I know nothing about martial arts and I'm not sure this is the right board, but I recently read about the Conor McGregor vs Jose Aldo fight which lasted only 13 seconds. How did Jose Aldo lose so fast? Is this a typical fight time?

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    How does watching the fight (it's not that long⸮) not answer your question? – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Dec 14 '15 at 11:55
  • Well I don't understand what is happening... Conor seems to slap his head to the ground? Why doesn't he just get back up? – personjerry Dec 14 '15 at 11:56
  • Thank you. That sounds like it could very possibly be the reason why it ended so fast. If you could post this as an answer with some citations showing that it did indeed end because of this, I will mark it as the answer. – personjerry Dec 14 '15 at 12:27
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    As for your "how" question, slow motion makes it more obvious. – Witness Protection ID 44583292 Dec 15 '15 at 0:10

Conor McGregor punched Jose Aldo in the head. The punch was quite hard and accurate. Aldo got hit while out of position. Aldo didn't see the punch coming. All of these factors, plus a dozen other intangible ones we can't quantify, lead to Jose Aldo getting knocked out.

When someone gets knocked out, they often can't just get up again. In particular, while Aldo was trying to regain consciousness, McGregor was continuing to hit him in the head, which tends to re-concuss people who are already concussed.

The referee saw that Aldo was unconscious and therefore not defending himself. That's sufficient reason to end the fight, which he did.

That's how Jose Aldo lost.


The really simple answer is that he walked into a punch.

The more complex part is that this is effectively what boxing, and many other striking arts build their entire science around - "How do I get that shot in that they're not ready for?"

The flipside, is that the striking arts also spend a lot of time training to take hits - to angle the blow off a bit by using your shoulder to tuck your chin, to give with the hit and take off some of the force, and definitely not take the shot full on. If you're not ready... well. Here's a half hour compilation of boxing knock outs and you can see a lot of similar situations.

Counter punching has the advantage of being sneaky - the counter attack is often masked by the attacker's focus being on their target, not the incoming attack, and their own arm or shoulder might be blocking their sight to even seeing it coming.

It has the second advantage that you have more force - if the attacker is moving in with their body weight and you hit, you have both your force and their force added together (much like how head-on collisions between cars is an additive force). A concussion isn't surprising really when you consider all of that.

Aldo was coming in and throwing punches and caught the counter. He walked into it.

Obviously, this isn't the normal fight time, otherwise we'd be seeing 50 card matches every fight night. For a good while, Mike Tyson was making his name on quick knockouts as well - against professional heavyweight fighters. Most of the time, however, people spend a lot of time beating each other's endurance down in order to find that opening that will let them land the killer shot, and, often, in striking sports, they win by decision rather than knockout.


A simple answer is that he was punched in an unprepared moment. Here it happens while the fighter rushes forward attacking and receives a counter blow at the right spot to the head.

This blow to the head is causing a shake of the head in that way that the brain hits the skull what causes the nerveuos system to shut down and it results is the knockout.

Usually fights don´t end so quick, it really depends on the skills of the fighters, preferences of fighting style and sometimes even luck is involved. Just a side note, in a fight causing that kind of knockout is not really easy, if tried on purpose.

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    I am a neuroscientist, and that explanation is pretty awful (no offense to poster, : it was the first thing that came up in google search for 'what causes knockout' so a natural assumption might be that it is legit:)). I just looked online in the primary literature, and it basically says nobody knows what causes it, but most mention 'concussion.' Consciousness and its loss is a very open scientific topic, so maybe that explains the lack of quality literature on this topic. – neuronet Dec 14 '15 at 16:27
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    So, this is actually pretty decent, reinforcing that it is not very well understood: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/10351/…… . Also, this paper seems very interesting, suggesting basically induces a seizure (sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301008202000187), and we know epileptic seizures are often accompanied by loss of consciousness. I study epilepsy some (not my main area of expertise), and this actually seems very reasonable. – neuronet Dec 14 '15 at 16:49
  • Also see this it is decent, again even if it doesn't have any primary references (the literature on this is pretty weak, frankly): madsci.org/posts/archives/2003-01/1043093631.Ns.r.html – neuronet Dec 14 '15 at 16:50
  • I edited that as I realized it came off too strong, I changed it to "pretty awful." Maybe if you don't know, why answer, or at least be more thorough. Just dumping a quote from popular mechanics may not be the way to go. – neuronet Dec 14 '15 at 16:53
  • Changed the answer. – mitro Dec 15 '15 at 6:27

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