TODAY'S PAPER
25° Good Evening
25° Good Evening
SportsMixed Martial Arts

A night of knockouts on Strikeforce

Dan Henderson knocked out Renato

Dan Henderson knocked out Renato "Babalu" Sobral in the first round at Strikeforce in St. Louis. (Dec. 4, 2010) Credit: Strikeforce / Esther Lin

Those knockouts on the year compilation DVDs are typically culled together from 12 months' worth of fights. Well, Strikeforce need not look too deep into its archives. The promotion's Dec. 4 card in St. Louis had four straight knockouts on its Showtime broadcast.

Just when you were to dismiss this card after all the last-minute injury replacements (Herschel Walker out with a cut, Mike Kyle replaces Valentjin Overeem), Strikeforce somehow managed to put on its most exciting night of fights of the year.

Four fights, four knockouts. Just what the No. 2 MMA promotion needed. Strikeforce cards are often harshly and unfairly criticized, but that's what will happen when you're No. 2 and UFC is No. 1.

For those of you who watched Strikeforce live on Showtime Saturday night, you walked away fired up from a crazy night of knockouts. If you're Youtubing the fights in the days after, you'll do the same.

Here, we count down the four knockouts in order of explosiveness, dominance and sheer excitement

4) Antonio Silva KOs Mike Kyle

Not much to this second-round TKO beyond some good old fashioned ground-and-pound. Still, it's nice to see a fight get finished, especially by a heavyweight contender such as Silva.

3) Dan Henderson KOs Renato "Babalu" Sobral

Coming off his loss to Jake Shields in April for the Strikeforce middleweight title, Henderson returned to light heavyweight and looked good doing it. He spun out of Babalu's guard and into mount, then threw down a few of his patented right-handed bombs. Babalu ate two of them before the referee stepped in to end the fight midway through the first round.

2) Robbie Lawler KOs Matt Lindland

For a guy nicknamed "Ruthless," Lawler might be the kindest knockout artist of all-time. He threw a right-left-right combination that put Lindland unconscious on the mat. As Lindland collapsed to the floor, Lawler went to the ground and was in position at Lindland's feet. He threw one more punch and then backed away before the referee actually stopped the fight. He knew Lindland was out cold. It was the most polite and respectful knockout you'll see.

1) Paul Daley KOs Scott Smith

Here it is, Sunday morning, and we're still not sure if Scott Smith knows where he is yet. After a stand-up exchange, Daley backed off. Smith rushed in to keep up the attack. But with his lunging left-handed punch that came up short, he left his right side open. Daley landed a monster left hook that floored Smith. He was out before he hit the ground. It looked like a clip from a "Rocky IV" montage where Stallone is haunted by his knockout loss to Clubber Lang. It was that explosive of a KO from Daley.

New York Sports