Tag Archive for UFC/MMA

UFC/MMA ‘Events of the Year’ 2017 – Top 5 List

The fights are done, the holidays are in full swing, and it’s time to take a look back.

Admittedly, 2017 was kind of terrible in so many ways, but it offered us a bounty of top-notch mixed martial arts (MMA) cards to enjoy during our many evenings and late, late nights. Here are some of the best these past 12 months have had to offer.

Honorable Mentions: Invicta 21, UFC on FOX 24, UFC on FOX 23

Number Five: UFC 211

To be fair, Dave Branch vs. Krzysztof Jotko was terrible. Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal was, well, a Maia fight and Cortney Casey vs. Jessica Aguilar was more confusing than anything else.

The rest? Rad as hell.

Chase Sherman vs. Rashad Coulter was one of the year’s best donnybrooks, Jason Knight vs. Chas Skelly was a terrific scrap, and Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier was fun for the nine minutes it lasted. Even before that, Gadzhimurad Antigulov’s submission of Joachim Christensen and Enrique Barzola vs. Gabriel Benitez opened the night in style.

Over on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card, Frankie Edgar delivered a top-tier beating to Yair Rodriguez, Joanna Jedrzejczyk put on a masterclass against Jessica Andrade, and Stipe Miocic avenged his loss to Junior dos Santos in emphatic fashion.

A few mediocre fights couldn’t erase the entertainment those battles generated. Not bad at all.

Number Four: UFC 210

There really wasn’t a bad fight on this card aside from the opener between Magomed Bibulatov and Jenel Lausa, which was a little too one-sided to be truly entertaining. UFC 210 featured a healthy mix of competitive decisions and decisive finishes, plus whatever the hell Gegard Mousasi vs. Chris Weidman was, and featured breakout performances from top prospects Gregor Gillespie, Shane Burgos and Kamaru Usman.

There was also Charles Oliveira’s upset submission of Will Brooks, Patrick Cummins’ war of attrition with Jan Blachowicz, and Des Green’s battle with Josh Emmett.

This would have been a great card even without Daniel Cormier’s strong performance in the main event, which ended things on a high note. Just a quality night of fights all around.

Number Three: UFC on FOX 26

The year’s penultimate show was also one of its best, a night so loaded with quality entertainment that Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry didn’t even win “Fight of the Night.”

Alessio Di Chirico and Nordine Taleb’s brutal knockouts highlighted the “Prelims” undercard until Julian Marquez and Darren Stewart tore the place up with a phenomenal back-and-forth brawl, demonstrating a frankly unreasonable amount of grit and durability before Marquez locked up a fight-ending front choke midway through the second.

The main card was a blast from beginning to end. Glover Teixeira opened things with an upset stoppage of Misha Cirkunov, after which the aforementioned Ponzinibbio and Perry tore each other to pieces for 15 minutes in a bloody mess of a scrap. Josh Emmett kept the momentum alive with a one-hit knockout of Ricardo Lamas, although missing weight robbed him of the chance to earn a bonus.

Rafael dos Anjos put his stamp on things with a career-best performance against Robbie Lawler, ending an evening that didn’t get nearly the viewership it deserved. UFC on FOX 26 was a triumph … and it accomplished all of this despite seven fights falling through.

Number Two: UFC 218

This card featured my “Knockout of the Year” and two of my top three “Fights of the Year,” not to mention an engaging and brutal title fight to cap it off.

Aside from the egregious Felice Herrig vs. Cortney Casey match up, the event basically delivered top-to-bottom, showing off quality prospects and entertaining veterans alike. Yancy Medeiros and Alex Oliveira stole the show, only for Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje to steal it right back, only for Francis Ngannou to have a go of his own via nuclear uppercut.

There’s a legit argument that this card deserved the top spot and probably would have gotten on this list even if those three fights had been surrounded by stinkers, but don’t let a second-place finish make you think this was anything but spectacular.

Number One: UFC 217

UFC 218 had one hell of a strong claim to the top spot, but three titles changing hands in dramatic fashion in a single night? Hard to say no to that.

Ricardo Ramos got the show off to a damn hot start on Fight Pass with a spinning elbow knockout of Aiemann Zahabi, just the second of its kind in UFC history. A pair of bizarre endings in Curtis Blaydes vs. Aleksei Oleinik and Mark Godbeer vs. Walt Harris weren’t enough to slow the momentum, especially since Ovince Saint Preux scored a comeback head kick knockout along the way.

