Wednesday, December 29, 2010

FIGHT BLOG: Year End Awards 2010

With the end of the year coming on Friday, most every MMA pundit is doing their "Best of" awards. I am joining in this fun. Here are the categories for this year:
Fight of the year; Fighter of the year (Male, Female); Upset of the year; KO of the year; Submission of the year; Card girl of the year; Card of the year

So with that, here we go!

Female Fighter of the Year
Runner-up: Sarah Kaufman

Winner: Cris Cyborg Santos

It's not the wins that put Cyborg over her welterweight counterpart, but rather it was her domination. Cyborg never appeared to be in any danger in any of the fights she was in, and at times looked like she could destroy her husband, who will be receiving an undeserved (in my view) title shot early next year.

Male Fighter of the Year
3rd place: Anderson Silva
Runner-up: Georges St. Pierre
Winner: Jose Aldo

There were some absolutely dominant performances this year, so to decide between three champions who went undefeated, the only option is to look at excitement and improvement. Silva's latest fight with Chael Sonnen was one of the most compelling fights of the year, but it cost him in his dominance, which takes away some of the mystique he once had. GSP was dominant all year, but while he appeared even more dominant than before, his fights lacked a level of excitement.
Aldo is one of the few guys who is able to dominate and still be exciting in the process. More importantly, he has developed from a fresh new champion in WEC to a top-three pound-for-pound and the first UFC Featherweight Champion.

Submission of the Year
3rd Place: Mark Bocek d. Justin Hazelett (UFC 124 - Triangle choke from top position)
Runner-up: Fabricio Werdum d. Fedor Emelianenko (Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum - Triangle/Armbar)
Winner: Anderson Silva d. Chael Sonnen (UFC 117 - Triangle/Armbar)

OK, so third place I put in simply based on the level of respect I have for a guy who would go for a triangle while having a full mount. It was truly innovative. Second place was significant in that it ended one of the most dominant reigns in MMA history.

Ultimately, though, Silva gets the win for the absolute, out-of-nowhere feeling that Silva had by getting through that fight. It was one of the submissions that truly showed Silva's technique and resolve.

Knockout of the Year
Third place: Rich Franklin d. Chuck Liddell (UFC 115)
Runner-up: Anthony Njokuani d. Chris Horodecki (WEC 45)
Winner: Mauricio Rua d. Lyoto Machida (UFC 113)

Knockouts happen quite often in MMA, so the only way to separate them is by their significance, at least in my view. Therefore, the UFC Light Heavyweight title puts Shogun's win just above Njokuani, who probably had the most unique knockout of the year by kicking Horodecki while he was running away.

Ring Card Girl of the Year
Runner-up: Arianny Celeste
Winner: Brittney Palmer
Congrats to Palmer, who not only appeared on every Zuffa-owned WEC card ever, but who now is UFC's newest ring girl. Not a bad finish to the year.

Card of the Year
3rd place: Strikeforce: Miami
Runner-up: WEC 48
Winner: UFC 116

All three cards were stacked, but this was by far UFC's best card of the year. Between Lesnar-Carwin, Leben-Akiyama and Bonnar-Soszynski, the card was strong from top to bottom. Add in the fact that it did it all with half the title fights as the second- and third-place cards, and you've got to be impressed.

Fight of the Year:
3rd Place: Leonard Garcia vs. Chan-Sung Jung
Runner-up: Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen
Winner: Anthony Pettis vs. Benson Henderson

Oddly, the last card of the year in the United States had the best fight of the year. A completely balanced fight for four rounds, a highlight reel moment in the final round, and a title shot in the UFC on the line all contributed to the interest in the fight. It also didn't hurt that the technique and excitement was nearly non-stop thanks to multiple near-finishes.

Stay tuned for a UFC 125 preview!!!

No comments: