It’s easy to rewrite history. As things change, we often forget the circumstances surrounding past events. But make no mistake, when Woodley starched Lawler at UFC 201, it was a shocking result. And for that, he gets my Knockout of the Year.
Since his return to the UFC, Robbie Lawler had been virtually unstoppable. Aside from a razor close decision loss to Johny Hendricks, Lawler was flawless through nine Octagon appearances.
Meanwhile Tyron Woodley was coming off a split decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum, just two fights removed from a loss to Rory McDonald. Not to mention the fact that he had been sidelined for a year and a half leading up to the fight.
Needless to say, the odds were against him.
But Woodley is nothing if not an elite self-believer. While the majority of fans, fighter and media members – myself included – picked Lawler to retain his belt once more, Woodley put a swift end to that theory by absolutely demolishing the champ. It took only two minutes for Woodley to land a series of blows that would end Lawler’s reign on the welterweight division.
Again, this wasn’t about the knockout, itself. This was about the moment. And there was no better knockout moment in 2016 than Tyron Woodley’s victory at UFC 201.
Honorable Mention: Stipe Miocic def. Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198 (punches)
Honorable Mention: Amanda Nunes def. Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 (punches)