Then came the main card, which saw Paulo Costa end Johny Hendricks’ UFC career and Stephen Thompson hand Jorge Masvidal his most definitive defeat in years. Rose Namajunas’ massive upset of Joanna Jedrzejczyk, T.J. Dillashaw’s grueling slugfest with Cody Garbrandt, and Georges St-Pierre’s triumphant return combined to create the year’s most dramatic main card and push this event above its peers.

Here’s hoping this list becomes inaccurate after Saturday, Maniacs, when UFC 219 closes 2017’s combat sports campaign, hopefully, on a high note. Have an awesome holiday!

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UFC/MMA ‘Events of the Year’ 2017 – Top 5 List

The fights are done, the holidays are in full swing, and it’s time to take a look back.

Admittedly, 2017 was kind of terrible in so many ways, but it offered us a bounty of top-notch mixed martial arts (MMA) cards to enjoy during our many evenings and late, late nights. Here are some of the best these past 12 months have had to offer.

Honorable Mentions: Invicta 21, UFC on FOX 24, UFC on FOX 23

Number Five: UFC 211

To be fair, Dave Branch vs. Krzysztof Jotko was terrible. Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal was, well, a Maia fight and Cortney Casey vs. Jessica Aguilar was more confusing than anything else.

The rest? Rad as hell.

Chase Sherman vs. Rashad Coulter was one of the year’s best donnybrooks, Jason Knight vs. Chas Skelly was a terrific scrap, and Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier was fun for the nine minutes it lasted. Even before that, Gadzhimurad Antigulov’s submission of Joachim Christensen and Enrique Barzola vs. Gabriel Benitez opened the night in style.

Over on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card, Frankie Edgar delivered a top-tier beating to Yair Rodriguez, Joanna Jedrzejczyk put on a masterclass against Jessica Andrade, and Stipe Miocic avenged his loss to Junior dos Santos in emphatic fashion.

A few mediocre fights couldn’t erase the entertainment those battles generated. Not bad at all.

Number Four: UFC 210

There really wasn’t a bad fight on this card aside from the opener between Magomed Bibulatov and Jenel Lausa, which was a little too one-sided to be truly entertaining. UFC 210 featured a healthy mix of competitive decisions and decisive finishes, plus whatever the hell Gegard Mousasi vs. Chris Weidman was, and featured breakout performances from top prospects Gregor Gillespie, Shane Burgos and Kamaru Usman.

There was also Charles Oliveira’s upset submission of Will Brooks, Patrick Cummins’ war of attrition with Jan Blachowicz, and Des Green’s battle with Josh Emmett.

This would have been a great card even without Daniel Cormier’s strong performance in the main event, which ended things on a high note. Just a quality night of fights all around.

Number Three: UFC on FOX 26

The year’s penultimate show was also one of its best, a night so loaded with quality entertainment that Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry didn’t even win “Fight of the Night.”

Alessio Di Chirico and Nordine Taleb’s brutal knockouts highlighted the “Prelims” undercard until Julian Marquez and Darren Stewart tore the place up with a phenomenal back-and-forth brawl, demonstrating a frankly unreasonable amount of grit and durability before Marquez locked up a fight-ending front choke midway through the second.

The main card was a blast from beginning to end. Glover Teixeira opened things with an upset stoppage of Misha Cirkunov, after which the aforementioned Ponzinibbio and Perry tore each other to pieces for 15 minutes in a bloody mess of a scrap. Josh Emmett kept the momentum alive with a one-hit knockout of Ricardo Lamas, although missing weight robbed him of the chance to earn a bonus.

Rafael dos Anjos put his stamp on things with a career-best performance against Robbie Lawler, ending an evening that didn’t get nearly the viewership it deserved. UFC on FOX 26 was a triumph … and it accomplished all of this despite seven fights falling through.

Number Two: UFC 218

This card featured my “Knockout of the Year” and two of my top three “Fights of the Year,” not to mention an engaging and brutal title fight to cap it off.

Aside from the egregious Felice Herrig vs. Cortney Casey match up, the event basically delivered top-to-bottom, showing off quality prospects and entertaining veterans alike. Yancy Medeiros and Alex Oliveira stole the show, only for Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje to steal it right back, only for Francis Ngannou to have a go of his own via nuclear uppercut.

