his punches early and often. The fight was clearly over after roughly a round, but Gifford’s outrageous toughness paired with an unwillingness from the referee/Gifford’s corner to stop the fight allowed the lightweight bout to go on until Davis landed a crushing final blow that left Gifford face planted on the canvas.

Niko Price def. James Vick at UFC on ESPN+ 19

Known for his creative violence, Niko Price (13-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) did not disappoint in his welterweight matchup against James Vick (13-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC), scoring a knockout with a rarely-successful technique at the top level.

After absorbing some hard shots from Vick on the canvas, Price improvised and sent his foot toward the chin of Vick. A bone-chilling thud sounded as his foot hit Vick flush on the face. Vick’s bloody, unconscious body crumpled onto Price, who landed a few short shots to his already out opponent, who was stopped in less than two minutes.

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The Winner: Niko Price

A move up to welterweight did not change Vick’s misfortune.

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The former lightweight, who made the move up to 170 pounds after dropping three bouts in a row, faced Price in a main card bout, and it wasn’t exactly welcoming.

Less than two minutes into the bout, Price landed an all-time memorable knockout, a simultaneously thrilling and terrifying upkick that knocked out Vick cold. The time of the stoppage was the 1: 44 mark of the first round.

An early scramble ended with Price in Vick’s half-guard. Another scramble ended with Vick in top position, and he was raining down punches wildly when Price’s perfectly placed upkick landed flush, heel-first, on Vick’s jaw. Vick crumpled, and Price landed a few more shots before referee Herb Dean waved things off.

With his 10th career knockout and 13th career finish, Price now has won two out of his past three fights.

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