Its kinda of a general statement that is said really about all fights, anything can happen in MMA, and its said so much you don't really think about what it means. This year has proved to me what it really means.....on any given day even a fighter you are sure will win....can absolutely lose. I will take a look at some big fights this year that proved just that.
I think most of us saw this as a fight to get Rashad Evans back on track and while some us may have even thought it would be competitive I thought many of us saw a Nog win as a real possibility. At least for me personally, even with how useless Jones looked against Rashad Evans it was clear he was still the Number 2 LHW. If this year wouldn;t have been the year of the upsets and proof anything can happen, this would easily have been an upset of the year contender.
This fight is the pick for upset of the year...its not close....I think the fans pretty much favored Anderson to retain and rightfully so, even with what looks like the perfect set of skills to beat Anderson, Chis was relatively unproven. But on the fighters side, so many fighters amongst them GSP felt confident enough enough to pick Weidman as the favorite before the fight...citing a near perfect set of skills and past experiences in training as reasons why Weidman would take the fight. So when the cage door shut and Chris Weidman came out quick in Round 1 and got things to floor quickly and look comfortable the fighters themselves probably felt pretty damn reassured, but once Anderson got back to his feet he showed almost no respect for Chris's stand up skills, cranking up the taunting to about a 10 and Weidman would take full advantage of that and finishing Anderson in the most shocking fight of the year for me personally.
Jones vs Gustafsson- UFC 165
This was close to being upset of the year contender, but Jones would rally late to do just enough to take his title back. On paper most people questioned why this fight was happening, add in a questionable marking campaign based on height and reach and not on skill at all most thought this would be an easy fight for Jones...or at least significantly easier than what Jones would go through. In a top fight of the year contender Gus showed little fear and took some of the earlier rounds and looked to be on his way to a victory, until late in the 4th Jones would stun Gus and give the fight a different complexion for the rest of the night and Jones would show the meaning of heart of a champion to come from behind and regain his title in a close fight...now we all wait and see if they can both win and give us the rematch we want to see.
Hendricks vs St-Pierre- UFC 167
With a couple of shocking title fights this year we were fully reminded that anything could happen and that Hendricks could win this..and at the end of the day most people thought he won the fight and rightfully so. He showed good boxing and more than that, was not afraid to attack the legs and do more than throw punches, but of course we didn't get to see this in previous fights as much because he only needed to land one punch then. To the shock of most of the MMA fans, pros and media alike, GSP was awarded a decision that probably should have went Hendricks way. The most shocking fight is that most people thought Hendricks would need a KO or he would probably fall prey to a GSP decision and while technically that's right he did much better over the course of 5 rounds than I think anyone could have saw coming.
With honorable mentions to Sonnen submitting Shogun and Pettis subbing Henderson in the firsr round, this year was just proof MMA is a sport where anything can happen, upsets to occur and you can never count anyone out in a fight. Some fighters rose like Hendricks,Gustafsson,Pettis,Nog and Weidman to shock and provide one of the most exciting years in mma, where nothing was as predictable as it seemed.