Editor’s Note:  This piece of expert content was contributed by longtime mixed martial arts competitor and coach certified by the International MMA Federation, Miguel Antonio Ordoñez. – GDM


Every fight fan out there loves to see a knockout. Any empathy towards the person put to sleep flies out the window at that moment. 

For the observer enjoying the craziness that just transpired, don’t worry. That doesn’t make you a heartless person. You’re reacting like any sensible human would upon seeing another individual practically rendered lifeless with a single shot. 

At some point, you’ve likely wondered what happens when someone lands that knockout punch. Does it hurt? What goes on in the body, and why does it shut down like that? 

Dear reader, wonder no more. Like how I did with our previous piece on choke holds, I will do my best to walk you through the anatomy of a knockout punch. If you’re a combat sports practitioner, I also have some valuable tips on avoiding and landing that finishing blow. 

Unraveling the Anatomy of a Knockout Punch

To help us understand the inner workings of a knockout punch, we’ll look at what science says. Along with that, we’re gathering information from a decorated professional fighter.