There’s plenty to love about Muay Thai, such as its technical beauty, honorable sportsmanship, and the sheer athleticism and discipline required to compete in it.
Of course what first attracts many to the art of eight limbs are its devastating knockouts the sport has become famous for. Here are six recent ones that have helped the combat sport earn a reputation as one of the most brutal.
2017: Dorian Price vs. Jonathan Lecat
Nothing is more exciting than an equally-contested Muay Thai bout, especially when it results in a rare double knockdown. That’s what happened in a recent Max Muay Thai fight in Thailand between American Dorian Price and France’s Jonathan Lecat.
From the opening bell, Lecat went after Price frantically, pitting him against the ropes twice and landing a couple of punches. Price was finally able to counter with a strong hook, but at the exact same time Lecat went for the finishing elbow. The two crumpled to the mat simultaneously, making it a race to stand back up. The only one that did was Price, who won via the improbable knockout.
2015: Cian Cowley vs. Aaron Brown
Cage Kings is brutal Muay Thai promotion fought in a caged octagon ring with MMA gloves. Before going full MMA and becoming Conor McGregor’s gym-mate at Straight Blast Gym in Dublin, it’s where Irishman Cian Cowley first cut his teeth.
It’s also where he just about knocked out opponent Aaron Brown’s own teeth in a 2015 bout. A quick counter-uppercut sent Brown to the mat, who quickly got back to his feet. Cage Kings has a flash knockdown/no-count rule, so the fight resumed immediately. Unfortunately for Brown the fight didn’t last much longer. Seconds later, Cowley delivered an elbow and knee to his head, slumping him over and ending the fight for good.
2014: Raymond Daniels vs. Francois Ambang
Glory’s rules are not always conducive to Muay Thai fighters, but we can’t not list a strike dubbed the ‘Knockout of the Century’ here. Plus Glory as a promotion is usually pretty exciting and you can even find betting odds for their events at most major bookies on the internet. At Glory 16 in Denver for instance, Americans Raymond Daniels and Francois Ambag clashed in a welterweight bout that had near-even odds and was frenetic from the start.
A furious exchange of punches early saw Ambang go down early in the first round, but he recovered quickly. When the action resumed, Daniels got his now-weakened opponent on the defensive and delivered a right kick into Ambang’s stomach. With his other foot, he launched himself up and around in a spinning kick that connected with Ambang’s head and sent him into the ropes then straight to the ground.
2014: Jonathan Tuhu vs. Unknown
Papua New Guinean Jonathan Tuhu might not have been the most well-known name in Muay Thai, but after the knockout he delivered in 2014, perhaps the only person in the sport that’ll ever forget his name is his opponent from that night.
Despite being outsized by at least a foot, Tuhu backed his competitor into the corner before taking off and delivering a perfect spinning tornado kick to his opponent’s temple. The blow turned his opponent into a falling tree, and presumably since we couldn’t find his name anywhere online, wiped his existence from this planet.
2013: Enriko Kehl vs. Bernueng Topking
In the final edition of the Thailand VS Challenger series, German Enriko Kehl delivered one of the swiftest and deadliest knockouts we’ve ever seen.
Fighting against Thailand’s Berneung Topking, Kehl completely whiffed on a left hook in the fourth round. To Topking’s surprise, Kehl carried his body weight through his miss and then all the way around to deliver a spinning elbow to his opponent’s face that dropped him instantly.
2013: Rajchasie Pumphanmuang vs. Suntu Myawaddy
Despite generally being a sport where fighting with honor is celebrated, sometimes a fighter decides to break out of the norm. In a move that surely didn’t win him any fans, Thailand’s Rajchasie Pumphanmuang waded into that grey area in a 2013 match against Myanmar’s Suntu Myawaddy.
In the literal moment that the fighters touched gloves and the opening bell rang, Pumphanmuang delivered a high front kick to his opponent’s face. Shady as it was, the instant knockout was technically legal and probably also the last time Myawaddy ever touched gloves with an opponent.