2013 has been a good year for combat sports fans thus far. We might only be a quarter of the way through the year, but we've been witness to a bevy of wars in the cage and the ring. Some were on the undercard, with names you might only know in passing. Some involved big names and were seen by many. It doesn't really matter though - they were all super entertaining.
In my opinion it's never too early to review some of the best of the year so far, so I'm going to list off a few of my favorites from boxing and MMA and you're going to vote on them. Seems pretty simple right? Here we go!
Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann, UFC on Fuel TV 8 - While it wasn't exactly a technical masterpiece, both men came forward with everything they had and engaged in an awesome brawl that saw each guy get dropped multiple times. In the end though, The Axe Murderer emerged victorious.
Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov - Provodnikov came into the fight fairly unknown, but he battered the man that beat Manny Pacquiao all over the ring for two rounds with Bradley barely holding onto consciousness. Somehow Bradley recovered and outboxed the Russian for a while, but still ate big shots. In the final round Provodnikov got to Bradley again, putting him down with 10 seconds to go. But Bradley got up and won a close decision.
Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson, UFC on Fox 6 - Speed was on display when two of the top flyweights in the world went at it for five rounds. Dodson dropped the champ twice in round 2, but Johnson wrestled and boxed his way to a unanimous decision win.
Pat Curran vs. Patricio Freire, Bellator 85 - Very rarely do you see a solid display of inside boxing from two MMA fighters, but this bout was full of it. It was a technically brilliant standup fight that was full of action. The champ Curran nosed out a split decision, but Pitbull will most likely get a second chance at him someday.
Johny Hendricks vs. Carlos Condit, UFC 158 - Condit was all heart, getting up after every Hendricks takedown and charging forward with reckless abandon. Both men showed off iron chins in an absolute slugfest that stole the show. Hendricks earned the decision in the end and solidified his hold as the number two guy at welterweight.
Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado 2 - These two men went to war last year, and it would have been tough to top that the second time around. Well, they most definitely did. Each man delivered some absolutely brutal shots, with the second and third rounds being particularly amazing. Alvarado survived being dazed early and used solid boxing down the stretch to take a decision, but both men were absolute warriors for 12 full rounds.
Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar, UFC 156 - The 145 champ and ex-155 champ was the first superfight of 2013, and it didn't disappoint. Aldo started strong, but it was Edgar's tenacity that showed late and made it a closer fight than the judges had it. It looked like the third round might have decided it, but two 49-46 scores for Aldo said it didn't matter.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice, UFC 157 - Two wrestlers on the undercard. Both men had been in some scraps before, but no one could have dreamed that their bout would have turned out like it did. Knockdown after knockdown. Both men out on their feet more than once. 15 minutes of pure, unadulterated war. The word most commonly used to describe the bout is very telling - unbelievable.
Cub Swanson vs. Dustin Poirier, UFC on Fuel TV 7 - The co-main event featherweight bout was expected to be good, and it lived up to the billing. Both men battered each other across the cage for 15 minutes without letting up. Swanson won via some wide scores, but the bout was much closer that the numbers indicated.
Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche, UFC 157 - The first women's bout in UFC history added major relevance to what turned out to be a great fight. Carmouche surprised the champ early and took her back, but Rousey was able to survive and eventually lock up her patented armbar late in the first. The fight was a home run for WMMA and made Rousey a bona fide star.