Cody Garbrandt (12-3 MMA) burst onto the scene in 2015. He left a trail of unconscious opponents in his wake before finally getting his shot at the bantamweight title at the end of 2016. Garbrandt would not only win the title but do so in spectacular fashion while fully outclassing arguably the best bantamweight of all-time in Dominick Cruz.
Then came the losses. Garbrandt would lose his belt in his first defense to TJ Dillashaw. The pair would later rematch and Dillashaw would not only beat him Garbrandt again, but he’d KO the former champion for the second time in a row. In his next bout, Garbrandt would again find himself face down on the mat. This time because of the fists of Pedro Munhoz.
Fans were writing off the Ohio native. Pundits and fans alike criticized Garbrandt’s overly aggressive style and chin. After taking a year off from competition, they announced Garbrandt’s next opponent; another top five threat in Raphael Assuncao.
They christened Garbrandt a slight favorite going in, but people weren’t sure what to expect. They had lost faith in the man who had once torn through his fellow bantamweights. Could he still perform? Is his chin completely shot? Does he even deserve his spot in the top ten?
Throughout the Assuncao bout, Garbrandt looked good. He looked confident and composed. In the waning seconds of the second round, Garbrandt was backed into the cage. He ducked down and flung his right hand from the hip. Assuncao wasn’t protecting himself and caught the fist square on his chin. As his opponent dropped, the buzzer went off and Garbrandt put up his hand victoriously. He didn’t think to dive on his opponent. He knew the bout was over.
— Talkin Hands (@TalkinHands101) June 7, 2020
In a year of spectacular finishes, Garbrandt’s stood out. Not for the creativity like Joaquin Buckley’s but for the outright savagery. It’s the sound that thundered through the empty arena. The announcers’ reaction, the image of Assuncao dropping to the ground, the poise with which Garbrandt threw the blow and handled the victory.
That is why Cody Garbrandt vs. Raphael Assuncao is The Scrap’s 2020 Knockout of the Year.
Honorable Mentions: Joaquin Buckley vs. Impa Kasaganay (UFC Fight Island 5), Kevin Holland vs. Jacare Souza (UFC 256) and Calvin Kattar vs. Jeremy Stevens (UFC 249).