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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Jesus Pinedo knocks out former champion Brendan Loughnane (PFL)

Jesus Pinedo just may have been the underdog story of the year, coming out of nowhere to have one of the most memorable runs in any given year in recent MMA history.

After dropping a split decision to Gabriel Braga in his first fight of the 2023 PFL season, Pinedo was booked in the main event of PFL 4 against defending PFL featherweight champion Brendan Loughnane. The expectation was that Loughnane would win, and the only question would be how and when — as that would determine if Loughnane or Chris Wade made the playoffs. The only way Pinedo could get in was if he pulled off a first-round knockout of Loughnane, something highly unexpected by many.

But that's exactly what happened.

About 90 seconds into the fight, Pinedo delivered a flying knee that dropped Loughnane, and a few follow-up shots led to victory for Pinedo, clinching his playoff spot.

From there, Pinedo went on to finish top-seeded Bubba Jenkins and Braga to capture the PFL featherweight title this season and solidify himself as a true MMA underdog that found victory when little expected it.

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