5 of the best buzzer-beater UFC finishes

Buzzer-beater finishes like Max Holloway's are rare in the UFC, but not entirely uncommon. Here are the top 5 that we've seen over the years.
Apr 13, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Max Holloway (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Justin
Apr 13, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Max Holloway (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Justin / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Leonardo Santos vs. Grant Dawson

Grant Dawson was already up on the scorecards heading into the third round of his UFC Vegas 22 fight against Leonardo Santos. And yet, he seized the opportunity to pull off a finish with one second left on the clock.

Egged on by now-controversial and suspended coach James Krause, Dawson unleashed a flurry of punches that dislodged Santos' mouthpiece and knocked him out at the 4:59 mark of Round 3. With MMA judging being borderline unreliable over the years, Krause urged his fighter to quit on takedowns and go for a knockout to avoid any possible mishaps in scoring.

"We need to finish him," Krause was heard saying in between rounds while dabbing Dawson's face with an ice pack. "Don't leave this to the judges."

Dawson did not immediately listen to his coach. He went for securing the top position with a few takedowns and tried punching down, but it failed to do significant damage. However, the moves put Dawson in more or less a winning position.

Dawson stood up keeping his opponent's legs occupied and poured down hammerfists on Santos' face. The Brazilian showed little to no defense against the beatdown and the referee stepped in at the penultimate second of the fight.

Dawson, a Dana White's Contender Series recruit, took his streak to 5-0 in the UFC with this win. It was his second victory after trouble with the USADA for a Turinabol flag followed by weight-miss drama against Darrick Minner.

For his opponent, it was the first loss in the promotion. Santos went on to lose two more to Clay Guida and Jared Gordon before retiring from the sport in Sep. 2022.

Meanwhile, Dawson drew the next fight with Ricky Glenn and then picked up three more wins before losing his most recent outing opposite Bobby Green. He is set to face Joe Solecki on June 1 at UFC 302.