There’s a legit argument that this card deserved the top spot and probably would have gotten on this list even if those three fights had been surrounded by stinkers, but don’t let a second-place finish make you think this was anything but spectacular.

Number One: UFC 217

UFC 218 had one hell of a strong claim to the top spot, but three titles changing hands in dramatic fashion in a single night? Hard to say no to that.

Ricardo Ramos got the show off to a damn hot start on Fight Pass with a spinning elbow knockout of Aiemann Zahabi, just the second of its kind in UFC history. A pair of bizarre endings in Curtis Blaydes vs. Aleksei Oleinik and Mark Godbeer vs. Walt Harris weren’t enough to slow the momentum, especially since Ovince Saint Preux scored a comeback head kick knockout along the way.

Then came the main card, which saw Paulo Costa end Johny Hendricks’ UFC career and Stephen Thompson hand Jorge Masvidal his most definitive defeat in years. Rose Namajunas’ massive upset of Joanna Jedrzejczyk, T.J. Dillashaw’s grueling slugfest with Cody Garbrandt, and Georges St-Pierre’s triumphant return combined to create the year’s most dramatic main card and push this event above its peers.

Here’s hoping this list becomes inaccurate after Saturday, Maniacs, when UFC 219 closes 2017’s combat sports campaign, hopefully, on a high note. Have an awesome holiday!

MMAmania.com – All Posts

UFC/MMA ‘Fighter of the Year’ 2017 – Top 5 List

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is — by its very nature — an extremely volatile sport, but nobody could have predicted how much the landscape would shift in 2017. Champions rose, legends fell, and both the old and new generations set the stage for a brilliantly tumultuous future. Nobody stood out quite like these five, though.

Honorable Mentions: Rafael dos Anjos, Francis Ngannou, Brian Ortega, Martin Nguyen, Darren Till

Number Five: Volkan Oezdemir

UFC 214 Jimmy Manua vs.  Volkan Oezdemir
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Whether or not Oezdemir topples Daniel Cormier next month, he came out of nowhere to have an incredible 2017.

He started off by stepping up on two weeks’ notice to defeat Ovince Saint Preux by unanimous decision. The decision was admittedly iffy, with 14 of 16 media members scoring it for “OSP,” and the bookies accordingly listed him as a 3:1 underdog against Misha Cirkunov.

Cirkunov — who had stopped four consecutive UFC opponents — was expected to overpower the Swiss striker with his Greco-Roman skills. Instead, Oezdemir lamped him in 28 seconds with a boop to the ear. Jimi Manuwa fared exactly six seconds worse, providing Oezdemir a new nom de guerre: “No Time.” Three wins over top Light Heavyweight fighters in the span of six months, two of which lasted a combined 0:58. I think that’s enough to earn a place on this list.

Number Four: Rose Namajunas

UFC 217: Jedrzejczyk v Namajunas
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Rose Namajunas had built a career out of incredible moments, but her lack of consistency and champion Joanna Jerdzejczyk’s overwhelming dominance left “Thug Rose” one of the larger underdogs on UFC 217. Sure, she’d dropped and choked out Michelle Waterson in April, but she was just two fights removed from a rough loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz and her prior victory over Tecia Torres could have easily gone “The Tiny Tornado’s” way.

Namajunas’ only avenue of victory, it appeared, lay in her venomous submission game, but she’d have to take Jedrzejczyk down and keep here there. Neither Cláuda Gadelha nor Jéssica Andrade had been able to do so and they looked like far stronger wrestlers than Namajunas.

So Rose just knocked Jedrzejczyk flat with a left hook instead. Props for lateral thinking!

She’s got another row with Jedrzejczyk ahead of her before she can move on, but Namajunas made an incredible impression in 2017, one that deserves recognition

Number Three: Demetrious Johnson

UFC Fight Night: Johnson v Reis
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Demetrious Johnson happily grappled with two Brazilian jiu-jitsu aces this year and submitted them both. That is how freakishly good this man is.

I’m sure you’ve had your fill of superlatives about “Mighty Mouse,” but he absolutely deserves them. Wilson Reis is a former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion (at brown belt) who had never been submitted as a professional and Ray Borg is a scrambling prodigy who’s huge for the division. Johnson gave them every opportunity to show their skills, then easily dominated them anyway.

And Dana White’s claiming he can’t market this guy?

