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Israel Adesanya of Nigeria reacts after knocking out Alex Pereira of Brazil in the UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 287 event at Kaseya Center on April 08, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)
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The Knockouts | The 2023 Half-Year Awards

These Knockouts Are The Ones That Stuck Out From An Awesome First Half Of 2023 Inside The Octagon.

The highly unofficial half-year awards season continues with the best knockouts of the first half of 2023 and how we saw them on fight night…

5 – Ismael Bonfim Knocks Out Terrance McKinney

UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill

Ismael Bonfim of Brazil reacts after his knockout victory over Terrance McKinney in a lightweight fight during the UFC 283 event at Jeunesse Arena on January 21, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC)
Ismael Bonfim of Brazil reacts after his knockout victory over Terrance McKinney in a lightweight fight during the UFC 283 event at Jeunesse Arena on January 21, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC)

(Watch On UFC Fight Pass)

You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better debut finish all year, as Ismael Bonfim collected a second-round walk-off finish on Saturday, planting a flying switch knee on the side of the jaw of Terrance McKinney that sent him crashing face-first into the canvas.

The lightweights ran fairly even through the first five minutes, with Bonfim landing the better shots, but McKinney wearing them well. The Brazilian newcomer seemed to be the more composed and confident of the two, and in the second, he took the fight to McKinney. With him pinned along the fence and having just dislodged his mouthpiece with a clean counter shot, Bonfim backed off, elevated, and connected cleanly, ending the fight in a flash.

MORE HALF-YEAR AWARDS: The Newcomers | The Upsets | The Submissions

This is a tremendous debut performance for the older of the Bonfim brothers, who immediately becomes a person of interest in the 155-pound weight class by dispatching McKinney in thrilling fashion.

4 – Manuel Torres Knocks Out Nikolas Motta

UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Cannonier

Manuel Torres of Mexico reacts after his knockout victory over Nikolas Motta of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Manuel Torres of Mexico reacts after his knockout victory over Nikolas Motta of Brazil in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 17, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

(Watch On UFC Fight Pass)

Manuel Torres took a big shot from Nikolas Motta early in their fight, and moments later, “El Loco” closed the distance and smashed home a left elbow to the face that put Motta on the canvas, out cold.

This was a hellacious finish in a fight that hadn't started well for the Mexican lightweight and Dana White’s Contender Series graduate. That’s now consecutive first-round stoppage wins for Torres since joining the UFC roster, and five straight first-round finishes overall.

Keep an eye on this man.

3 – Jim Miller Knocks Out Jesse Butler

UFC Fight Night: Kara-France vs Albazi

Jim Miller reacts after his knockout victory over Jesse Butler in a lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 03, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Jim Miller reacts after his knockout victory over Jesse Butler in a lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 03, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

(Watch On UFC Fight Pass)

Jim Miller collected a walk-off knockout win over late replacement Jesse Butler in the middle of the main card, catching Butler with a thudding left hand that put him out in a flash.

In a career that has produced a UFC record 25 wins, that is the quickest finish of the New Jersey native’s illustrious career.

That’s now four wins in five fights and another step closer to competing at UFC 300 for the veteran lightweight.

2 – Diego Ferreira KO 2 Michael Johnson

UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Hill

Diego Ferreira of Brazil knock outs Michael Johnson in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 20, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Diego Ferreira of Brazil knock outs Michael Johnson in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 20, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

(Watch On UFC Fight Pass)

Diego Ferreira registered one of the most vicious knockouts of the year in Saturday’s main card opener, planting an overhand right on the jaw of Michael Johnson that sent the veteran crashing to the canvas. Johnson had a great deal of success through the first round and had just shucked Ferreira off in the second when he looked for a takedown, and the Fortis MMA representative responded by landing a fastball that ended the fight in a flash.

After more than a year on the sidelines and entering on a three-fight slide, this was a statement return for Ferreira, who previously resided in the Top 15 and could be on his way back there if he keeps delivering finishes like this going forward.

1 – Israel Adesanya Knocks Out Alex Pereira

UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2

Israel Adesanya of Nigeria reacts after knocking out Alex Pereira of Brazil in the UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 287 event at Kaseya Center on April 08, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)
Israel Adesanya of Nigeria reacts after knocking out Alex Pereira of Brazil in the UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 287 event at Kaseya Center on April 08, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

(Watch On UFC Fight Pass)

Israel Adesanya is the UFC middleweight champion again after knocking out Alex Pereira in the second round.

The bitter rivals went one-for-one through much of the first two rounds, with Pereira chopping at Adesanya’s legs, and the challenger fighting with more forward pressure and urgency than in their last meeting. Just when Pereira pressed forward, looking to punish a seemingly hurt Adesanya, “The Last Stylebender” uncorked a right hand that landed flush and dazed the champion, with the follow-up right putting him on the canvas, out cold.

Just an absolutely tantalizing finish from the Nigerian-born, Auckland-based standout, who reclaims the middleweight title in style.