When it comes to violent finishes, no one did it better than Holly Holm in 2013. Holm went 4-0 for the year with 3 TKO/KO’s in her first three fights.That made her perfect, with five TKO/KO finishes in five fights to start her career. In her last fight of 2013, the gritty veteran Angela Hayes became the first woman to go the distance with Holm inside of the cage when their fight in early December went to the judges. No matter, because the first three finishes were enough to earn her this award, as each one was a violent masterpiece. She combines beautiful technique, radar like accuracy, and super sonic speed with explosive catastrophic power.
Holm is an equal opportunity knockout artist. She will use her fists, knees, and shins to your legs, body or head to end your night. Almost everything she throws is a part of a combination and she does not just throw two or three punch combos. She will string together six, seven or even more strike sequences that almost always include kicks, knees and punches. Her combinations flow together and are like a river raining down upon her opponents. It is a dangerous place for her opponents when they are caught up in the rapids of her destruction. She brings the blows from all angles and levels battering you from all sides as she rapidly strikes. The first knockout for Holm was all about the body work.
In that fight against Katie Merrill at Bellator MMA 91, it was a right hand that was the start and then a kick to the body on the ground that ended it. There were a couple of shots to the head, in particular a lead left hook to kick it off, but it was the two body shots that ended this fight. The kick to the body while Merrill was down is rarely utilized in MMA. It was also Usain Bolt fast. That speed is another factor that makes her so dangerous, as we learned in her second knockout of the year.
The fight against Allanna Jones was at Legacy Fighting Championship 21. The knockout was sudden, fast and folded Jones forward like a jack knife as she crashed to the ground. Jones did a good job of avoiding the big clean shots in the first round but could not keep it up in the second. About seven seconds after just missing with a left head kick she landed the next one flush, shin on temple. It was one of the KO’s of the year in MMA.
She followed that up with her fight against one against Nikki Knudsen. Knudsen was tough and took a lot of punishment from Holm and was still coming forward. That was until the second round when Holm landed a side kick to the stomach. It caused Knudsen to yell out in pain and sent her across the cage. Holm methodically and quickly followed Knudsen, immediately launching some rapid knees and then hands before the ref stepped in. While it was punches and knees that ended the fight, it was the kick that was the most devastating strike in the sequence.
It was the kind of year that propelled Holm into the forefront of WMMA and even had Ronda Rousey expressing a desire to fight her. Until that fight, or her next one you can enjoy her handiwork from this year.
HM – Cris “Cyborg” Justino, Miriam Nakamoto, Claudia Gadelha, Bec Hyatt, Cat Zingano, Ronda Rousey, Ashlee Evans-Smith and Veronica Rothenhausler.