Number Two: Robert Whittaker

UFC 221 Perth Workouts
Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images

Going into 2017, the Middleweight division had two boogeymen: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yoel Romero, who had run roughshod over all comers save each other and struggled to get the top match ups they deserved. Whittaker, who got to UFC through a filler season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and had two losses at Welterweight in the organization, fought them both in succession.

Against “Jacare,” Whittaker managed to dislodge the jiu-jitsu legend from his back and systematically dismantle him before putting him away with a vicious head kick. Souza had won 10 of his previous eleven dating back to 2011, throttling the likes of Gegard Mousasi and giving Yoel Romero his toughest UFC out, but had zero answers for “Bobby Knuckles.”

Then came Romero.

“Soldier of God” has the sort of athletic prowess you expect out of a fighting game boss the players aren’t supposed to be able to use without hacking. He’s so fast that it looks like the laws of physics are struggling to keep up with him when he explodes. If the man could get any traction on the cage floor he’d be unstoppable.

Whittaker, after a rough couple rounds, beat him on one leg.

“The Reaper” is entertaining, powerful, young and has another potential “Fight of the Year” lined up against Luke Rockhold. Mad, mad props.

Number One: Max Holloway

UFC 218: Holloway v Aldo
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Ordinarily, spending your year fighting the same guy twice isn’t enough to get the top spot. When that guy is Jose Aldo and you make him look pedestrian, though, that’s another story.

Of all the fighters to earn a belt this year, Holloway has my highest hopes for establishing a dynasty. Jose Aldo is a technician of the highest caliber and Holloway took him apart twice in a row.

And he’s a measly 26 years old. His potential is so far off the charts that a five-man belay team couldn’t climb high enough to see the top. Nobody did more in 2017 to stake their claim as the future of the sport.

My expectation? He’ll be back in this top spot more than once.

UFC has fewer dynasties than ever right now, and that means some quality drama in store for 2018 when this new crop of champions gets to show their mettle. Can’t wait!

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Achtung, Baby: UFC/MMA Returns to German TV

You may not know it from the UFC’s marketing of the bout, which is centered almost 100% around his opponent. But German featherweight Dennis Siver headlines UFC Fight Night 59 later this month in Boston, against Conor McGregor. Siver may be a substantial betting underdog, but he boasts a 22-9-1 record, and may be getting […]

The post Achtung, Baby: UFC/MMA Returns to German TV appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Latest UFC/MMA rankings (welterweight), Dec. 2014: Log-jam up top at 170 pounds heading into 2015

It’s crowded at the top.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has quite the log-jam atop its Welterweight division heading into 2015. That’s because Robbie Lawler is the new 170-pound champion, taking a close decision over Johny Hendricks in their rematch at UFC 181 earlier this month (watch video highlights here).

The result left company president Dana White in a quandary because he all but guaranteed the next title shot to Rory MacDonald (read more on that here) after he knocked out Tarec Saffiedine in the main event of UFC Fight Night 54. But, an immediate trilogy match between “Ruthless” and “Bigg Rigg” might be too good to pass up.

Lawler likes that idea better, too.

We’ll find out sooner than later. Meanwhile, it will give the rest of UFC’s division time to sort itself out with the return of Carlos Condit and the rise of Kelvin Gastelum, among other notables. Of course, UFC is not the only game in town, with Bellator MMA and World Series of Fighting (WSOF) talent also represented.

Your friends at MMAmania.com, MMA Fighting and Bloody Elbow have gone global to compile a list of the 10 best fighters at 145 pounds, no matter where they compete, and this is what they came up with to close out the month of November.

Check it out:

1. Robbie Lawler
2. Johny Hendricks
2. Rory MacDonald
4. Tyron Woodley
5. Carlos Condit
6. Hector Lombard
7. Ben Askren
7. Matt Brown
9. Jake Shields
10. Kelvin Gastelum

Seems about right, right? To see how this list compares to the “official” UFC rankings click here.

Thoughts?

You’ve heard from us, Maniacs, now let’s hear from you. Top 10 Welterweight fighters are…

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Latest UFC/MMA rankings (featherweight), Nov. 2014: Edgar and McGregor climb 145-pound charts

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), suddenly, has quite an exciting Featherweight division. And, at least according to 145-pound standout, Frankie Edgar, the weight class can thank Conor McGregor for its recent rise in popularity.

Let’s be real!

