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Bloody Elbow 2014 half-year MMA awards: Best fight

Make your pick for the best MMA fight from the first half of 2014 in Bloody Elbow's Half Year Awards.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Technically, we're about a month over the half-year mark, but with live MMA on TV every other minute, it's hard to fit something like this in when you have to cover the non-stop facepunching. Tim Burke used to run the Bloody Elbow half-year and year-end MMA awards, but he stepped down from the site after we found out that he's actually a hockey coach.

The Bloody Elbow staff compiled a massive list of some of the top MMA moments thus far in 2014, which you'll be able to vote on through our polls, which are open for 6 days starting from publish of each article. Today, we're focusing on the best fight, but in the coming days we'll also have best fighter, best event, biggest upset, and best comeback.

As to keep up with the format that Tim had used, I've selected 8 entries per category, but since this year's "half-year" awards is in August, I've moved the cutoff date to July 26th, which stands as the most recent UFC event (UFC on Fox 12). All of our choices are based on major MMA promotions only (UFC, Bellator, WSOF, etc.) , so that doesn't include kickboxing, boxing, Metamoris, or anything else of the sort. This was fairly difficult to sift through, so don't be angry if there's any of your favorites that have been left out.

Enough talking. Let's look at the list, which is in no particular order:

Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva, UFC Fight Night Cincinnati. Believe it or not, Silva was favored to win this fight, and he nearly did in the opening round by dropping Brown with a brutal body kick (GIF). The attempts to finish via TKO and later rear-naked choke were unsuccessful, and Brown ended the round by turning the fight in his favor. Brown dominated Silva for the next two rounds before winning by TKO, but Silva never let up his own offense even as he was getting battered everywhere. (GIF)

Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown, UFC on Fox 12. This fight may not have lived up to the insanely high expectations of an all-time classic, but it was still a great fight with Lawler winning a unanimous decision that is closer than the scorecards suggest. The first round was fought at a furious pace, with Lawler coming out on top after the first 5 minutes. Brown evened things up in round 2 before Lawler patiently picked his shots and entered round 5 ahead on the scorecards. As ever, a desperate Brown went into overdrive to pull off another stunner, but a broken right hand sustained during (Highlights)

Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler, UFC 171. The first welterweight title fight without GSP since 2006, Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler left everything on the line in Dallas. Lawler's crisp boxing busted up Hendricks' face, but his chin remarkably held back and he was able to return fire with punches and knees. It was all tied up 2-2 heading into the final round, and when Lawler showed obvious signs of fatigue, Hendricks won the stand-up and then scored a huge takedown to help win the 5th and the fight. (GIF)

John Lineker vs. Alptekin Ozkilic, UFC Fight Night Atlantic City. There's basically no such thing as a boring John Lineker fight, and he and Alptekin Ozkilic went to war for 14 minutes and 51 seconds. Heavy leather was traded throughout the bout, but Lineker's superior power was evident and led to a late TKO. Lineker was likely to win the fight by decision prior to getting the finish. (GIF)

Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida, UFC 175. If there's ever a need to show new fans of the sport a display of competitive, exciting, technically proficient, high-level MMA in a championship bout, this is it.  Weidman took the first two rounds and had Machida hurt in the 3rd, but Lyoto sparked a comeback and had Weidman in more trouble than anyone else had ever conjured up. Machida went for the finish but a late takedown in the 5th help seal the round and the decision win for Weidman. (Highlights)

Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks, Bellator 120. With Eddie Alvarez out and Will Brooks in on short notice, Michael Chandler was thought to be way too much for "Ill Will", especially given the time to prepare. It sure looked that way in the first round, and through parts of the second round, too. Brooks took command of the 3rd round and essentially was able to take Chandler's back for fun for the remainder of the fight. Chandler finished strongly in the 5th after being pummeled and nearly finished in the 3rd and 4th rounds, but it wasn't enough for the judges. A slow fight after 10 minutes turned into a thriller in the last 15, and while controversial, Brooks was given the split decision nod in what will double as a candidate for biggest upset. (GIF)

Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus, Bellator 112. Pat Curran won back the featherweight belt he surprisingly lost to Daniel Straus, and he did so in enthralling fashion. An aggressive Straus went for submissions late in the 1st and had busted Curran up in the 2nd round, knocking him down with a hard left hand and opening up a cut near his right eye in the process. Curran's counters found its targets, but Straus' strength and wrestling were problematic. It was still too close to call in the final stages, and in the last round, in the dying seconds, Curran went for a rear-naked choke. Straus gave the "thumbs up" signal, but it would soon turn into a tapout with just 16 seconds left. The scorecards at the time were dead even, and it was highly likely that Straus would've won the 5th without the submission. (Highlights)

Abel Trujillo vs. Jamie Varner, UFC 169. A good ol' fashioned slobberknocker that saw both men hurt at times but continuing to swing away ended when Trujillo delivered the hammer blow in the 2nd round with a massive right hook that instantly put Varner to sleep. Varner thought he had Trujillo hurt and went in for the kill, only to be murderdeathkilled himself. (GIF)

Tomorrow's category: Biggest upset

You can still vote for: Best knockout, best submission

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