In what was a year filled with spectacular knockouts, Joaquin Buckley’s spinning kick KO stood out among the rest, earning him Knockout of the Year.
Buckley, a Bellator veteran and Walgreens store manager, stepped up against Kevin Holland on short-notice back in August. He would go on to lose his promotional debut via third-round KO. Then, after taking only two months off, Buckley stepped back into the cage to face undefeated striker Impa Kasanganay (8-0).
Surely Buckley just wanted to get out there and get back in the win column, but little did he know the next 10 minutes would change his life forever.
Joaquin Buckley’s viral spinning kick KO is FanSided MMA’s 2020 Knockout of the Year
When the kick landed everyone knew it was something special, and to quote UFC commentator John Gooden, it was “real life ninja stuff”.
KO of the Year! 🔓
Go all angles on @NewMansa94's masterpiece 😳
— UFC (@ufc) October 10, 2020
As you can see, Buckley’s naked left leg kick was easily caught by Kasanganay, but Buckley was able to shift his weight from one side to another and throw a spinning kick to the face of his opponent. It landed, shut Kasanganay’s lights off, and the rest is history. The social media views went up by the thousands every minute, and that very KO will be played on UFC highlight packages for decades to come. The UFC’s social media impressions were off the chart and Buckley subsequently became a star overnight.
What makes the knockout even better is that Buckley came into the fight as a +200 betting underdog. But as we know in mixed martial arts, the rankings, odds and math don’t always add up.
Buckley etched his name into the UFC history books with that kick, and something tells me this won’t be the last devastating knockout we see from him inside the Octagon. Since his highlight-reel knockout over Kasanganay in October, “New Mansa” is 1-0 after scoring another vicious knockout, this time over Jordan Wright at UFC 255.
Buckley is scheduled to face fellow middleweight Alessio Di Chirico at UFC Fight Island 7 when the UFC returns to Abu Dhabi on Jan 16.