So then it should come as no surprise that “Notorious” finally cracked the Top 10 rankings. Sure, it helps to knockoff a stalwart or two like Dustin Poirier on his climb to the top, but his loose lips and bravado are invaluable intangibles. Edgar, meanwhile, tucked a huge mixed martial arts (MMA) feather in his cap thanks to his record-setting submission over former No. 1 contender, Cub Swanson, at UFC Fight Night 57 (watch video highlights here).

With division champion Jose Aldo fresh off another big, albeit close, win over Chad Mendes at UFC 179 last month (watch video highlights here), it would seemingly make sense for McGregor and Edgar to collide in a No. 1 contender eliminator match.

But, UFC booked McGregor against un-ranked veteran Dennis Siver for the UFC Fight Night 59 main event in Jan. 2015 (see fight card here). And Edgar isn’t so sure the Irishman has done enough inside the Octagon to merit a match up so soon.

So, uh, whatever! Let’s just pretend we think we know who is better instead.

Your friends at MMAmania.com, MMA Fighting and Bloody Elbow have gone global to compile a list of the 10 best fighters at 145 pounds, no matter where they compete, and this is what they came up with to close out the month of November.

Check it out:

1. Jose Aldo
2. Frankie Edgar
2. Chad Mendes
4. Ricardo Lamas
5. Cub Swanson
6. Conor McGregor
7. Patricio Freire
8. Dennis Bermudez
9. Dustin Poirier
10. Jeremy Stephens

Seems about right, right? To see how this list compares to the “official” UFC rankings click here.

Thoughts?

You’ve heard from us, Maniacs, now let’s hear from you. Top 10 Featherweight fighters are…

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Latest UFC/MMA rankings (pound-for-pound), Oct. 2014: Ronda Rousey pulls even with Anderson Silva

“The Spider” hanging on by a thread.

Who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in all of mixed martial arts (MMA)?

That would be reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight kingpin Jon “Bones” Jones, who drew first-place finishes across the board in the most recent SB Nation rankings, as compiled by MMAmania.com, MMA Fighting, and Bloody Elbow.

Nipping at his heels is featherweight titleholder Jose “Junior” Aldo, while flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson rounds out the top three. Things get a bit murky from there, and I blame Mania’s own Alex Schlinsky, who is wielding his newfound voting sword with reckless abandon.

See for yourself.

p4p oct 2014

1. Jon Jones
2. Jose Aldo
3. Demetrious Johnson
4. Cain Velasquez
5. Chris Weidman
6. Anthony Pettis
7. Johny Hendricks
8. TJ Dillashaw
9. Ronda Rousey
9. Anderson Silva

Tie!

To see how the SB Nation list compares to the “official” UFC rankings click here.

Thoughts?

You’ve heard from us, Maniacs, now let’s hear from you. Top 10 pound-for-pound fighters are…

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Latest UFC/MMA rankings (Middleweight), July 2014: Lyoto Machida climbs to No. 2 spot thanks to gritty loss

Hespect! Following another insane month of televised cagefighting, the SB Nation combat sports brain trust was compelled to tally votes and come up with the 10 best 185-pound fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA) today. Have a look below!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) helped reshuffle the 185-pound rankings in the wake of its flurry of events (six) between UFC Fight Night 42 in early June and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 Finale last weekend, the marquee match of the lot a Middleweight championship that featured division champion Chris Weidman against former Light Heavyweight kingpin, Lyoto Machida.

And not top-ranked contender Vitor Belfort, who had to pull his name from the UFC 175 hat because he is weening himself of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). He is also currently unlicensed to compete in the United States, which is the reason he is not included on this latest rankings list.

Even if he is penciled in to take on “All American” next … maybe.

That left room for someone to creep into the top 10 this month, C.B. Dollaway, who has won back-to-back matches and four of his last five appearances.

Let’s take a closer look at the rest of the mixed martial arts (MMA) Middleweight field, sorted by the SB Nation rankings panel — compiled by MMAmania.com, MMA Fighting and Bloody Elbow — to close out the months of June/July:

Middleweight_table__07-10-2014__medium

1. Chris Weidman
2. Lyoto Machida
3. Ronaldo Souza
4. Anderson Silva
5. Luke Rockhold
6. Tim Kennedy
6. Gegard Mousasi
8. Yushin Okami
9. Michael Bisping
10. C.B. Dollaway

To see how this list compares to the “official” UFC rankings click here.

Thoughts?

