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MMA Knockout of 2009 (So Far)

The year is half over, so we're giving out some MMA half year awards. Today we've got the best knockout of the year so far in MMA.

My choice for the knockout of the year in MMA goes to Matt Hamill, for his head kick knockout of Mark Munoz at UFC 96.

Hamill got into the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter, and in his early days he was just a big, strong college wrestler who beat his opponents by holding them down and overpowering them. So what impressed me most about Hamill's knockout of Munoz is that it showed the evolution of his game. It was the second straight fight that Hamill dominated on his feet, and it was a knockout kick that Hamill had been setting up throughout the fight. You could see him looking for his opening, and then exploding when he got that opening.

"I'm getting better and better every time I fight," Hamill said in the Octagon after knocking Munoz out. His knockout of Munoz demonstrated that.

Here are some honorable mention choices for knockout of the year:

Shane Carwin, who established himself as a Top 10 heayweight by knocking out Gabriel Gonzaga at the same UFC 96 show in which Hamill knocked out Munoz.

Nick Pace, for the flying knee that knocked Collin Tebo cold.

Brett Rogers, for needing just half a minute to dispatch Andrei Arlovski.

Lyoto Machida, for showing off brutal punching power in beating Rashad Evans.

Vitor Belfort, who destroyed Matt Lindland at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.

Jose Aldo, who needed just eight seconds to knock out Cub Swanson.

Stefanie Guimareas, for knocking out Yvonne Reis in the best women's knockout of the year.

Yahir Reyes, for a spinning back fist against Estevan Payan.