It seems that Mookie has officially quit BE and has started a new career as a dancing cow, so won't be able to handle the awards this time around. In his place, is...well, me. Contain your joy.
Over the next few days, Bloody Elbow is going to ask for your opinion on some of the best (and worst) things that have happened in the MMA world over the course of 2014. There will be a total of eight different categories you'll be asked to vote on, though I might change some of them up from past years. 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 four years in a row. Originality? What originality?)
It's pretty simple. I'll post 5-10 options in a category, you vote for what you think was the best/worst. 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.
This will be the final category of the year. There have only been seven instead of the usual eight, but this is dragging out too long so let's get to it. What was the best fight of 2014?
Don't forget that you can still vote on the rest of the categories - Best Submission, Biggest Upset, Worst Decision, Biggest Loser, Best Fighter, and Best Knockout.
Kyung Ho Kang vs. Michinori Tanaka at UFC Fight Night 52 - The entire fight was basically one giant scramble with beautiful transitions, reversals, and submission attempts. When they were on the feet they both landed hard shots, but the beauty of this one lies in the ground work. Kang won a split decision in a fight that was too close to call for me.
Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown, UFC on Fox 12 - Brown missed weight for the title eliminator but it did nothing to lessen the intensity of the fight. They brawled for most of the five rounds, with the first and fifth being the best of the stanzas, but it was Lawler that outlasted his opponent to take the unanimous decision victory.
Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic, UFC on Fox 13 - The two big men pulled no stops over the 25-minute bout, battering each other with huge shots all the way through. Even when the pace slowed, there were still a ton of heavy punches being landed and it was hard to believe neither man went down. JDS took the decision.
Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida, UFC 175. This was a war, and the scorecards don't really indicate how close this was. Weidman probably won the first two rounds and even had Machida hurt in the third, but the former LHW champ fought back and gave Weidman the toughest fight of his career to date.
Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes 2, UFC 179 - Another bout where the scorecards don't really tell the full story. Mendes dropped Aldo early and refused to back down to hard shots from the featherweight champion all the way through. Both men beat the crap out of each other for the whole 25 minutes and even though Mendes lost, he was happy with how great the fight was. So was I.
Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler, UFC 171 - Lawler busted Hendricks up. Hendricks busted Lawler up. They went back and forth in exciting rounds until the final five minutes, where Lawler's tank caught up to him and Hendricks controlled him to take the decision victory. Their rematch was good too, but doesn't live up to the first fight.
Abel Trujillo vs. Jamie Varner, UFC 169 - A classic slugfest that saw each men putting everything into every strike. Varner had Trujillo on the ropes until he got put out by one huge shot in return from Trujillo.
Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva, UFC Fight Night Cincinnati - Silva dropped Brown with a massive body kick early and hunted for a sub on the ground for the rest of the round. It was not to be though, and Brown took over. He brutalized Silva for the rest of the fight, but Silva wouldn't go down and still landed some massive shots. In the end though, the assault was too much for him and Brown got the late TKO victory.