You’ve heard from us, Maniacs, now let’s hear from you. Top 10 Middleweight weight fighters are …

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UFC/MMA Top 5 ‘Fights of the Year’ in 2013

What do Brown vs. Mein, Silva vs. Stann, Alvarez vs. Chandler 2, Jones vs. Gustafsson and Hunt vs. Silva all have in common? They all combined to deliver some of the most memorable mixed martial arts (MMA) fights in 2013, which are all worthy of continued discussion and praise.

What better way to celebrate the love and brotherhood of the holiday season than by examining the best times two men inflicted traumatic brain injury on one another?

2013 was a gold mine for terrific fights, featuring quality scraps in all divisions. If I wasn’t such a lazy prick, I’d be tempted to make this a Top 10 instead. Unfortunately, I am, in fact, a lazy prick, so you can instead derive additional enjoyment from people in the comments section complaining that their favorite bout was not included.

Don’t lie to me … I know my audience! Especially since I’m not including Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez because it was entirely one-sided save for one good punch from “The Dream” in the third.

5. Matt Brown puts the Young Gun on safety

070_jordan_mein_vs_matt_brown_medium

Honestly, I’m somewhat surprised this UFC on FOX 7 firecracker hasn’t gotten more attention. Matt Brown vs. Jordan Mein was not only a terrific fight, it was an incredibly interesting stylistic match up. Mein is one of the Welterweight division’s best boxers, while Brown has what Jack Slack calls “a gift for violence,” showcasing terrific creativity in his opportunistic assault.

All of that was on display here, Brown’s relentless offense suffocating Mein’s calculated boxing attack early on. Mein fought back with a brilliant liver shot partway through the round, hurting him more than any other of “The Immortal’s” foes.

Eventually, though, Brown beat him down in the clinch. Despite his loss, though, I’m anxious to see where the 24-year-old goes from here … just as I’m excited for Brown’s next brawl.

4. Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann trade Purple Hearts

Silva-stann_medium

I had three criteria for making this list:

  1. The fight must showcase solid technique.
  2. The fight must be competitive.
  3. The fight must be violent.

The UFC on FUEL TV 8 main event didn’t quite fulfill the first one, but nailed the latter two. Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann beat the living hell out of each other.

For the first five minutes, they repeatedly traded knockdowns, winging power shots with reckless abandon. Both landed over 50 percent of the shots they threw, landing 55 power strikes between them in the first.

After what is likely the “Round of the Year,” things slowed down somewhat, Wanderlei reverting to the counter-oriented style he’s recently employed. It paid dividends late in the second as he crushed Stann with a huge counter right, pounding him out cold shortly thereafter.

Hats off to both men. Nicely done.

3. Eddie Alvarez comes back with a vengeance

014_eddie_alvarez_vs_michael_chandler_medium

When Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler first locked horns, they put together one of the best fights of 2011, Chandler’s power and speed eventually overwhelming Alvarez’s slick boxing technique to secure a fourth-round submission.

Chandler proceeded to defend his belt three times, all by one-sided stoppage. This massive improvement, plus the fact that Alvarez was out of action for more than one year because of legal issues, meant most expected the rematch to be just a tad less competitive.

Wrong.

While it may not have been quite as high-octane as the first time around, the two engaged in an exciting tactical showdown at Bellator 106, Alvarez’s superior footwork winning exchanges against Chandler’s speed and power after two close rounds. If he won the third, though , Chandler owned the fourth, battering the flagging Alvarez with vicious ground-and-pound.

Impressively, the former champ still had enough in the tank, turning in a solid fifth round to earn the split decision upset win. You could hear the steam leaving Bjorn’s ears from miles away.

2. Alexander Gustafsson (almost?) pillages Jon Jones’ title

215_jon_jones_vs_alexander_gustafsson_medium

When watching the promos for this UFC 165 main event match, you got the sense that the UFC knew it wasn’t fooling anyone. Its hype for Gustafsson revolved almost entirely around his size and not any aspect of his actual fighting ability. Many expected a short night of work for the reigning champ.

It was, instead, a long and painful night.

Gustafsson turned in the performance of a lifetime, becoming the first man in UFC history to take down “Bones,” landing more power shots than most of Jones’ previous foes combined. Jones would not go down without a fight, however, battling back to take control of the latter portion of the bout with powerful elbows and head kicks. In the fourth, he landed one of the gnarliest strikes of the year, a spinning back elbow that wrenched Gustafsson’s neck to an uncomfortable angle.

