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 the LAST poll - the best fight of the first half of 2013. It's a difficult task narrow down six months of MMA into the 10 best fights, but let's give it a try.
Here we go, in no particular order:
Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann, UFC on Fuel 8 - The two men brawled for close to two rounds, each scoring knockdowns and coming close to finishing the fight. In the end though it would be Silva who picked up the win by blasting Stann into unconsciousness.
Pat Curran vs. Patricio Freire, Bellator 85 - If you're a fan of boxing in MMA, this is the fight to see. It was everything a few of the fights on this list weren't - technically excellent, and based in tactics rather than brute force. Curran won a close split decision to keep his title, but you have to think Pitbull will be standing across from him again one day.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice, UFC 157 - The two men went to war for 15 minutes, knocking each other silly over and over again. Both men were on the brink of nap time more than once in the fight, but they persevered and threw down right until the final bell. Bermudez claimed a split decision, but the real winners in this bout were the fans that tuned in to watch it.
Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche, UFC 157 - Honestly, the bout itself was a bit slow and didn't consist of much other than Rousey briefly being in trouble, and a great finish. But the significance of it was huge, and the win turned Rousey into a huge star.
Ben Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez, UFC on Fox 7 - A back-and-forth affair for 25 minutes that ended in a razor-thin split decision victory for the champ. Many believe Melendez won the bout, and they definitely have a case for it.
Tom Watson vs. Stanislav Nedkov, UFC on Fuel 7 - Like Grice/Bermudez, these two hit each other with everything but the kitchen sink. Watson seemed like he was done at a couple of points, but he came back and beat down Nedkov. It wasn't easy though, and Nedkov was extremely tough to put away.
Jessica Penne vs. Michelle Waterson, Invicta FC 5 - Back and forth, back and forth. Penne almost finished the fight in the third, but Waterson somehow escaped an armbar and came back in the fourth to get her own armbar finish.
Johny Hendricks vs. Carlos Condit, UFC 158 - Condit gave it everything he had, blasting away and pressing the action any time they were on the feet. Hendricks wasn't shy with his hands either. Every time Hendricks took him down, Condit got back up and came back for more. But Hendricks' wrestling was just too much in the end and he claimed the decision.
Cat Zingano vs. Miesha Tate, TUF 17 Finale - Tate controlled the first two rounds, with the second being closer than the third. Both of those rounds featured great action on the ground and on the feet. In the third round, Zingano took over and eventually blasted Tate with brutal elbows and knees and bloodied her up enough to get a stoppage.
Matt Brown vs. Jordan Mein, UFC on Fox 7 - The bout was non-stop action the whole time with knockdowns, submission attempts, and brutality. Brown bloodied Mein up in the second with a barrage of strikes and got the stoppage.