The 1st Annual M.M.A. Year-End MMA Awards
Hosted by none other than ALar
Everyone and their mother across the Mixed Martial Arts blogosphere is cranking out some sort of year-end award list to commerorate the year that was. I figured I would join the masses and throw out a few of the typical year-end honors as well as a few off the wall accolades. 2012 will likely be remembered for the unfortunate amount of injuries that took place, but even still, we had a pretty kickass year of dudes fighting in cages for our enjoyment. If you stay tuned until the end, I may include a few of my bold predictions for the world of MMA in 2013.
Fight of the Year
- Joe Lauzon v. Jamie Varner at UFC on FOX 4
- Korean Zombie v. Dustin Poirer at UFC on Fuel 3
- Tim Boetsch v. Yushin Okami at UFC 144
- Shogun Rua v. Brandon Vera at UFC on FOX 4
I’ll kick off the awards with the obligatory Fight of the Year award.
Nothing in 2012 had me freaking out like Shogun/Hendo did in 2011, but Mr. Rua’s war with Brandon Vera at UFC on FOX 4 came pretty darn close. We all knew the story leading up to this one, Shogun had just come off that war with Hendo, while Vera was plucked from the bottom of the Light Heavyweight division and thrust into the limelight of a nationally broadcast Main Event. It was expected that Shogun would squash Vera in a quick affair, but the sheer will that Vera exhibited to not go down without a fight was astonishing. The two slugged it out for four rounds in a back and forth scrap, though it was clear Shogun was starting to get the better of the exchanges as the brawl progressed. As soon as you thought Vera was mere moments away from unconsciousness, he would summon the last ounce of his being to mount an attack on Shogun. Vera’s will and Shogun’s ferocity made for great theater on national television and it certainly deserves Fight of the Year recognition.
MMA Podcast of the Year
This is really a two horse race here between Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour and The Co-Main Event hosted by Chad Dundas and Ben Fowlkes. 75 % of the news your read on MMA news sites comes from Helwani’s interviews on the MMA Hour. The show is information packed and ridiculously entertaining. Ariel doesn’t shy away from asking the questions that others are afraid to ask and his relationships with various fighters are amusing on all fronts. I was lucky enough to win a prize on The MMA Hour this year for posing a question to Ariel about how filming TUF will affect Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen’s rivalry.
As good as Ariel’s podcast is, the winner of our Podcast of the Year award is the Co-Main Event. If you imagine two dudes in Montana, drunk, sitting around with their shirts of just sayin’ stuff, that is embodiment of the CME. The hour long show encapsulates MMA related banter between two good friends, Dundas and Fowlkes, perfectly. Not only are you getting high level insight into the sport, but the entertainment factor of the duo’s repartee is off the charts. I was also lucky enough to earn an honorable mention in the CME’s Essay contest this year and got a pretty sweet prize pack to boot. The CME is a must listen for any MMA fan.
Event of the Year
- UFC 144: Henderson v. Edgar (Japan)
- UFC 146: Dos Santos v. Mir
- UFC on FOX 4: Rua v. Vera
- UFC 148: Silva v Sonnen II
Dana White’s plan for UFC 146? Get 10 of the biggest dudes in the organization and throw them all on one Main Card and tell them to slug it out like it is their last day on Earth. The all Heavyweight card struck gold when every fight ended with a finish. From Roy Nelson’s flattening of Dave Herman to Stefan Struves lanky armbar of Lavar Johnson, we were jumping out of our seats at the finish of every fight. And what is better than all around nice guy JDS knocking the snot out of Frank Mir to cap off the night??? Nothing! In an injury plagued year, this heavy weighted card really stood out on all fronts, from entertainment to quality of fights, nothing topped UFC 146.
Fighter of the Year
- Benson Henderson
- Cub Swanson
- Ronda Rousey
- Anderson Silva
- Stefan Struve
- Jon Jones
This award isn’t as clear cut as it has been in past years. You could go with Benson Henderson or Jon Jones for defending their titles twice this year, but as you know, I’m a fan of fighters that finish fights. Therefore my Fighter of the Year is none other than… STEFAN SRUVE! What??!! You are undoubtedly wondering why the #$%^ does Stefan Struve deserve FOTY honors??? In my mind, no fighter has improved his status within the hierarchy of his division better than the Skyscraper… Struve began the year with a vicious KO of BJJ fan Dave Herman and followed it up three months later with a technical armbar victory over Lavar Johnson. The massive Swede then earned Main Event duty when he was pitted against fellow up and comer Stipe Miocic in England. Struve managed to finish Stipe in the second round with a series of punches and ‘The Skyscraper’ managed to move himself closer to title contention. At the beginning of the year, many considered Struve a mere freakshow act that didn’t pose much of a threat in the division, but with 3 solid finishes in 2012, Stefan Struve put the world on notice that he is a contender for the Heavyweight strap in years to come.
ALar’s WTF! Moment of the Year
- Batista makes his MMA debut
- Chael Sonnen’s attempted spinning backfist against Anderson Silva at UFC 148
- UFC 151… ’nuff said.
Why Chael? Why??? Sonnen dominated Anderson in the first round of their highly anticipated rematch at UFC 148, but in the second round, the Gangster from West Linn came out
swinging spinning. Chael threw an awkward spinning back elbow/fist that ended with Sonnen losing his balance and exposing his mug to Silva and the deadly weapons Anderson calls appendages. Sonnen was famously TKO’d after the fall and left many wondering why the #$%^ he attempted the strike in the first place. In videos released after the fight, Chael can be seen practicing the technique relentlessly with his coaches. Did no one have the heart to tell him that attempting to out strike ‘The Spider’ may not be in his best interest? Who knows, but Chael spinning into Anderson’s web is my WTF! moment of 2012.
Predictions for 2013
Provided the world doesn’t end tomorrow, I would recommend you head to Vegas, or your local wise guy, and bet the farm on my BOLD MMA predictions coming true for 2013.
You want to know who the UFC Champions will be at the end of 2013? Let me take a look at my crystal ball…
Women’s Division: Ronda Rousey
Flyweight: John Dodson
Bantamweight: Dominick Cruz will not defend his belt in 2013, Renan Barao retains his Interim belt through the year.
Featherweight: Frankie Edgar
Lightweight: Gilbert Melendez
Welterweight: Georges St. Pierre
Middleweight: Anderson Silva
Light Heavyweight: Dan Henderson… loses the belt to Daniel Cormier at annual the end of year show.
Heavyweight: Alistair Overeem
-Anderson Silva won’t fight Jon Jones or Georges St. Pierre in 2013, but he will fight Michael Bisping, in England.
-Rory MacDonald refuses to fight GSP, moves to Middleweight.
-Dan Henderson will fight for the Light Heavyweight title, and win it.
-After losing to Hendo, Jon Jones moves to Heavyweight.
-BJ Penn comes out of retirement for a fight at 155 lbs., against Nate Diaz.
-Big Nog does not retire, but states he will only fight in Brazil.
-And last, but not least, Rampage Jackson stays true to his word and leaves the UFC and signs with Bellator.
I hope you all were as entertained by this year of MMA as I was, and patiently waiting for the promising year of dudes fighting in cages that awaits us in 2013!