Sergio Pettis’ superb spinning back fist to Kyoji Horiguchi at Bellator 272 has stunned the MMA world.
The 28-year-old delivered the blow during the fourth round during the main event to retain his bantamweight title at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
It’s been called the best KO of the year, and only Pettis’ fourth KO/TKO in 27 career fights.
"I came out here and got beat up for four rounds pretty much," Pettis said postfight. "I was just like, 'Man, I'm losing this fight. I've gotta do something spectacular.' It came out at the right time."
The American fighter had been losing to Horiguchi, being outstruck 73-19, but the phenomenal strike saved his blushes.
After the strike, in shocking scenes, Horiguchi was forced to leave the cage on a stretcher, before being taken to hospital.
“I don’t want to hurt anybody so bad that they’re unconscious like that,” he Pettis said.
“It’s kind of bogus to say, but it’s better him than me. I’m a very nice person and a kind human being. But he would have done the same to me.”
And MMA fans reacted to the strike online.
One said: “Pettis down 4 rounds pulls off the improbable in the 5th. Insane.”
Another said: “Look at this amazing KO by @sergiopettis. Without a doubt one of the best finishes of the year. And when you consider the stakes and how the fight was going it’s even more amazing.”
Another described it as "pulling off the improbable".
Do you think this was the knockout of the year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
A reporter surmised: “Another reason MMA at its best *is* the best. Pettis was on his way to getting swept, and then he hits a Bricklayer, Jock Jams 50-pointer for a walkoff win.”
One more said: “Respect to him for not following up with that hammer fist when he realised he was out.”
Pettis, whose record is tallied at 22-5, has now won five straight wins. A Milwaukee native, he's brother of the former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
Horiguchi, meanwhile, has a record of 29-4, and is considered one of the best fighters in the world outside the UFC. He’s now been knocked out cold in two of his last three bouts but the 31-year-old won 13 straight times prior to the recent wobble.
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