Over the next few days, Bloody Elbow is going to ask for your opinion on some of the best things that have happened in the MMA world over the first half of 2013. There will be a total of six different categories you'll be asked to vote on. For simplicity's sake we're going to stick with high-level and relevant MMA stuff in these posts. While I'm sure there was a ludicrous knockout in an unscheduled MMA event at The Lumberyard strip club in Des Moines, or an insane pancreas lock submission on an obscure ZST! card in Japan, let's just stick to stuff a lot of us have seen, okay? (If that spiel looked familiar, it's because I've used the same one for three years in a row. Originality? What originality?)
It's pretty simple. I'll post some options in a category, you vote for what you think was the best. If you think I left something really important off my list, post it in the comments and we can add it to the poll if it's deemed worthy. I can almost guarantee you won't like all my suggestions, but narrowing down these lists is tough.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get onto the poll - the best event of the first half of 2013. There were a few duds, but the first six months of 2013 produced a bunch of great cards. This is going to be hard to narrow down.
Here we go, in no particular order:
UFC 156 - The main card featured four decision wins, but three of them were intriguing fights. Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar was entertaining, Demian Maia totally owned Jon Fitch, and Joseph Benavidez/Ian McCall delivered. Plus, Antonio Silva knocked out Alistair Overeem. The undercard also delivered four finishes and two split decisions.
UFC 160 - Four finishes on the main card, and all four were highlight-worthy. Cain Velasquez defended his title, Junior dos Santos landed an insane kick to finish Mark Hunt, Glover Teixeira got a sub win early, and T.J. Grant earned top contender status by taking out Gray Maynard. The undercard was pretty great too with some great action (and a lot of takedowns from Khabib Nurmagomedov).
Bellator 85 - The first Bellator card on Spike TV definitely delivered, with three finished and one of the better MMA boxing matches you'll ever see between Pat Curran and Patricio Freire. The undercard also had five finishes in a row, all in the first half of the fight.
Invicta FC 5 - The eight-fight main card featured four finishes, and the main event bout between Michelle Waterson and Jessica Penne was one of the better fights of the year. Cris Cyborg wrecked shop, Sarah Kaufman and Leslie Smith went to a close decision in a good fight, and Rose Namajunas pulled off a 12-secord flying armbar on the undercard (then spazzed out).
UFC 157 - The first women's fight in UFC history between Liz Carmouche and Ronda Rousey definitely delivered. And despite a dull co-main between Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida, the rest of the card featured some great action. Urijah Faber submitted Ivan Menjivar, Robbie Lawler stopped Josh Koscheck, and the undercard featured the excellent Matt Grice vs. Dennis Bermudez fight and Kenny Robertson's sick sub of Brock Jardine.
Bellator 90 - This card wasn't high on star power, but it featured a lot of great action. Every main card fight was stopped in the first half of the bout, with Emanuel Newton's spinning backfist KO of King Mo being the most memorable one. But Shahbulat Shamhalaev, Douglas Lima, and Ben Saunders also delivered amazing knockouts on the card.
UFC on Fuel TV 10 - Some of the fights were squash matches, but at least they featured nice finishes. Only two of 12 fights went to a decision, and the card set a record for most submissions in one UFC modern-day event. Fabricio Werdum finished it off by submitting MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with an armbar.