Best Knockout of the Month – February
Introduction to the “Best of the Month”
On a weekly basis, promotions from all over the globe put on numerous events. With cards from the regional scene to the big show, it is impossible to see it all, let alone fully appreciate each fight for what it was. In this series, we’ll set out to highlight the best of the best. Every month, our staff will bring you our picks for the standard choices: Knockout of the Month, the Submission of the Month, and the Fight of the Month.
However, at MMA Today, we want to go beyond the basics. In addition to the “Performance Bonus” awards, we’ll highlight the Fighter of the Month, the Tweet of the Month, and the Story of the Month. The Fighter of the Month is an award that aims to recognize the fighter (regardless of his or her promotion) who made the most of his or her appearances in the given month. This fighter may have picked up a significant win that benefits his or her career, went viral for an awesome finish, or dominated the headlines of recent weeks. The Story of the Month aims to capture the best or most important story. While the Story of the Month may go to the biggest overarching narrative, it could also go to a compelling interview or an article with substantial deeper meaning. The Tweet of the Month recognizes the best of one of MMA’s biggest social media platforms. The tweet could be a fighter callout, a humorous retort, or a piece of sharp analysis.
We hope you enjoy taking a look back at last month’s action. The following is a list of MMA Today’s staff picks for each of the aforementioned awards. Through these nominations, our team has offered our choices for the best of the month. Readers are strongly encouraged to make their thoughts known, so if you have an opinion on any of these categories, or you feel that something has been neglected, let us know!
Knockout of the Month
Blaine Henry: Jeremy Stephens (vs. Josh Emmett – UFC Orlando)
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) February 25, 2018
“Hype trains either blast through the station or are derailed before they can gain full speed. That’s what ‘the hardest hitting 145er’ did this month: derailed Josh Emmett’s hype train. In one of the most vicious knockouts I’ve ever seen, Jeremy Stephens definitely deserves this honor here.” – Blaine Henry
Michael Fiedel: Akhmet Aliev (vs. Magomedsaygid Alibekov – FNG 83)
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) February 22, 2018
“This month’s best knockout comes all the way from Moscow. Akhmet Aliev took on Magomedsaygid Alibekov for the vacant lightweight title. Aliev, 17-4, captured the belt with a vicious spinning kick that seared itself into the mind of viewers everywhere. The third round knockout broke through the guard of Magomedsaygid and left Aliev’s victim out cold.” – Michael Fiedel
Shawn Bitter: Akhmet Aliev (vs. Magomedsaygid Alibekov – FNG 83)
“I love spinning [expletive] and the spinning wheel kick landed perfectly and his opponent was out before he hit the mat. Also impressive since it was in the third round.” – Shawn Bitter
Ben Smith: Mike Kimbel (vs. Geoffrey Then – Bellator 194)
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) February 17, 2018
“Aliev was tempting; perfect spinning kick, but Kimbel came into Bellator 194 with a record of 4-4 as an amateur. He HAD to impress. He did. Picking up his opponent whilst held onto him, slamming his neck to the floor to separate before teeing off. Incredible.” – Ben Smith
Nolan King: Jeremy Stephens (vs. Josh Emmett – UFC Orlando)
“Not many knockouts make me cringe, but I can’t remember there being a more violent knockout on big FOX. Stephens, known for his follow up bombs, landed two brutal elbows on the floored Josh Emmett– breaking his orbital bone in multiple places. It doesn’t get much more violent than that!” – Nolan King
Max Freedman: Alan Jouban vs. Ben Saunders (UFC Orlando)
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) February 24, 2018
“Who doesn’t love a one-punch KO? The picture-perfect hook from Jouban was a highlight-reel finish he desperately needed.” – Max Freedman
With two votes each, the Best Knockout of the Month is split between Jeremy Stephen’s hellacious finish of Josh Emmett and Akhmet Aliev’s vicious spinning attack. Stephens’, whose knockout received votes from Nolan King and Blaine Henry, dropped Emmett with punches, ending the fight with monstrous elbows. Aliev captured the vacant lightweight title in Moscow, Russia with his spinning heel kick in the third round.