Justin Gaethje's KO of Dustin Poirier, 5 other brutal knockouts of 2023 (VIDEO)

Recapping some of the best highlights to occur in the cage during 2023.

UFC 291: Poirier v Gaethje 2
UFC 291: Poirier v Gaethje 2 / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
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Josh Emmett stuns with one-punch KO of Bryce Mitchell (UFC)

While some may use December as a means of trying to finish things early ahead of the holiday season, it's hard to do such a thing with year-end awards in MMA because you just never know what you're going to get. And very recently at UFC 296, Josh Emmett proved such a thing this year when it came to the knockout category.

Emmett was looking for a bounce-back performance at UFC 296 after a 2023 that already saw him lose an interim featherweight title fight to Yair Rodriguez at UFC 284 and drop a decision to Ilia Topuria at UFC Jacksonville. And to call his performance at UFC 296 a bounce back is an understatement, with Bryce Mitchell being the unfortunate victim.

It was just a couple of minutes into their pay-per-view opening bout that Emmett needed just one punch to put away Mitchell, who came into the bout on short notice after Giga Chikadze tore his groin.

And the punch was a powerful one that was shocking and extremely violent, as it left Mitchell convulsing and shaking on the ground, bringing a lot of concern for Mitchell's health. With doctors and officials, including UFC President Dana White, present in the cage, Mitchell needed help returning to his feet and left the Octagon on unsteady legs.

It was a much needed win for Emmett and showed the power that he possesses in the hopes of finally getting a crack at the undisputed featherweight title.