Featuring a mix of exciting up and coming prospects and aging legends of the sport, the UFC 237 fight card has a number of fighters who aren’t afraid to step into the pocket and let their hands open up. In the mix are a pair of Brazilian knockout legends in Anderson Silva and Thiago Alves. Icons of the sport during the initial push into the mainstream, Silva and Alves both racked up a number of impressive highlight reel finishes early in their UFC days. (Order the UFC 237 PPV here through ESPN+.)
Besides the pair of iconic strikers, there are a number of knockout artists on the card looking to make their mark on the sport. With a number of fights featuring a striker vs striker showdown, UFC 237 should have plenty of opportunities for fireworks.
Here’s our list of the top five knockout artists competing at UFC 237:
1. Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva earns the top spot on the list despite the fact that he really hasn’t scored a stoppage since 2012. One of the UFC’s most feared strikers for the better part of a decade, Silva has racked up some of the most impressive highlight reel stoppages in UFC history. With 11 of his first 16 wins in the UFC coming by KO or TKO, Anderson Silva is unquestionably one of the sport’s greatest knockout artists.
Piling up highlight reel finishes over the likes of Forrest Griffin, Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin (twice), and Patrick Cote among others, Silva has a nearly unmatched resume in terms of stoppages. One of the sport’s most versatile strikers, Silva has shown that he can end a fight with just about any part of his body as he has knockouts by punches, kicks (as seen above against Belfort), knees, and elbows.
One of Silva’s most iconic knockout came against Griffin. After stepping up in weight to test the former light heavyweight champ, Silva battered the much bigger Griffin in the first round as he dropped him a number of times. The fight would come to an electric end as Silva put his hands down and simply dodged whatever Griffin threw his way before stepping back to evade a punch and landing a short straight right to the jaw of Griffin that sent him crashing to the canvas.
2. Thiago Alves
Similar to Anderson Silva, Thiago Alves was once a feared striker who has seen father time start to get the better of him. With seven of his first nine UFC wins coming by KO or TKO, Alves established himself as one of the welterweight division’s most dangerous strikers. Unfortunately, a number of injuries and age caught up to Alves, who has struggled in recent years. However, coming off a surprise win over Max Griffin, Alves looks to try and find the fountain of youth as he takes on up and coming prospect Laureano Staropoli.
With impressive knockout wins over legends of the sport Chris Lytle and Matt Hughes, Alves has some impressive finishes to his name. He also stopped a number of former welterweight contenders throughout the years and has names like Karo Parisyan and Jordan Mein. While not the extensive resume of Silva, Alves still knocked out some of the biggest names in the sport during his prime run.
While Alves certainly has bigger names on his resume, arguably his most memorable knockout win came over Jordan Mein. After being battered around the octagon for a considerable period of time, Alves got a bit of room to operate an uncorked a vicious body kick that sent Mein down immediately. While not as glamorous as a one-punch knockout, Alves’ body kick was incredibly devastating and one of his most impressive wins.
UFC 237 airs May 11 on ESPN+. You can order it here.
3. Alexander Volkanovski
One of the UFC’s most exciting prospects, Alexander Volkanovski is a heavy-handed fighter known for smothering his opponents with vicious shots. Comfortable standing on his feet or raining down damage from above with his dangerous ground and pound, Volkanovski’s hands are dangerous wherever the fight goes. Coming off his biggest career win to date over Chad Mendes, Volkanovski has his eyes on a title shot as he takes on former featherweight king Jose Aldo.
A smothering striker who loves to mix up heavy shots on the feet with powerful takedowns, Volkanovski is an extremely dangerous opponent. When you factor in how deadly his ground and pound can be, Volkanovski has the ability to put an opponent out in nearly any situation. Outside of his win over Mendes, Volkanovski had a nice finish over Jeremy Kennedy. What he lacks in terms of star power on his resume, he makes up for in sheer body count with 11 professional wins by KO or TKO.
By far Volkanovski’s most impressive stoppage was his TKO win over Mendes. Facing a sizeable step up in competition, Volkanovski nearly went the distance in a war with a three-time challenger for the featherweight belt before putting him out with a vicious flurry of punches and elbows against the cage.
4. Jared Cannonier
What Jared Cannonier lacks in terms of a resume of knockouts, he more than makes up for off the sheer dominant showing he had at his middleweight debut. A former heavyweight fighter who has now dropped all the way down to 185, Cannonier’s hands utterly brutalized a very good David Branch and his defensive wrestling proved to be excellent as he was able to repeatedly keep the fight on the feet and inflict heavy, battering blows with his hands.
Aside from Branch, Cannonier knocked out Cyril Asker at heavyweight and Nick Roehrick at light heavyweight. Extremely undersized as a heavyweight, the knockout over Asker was impressive given the size difference between the two fighters. However, Cannonier would immediately drop down to light heavyweight following the fight. Just over a year after his knockout over Asker, Cannonier stopped Roehrick in a comeback fight after a loss to Glover Texeira.
As unexpected as Cannonier’s win over Asker may have been, his knockout over David Branch remains by far his best showing. Making his middleweight debut, Cannonier showed a level of speed and power he hadn’t showcased before at heavy or light heavyweight. He still looked incredibly strong and was able to hold off Branch’s many takedown attempts, a good sign for the heavy-handed striker. Cannonier ended the fight by dropping Branch with a straight and followed up with some ground and pound to his damaged opponent to end the fight.
5. Laureano Staropoli
As light of a UFC knockout resume as Cannonier may have, Laureano Staropoli doesn’t have a single UFC knockout to his name! However, he is only making his second career UFC fight and had finished the fight in every single win prior to his UFC debut, mostly by knockout. While he doesn’t have pure one-punch knockout power, he throws devastating flurries of heavy shots that send opponents crumpling to the canvas. After being tested in his UFC debut, Staropoli should be able to find himself in a situation to stand and trade against longtime UFC brawler Thiago Alves.
Prior to entering the UFC, Staropoli had picked up five of his seven wins by way of KO or TKO. A Chute Boxe fighter under Diego Lima, Staropoli has primarily a striking background and aggressively hunts to finish fights. While he doesn’t have any big names on his resume, he has a number of impressive showings on the smaller circuit and is hoping that explosive and swarming power that got him to the UFC can translate.
Against Alves, Staropoli should undoubtedly get a chance to open up his hands and do some work as the Brazilian affectionately known as “Pitbull” tends to press forward and take the fight to his opponent. Staropoli is usually a bundle of energy, so it should be a good test as far as his maturity in seeing how he is able to handle the unrelenting pressure of a grizzled UFC veteran.
UFC 237 airs May 11 on ESPN+. You can order it here.