Incredibly, the durable Swede didn’t go down, surviving to give a competitive fifth round. In the eyes of many, he’d toppled the king, but unfortunately had to settle for merely being the closest win of Jones’ career.

Let’s do it again. Soon.

1. Hunt and Bigfoot go to war

Zuffa_llc_via_getty_images_medium

The Heavyweight slobberknocker between Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva at UFC Fight Night 33 was simply a tremendous fight in every sense of the word. “Bigfoot” owned the first two rounds with an uncharacteristically tactical approach, using his superior reach to frustrate the counter-seeking Hunt. He even showed a powerful kicking game, buckling the durable kickboxer with powerful blows to the leg.

Then Hunt did something unexpected, taking down the giant and eventually dropping him with a tremendous right hand. Undeterred, “Bigfoot” battered him in the fourth after reversing a takedown, unloading the ground-and-pound the once felled Fedor Emelianenko before stamina forced a reprieve and allowed Hunt to survive.

Hunt fired everything in the fifth, landing power shot after power shot on an opponent that refused to wilt. Amazingly, Silva saw the final bell and both men walked away with a well-deserved draw (later ruled a “No Contest” because Silva’s TRT levels were too high).

Take a bow, gents, as soon as you’ve got the wind to do so.

Poll
What was your Fight of the Year for 2013?












  822 votes | Results

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Best of the Best: MMAmania.com’s UFC/MMA week in review (9/29/13)

Welcome, Maniacs, to the sixty-third edition of “This Week in MMAmania.com.”

MMAmania is a gigantic and glorious place and we pump out a ridiculous amount of content. If you don’t refresh this site every 60 minutes, you might just miss something amazing.

Have no fear, that’s what this weekly article is all about! We’ll recap the best of all things MMAmania, whether it be a great comment, FanPost, article, video or something else.

Rousey_medium

Comment of the week: So, Mama Ronda Rousey appeared on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18: “Rousey vs. Tate” on Wednesday evening, and in anticipation of that appearance, Mania writer Jesse Holland dutifully sought out the blog of Ann Maria Rousey DeMars. In her blog she wrote about her appearance on the show, shooting back at fans who called her daughter a “crybaby.”

And the “fans” didn’t take too kindly to her scolding:

sorry mrs. Rousey but you little girl is a phsyco-brat cry baby — biggant

Ah heck, this week is a first place tie for best comment, because another Maniac nails it lower down in the thread comments:

Proof that being annoying is hereditary. — Armando Baez

Honorable mention comment of the week: Personally, I was giddily delighted when Yushin Okami was cut from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) despite the fact he’s clearly among the Top 10, if not top five, Middleweight fighters in the world, rather recently competing for a world title. He’s kind of a grinder with no power and little flash. But, not all fans felt the same, which is understandable.

After all, we have a diversity of opinion here at MMAmania.com (even some silly people who think Carlos Condit actually beat Nick Diaz, if you can believe that one):

That is just one aspect of why this was a poor decision. Dana White says Okami “couldn’t get over the hump,” meanwhile he’s 3-1 in his last four, with wins over Belcher & Lombard, both of whom were being pushed as potential title contenders at the time.

Sure, he got stormed & put away by Tim Boetsch, but it was a fight that he was clearly winning. Prior to this, his first loss in sometime was his title fight with Anderson Silva.

Okami has been a perennial contender for years, and worked twice as hard as most for his title shot, as the UFC clearly didn’t want to give him one. So, yes, he’s been a gatekeeper in the sense that he knocks off a bunch of contenders to whom the UFC would rather grant a title shot, but unfortunately for them, can’t stop the takedown consistently enough to deserve one.

The UFC was once about the best fighting the best. Now, they’d rather cut a top ten fighter because they don’t like his style, while keeping guys who will never come close to a title shot, but fight like they’re in a bar. Sure, wrestling can be boring to watch at times, but it’s supposed to be a SPORT. MMA was built upon a concept that welcomed all styles, not just the ones that were aesthetically pleasing. Thanks. — Joey 121

Good comment Joey. It actually sounds like you wanted to write a blog post about this based on how long it was.

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Speaking of which, it’s time for our Fanpost of the Week: A late entry by the nicest guy on MMAmania.com (may as well just give him the Scottidog good guy award every week), just in case you feel like you don’t spend enough time with fellow Maniacs, you can always hook up via the latest, greatest violent blood-letting video game. Not only does this post give you a chance to network with other people who have the same homicidal tendencies, reading the comments could not give you a better sense of the close-knit community that exists here.

