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MMAjunkie’s ‘Knockout of the Month’ for June: The return of a signature move

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best knockouts from June. Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Knockout of the Month” award for June.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting on your choice.

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The Nominees

Jordan Powell’s (8-7) timing could not have been any worse. Dominick Reyes’ (7-0), meanwhile, was picture-perfect.

In the first round of their light heavyweight bout, Reyes was on the attack, pelting Powell with punches. Powell mostly fended off the onslaught and in the moment shook his head as if to say, “That was nothing.” Not one second later, Reyes starched Powell with a vicious head kick that instantly made him crash to the canvas just 53 seconds in.

Dan Hooker (14-7 MMA, 4-3 UFC) made Ross Pearson (19-14 MMA, 11-11 UFC) wade through dozens of jabs and leg-kicks, and just as “The Real Deal” started getting inside, he met the advance with a fight-ending shot.

Hooker sneaked in a lunging knee straight up the middle that landed square on the chin of the Brit. The blow sent Pearson’s mouthpiece flying, giving Hooker a highlight-reel knockout in the second round of the lightweight affair.

After a three-fight skid that marked the low point of an otherwise prestigious combat sports career, Holly Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) got back in the win column against Bethe Correia (10-3-1 MMA, 4-3-1 UFC) courtesy of her signature move.

Holm won for the first time since her memorable knockout of Ronda Rousey in November 2015 when she used the same head kick technique to drop Correia before finishing the women’s bantamweight bout with one additional brutal blow.

Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) and Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) knocked each other down to set up the beginning of the end in their heavyweight fight nearly a year in the making.

Mitrione recovered first, though, and pounced on Emelianenko with a flurry of vicious right hands. The former PRIDE champion went out cold, giving “Meathead” the biggest victory of his career in a mere 74 seconds.

Tha Pyay Nyo (4-0) remained undefeated in MMA competition with his most impressive victory yet, finishing Htet Aung Oo (0-1) with a perfectly placed punch just 16 seconds into their bantamweight fight.

Nyo set his opponent up with the jab, waited a beat for Aung Oo to throw a shot in return, then came over the op with a massive right hand to the chin. Aung Oo crumpled to the canvas immediately and Nyo put the exclamation point on the performance with an extra shot to his downed opponent before the referee stepped in.

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The Winner: Holly Holm

The kick that ex-champ Holm used to knock out Rousey came back with a vengeance, though it took her a while to use it.

Holm’s cautious approach over two rounds suddenly gave way to a head kick that felled onetime title challenger Correia at the 1:09 mark of the third round.

Referee Marc Goddard stepped in to save Correia after Holm followed her concussive kick with a punch to the chops that knocked the Brazilian flat on the canvas.

Just moments earlier, Correia had taunted Holm to engage – and the answer left her unconscious.

The knockout was an emphatic ending to an otherwise tentative fight. After the fighters circled endlessly, drawing a warning for timidity from Goddard in the second, boos showed the crowd’s patience was wearing thin.

Holm, ever the counter-fighter, mostly stayed at range and used her kicks to snipe at Correia, who came into the fight with a height and reach disadvantage. Despite those long limbs, Correia managed to find her way inside, connecting late in the opening frame with a combination that got Holm’s attention. Mostly, though, the fighters danced around the octagon.

Correia apparently got tired of the pace, too. With her taunts, she invited a scrap that might get the audience back on her side. But that turned out to be her undoing, as she walked straight into a kick that put Holm’s shin straight to her face.

It was Holm’s first win in the octagon since she did the same to ex-champion Rousey, upending the MMA world in November 2015 with a shocking upset knockout.

“Amazing,” Holm said of snapping a three-fight skid. “There’s so many things I want to say, but this fight, I know she could make messy, and I heard a lot of boos from the first round. But what I wanted to do was make it look as clean as I could.”

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