Our Article of the Week is also a kind of late-breaker: Look, I know these things are all subjective and you might think something else is more worthy of attention (and if so, e-mail me next time), but Jesse Holland‘s breakdown of everything that’s going on in the UFC’s constitutional challenge to New York state’s ban on mixed martial arts (MMA) can be found within. There’s also some considerably interesting discussion in the comments, too.

Interview of the Week: Not that the interview itself is mindblowing, but Jesse Holland (that guy AGAIN!) shared an excerpt from our “fine friends over at MMA Fighting” regarding the real reason Anderson Silva lost to Chris Weidman at UFC 162. Not only did it lead to a lot of groaning and moaning in the comments section, it produced one of the finest placed .gifs in the history of the Interwebs:

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Speaking of gifs, the .gif of the week has to be Joe Warren’s spectacularly bad spinning back kick from last week’s Bellator 101:

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Photoshop of the Week: It was a good week to be a fan of funny photoshops around here, mainly because OilCheck went a little bit overboard and spent many an hour inserting faces in places they shouldn’t be. The best result comes at the expense of Chuck Liddell, inspired by his comments about Georges St. Pierre being a really boring fighter:

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If you can’t get enough of Photoshops, OilCheck created two fanposts dedicated to them. The first one involves fellow Maniacs (share your photo at your own risk and peril) and the second is devoted entirely to Mike Pierce, who looks ridiculous:

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Statistic of the Week: The No. 1 most read article on MMAmania.com this past week was Dana White’s explanation for canning Yushin Okami (It actually might be this, pending official verification).

Video of the Week: I know that everybody wanted to see the real/fake video of Chael Sonnen being confronted by Wanderlei Silva (who just happened to have a video recording up right away and just happened to have people holding him back and just happened to have a prepared speech about it), but it’s not my pick of the week. No, that honour goes to a relatively obscure Slovenian fight, which quickly turns into a bloodbath:

Time for our Burn of the Week: This one is a little cruel, but if it wasn’t then it wouldn’t quite be an MMAmania.com classic, would it? First the context: Floyd Mayweather is apparently using the path of prayer to help Anderson Silva in his much anticipated rematch with champion Chris Weidman. Religion talk led to mention of the Amish, which of course led to Court McGee ‘s beard-ly resemblance.

That led to this:

his most impressive victory
Was over heroin addiction. – christophermun

But, seriously, kids, heroin is not a laughing matter.

Bravest/dumbest comment of the week: I literally made up this category because I have to give props to OilCheck for daring to challenge 265-pound monster Travis Browne to a fight, with the winner taking his girlfriend Jenna Renee. Not only did Jenna take the bait, she cut Travis from the conversation:

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That’s a winking heart-shaped kiss she’s blowing at OilCheck, in case you can’t make it out. As for Jenna, she’s a good segue into our …

Obligatory TNA of the Week: Jenna Renee is a fitness model and personal fitness trainer with a kickin’ bod. And if you don’t believe me, drop the name into Google or Bing:

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Now that I’ve plugged OilCheck’s Twitter account (viewer discretion greatly advised), it’s time for our #MMAmania Tweet of the Week:

If you want to catch any good tweets from your Mania writers, here are our accounts: Thomas Myers, Jesse Holland, Matthew Roth, Adam Guillen Jr., C.J. Tuttle, Andrew Richardson, George Halvatsis Jr., Michael Stets, Jason Probst and Cory Braiterman.

Let’s finish this week’s “Best of the Best” off with a little friendly debate, as per usual. Which overrated knockout machine is more likely to leave town after Chris Leben throws down with Uriah Hall? Leben used to be one of my most favorite fighters in the world, but years of abuse to his body has left him slow, plodding and on a huge losing streak (four losses in his past five fights).

But Uriah Hall seems cursed since joining UFC, losing a split decision to the undersized Kelvin Gastelum (who has since dropped down to 170 pounds) and following that up with another split decision to John Howard.

The good news is that Chris Leben is the last guy in the world likely to take him down, so unless Hall double legs “The Crippler,” this should be a #bangfest.

That’s it for this week. Did I miss something? Were you hoping to see an article, blog post, or photos that didn’t get in? Well then email me.

No, seriously, email me: unambig at gmail.com.

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