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 course of 2015. There will be a total of
eight nine different categories you'll be asked to vote on. For the sake of simplicity 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 five 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. 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.
You can still vote on the first eight categories - Best Submission, Biggest Debacle, Biggest Upset, Biggest Robbery, Rookie of the Year, Best Fighter, Best Event, and Best Knockout. You have two days left to vote!
Our final category is Best Fight. There were a ton of quality scraps in 2015. In fact, it's arguably one of the best years ever for action. There are probably 20-25 solid nominees for this category, but here are the final 10 I selected. Vote now!
Daniel Straus vs. Patricio Freire, Bellator 145 - Straus had already lost to Pitbull twice, but he used a great gameplan to pick up the win by decision in the third go-round. He also did it despite suffering an injury early in the bout.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne, UFC 187 - Proof that one-round fights can be FOTY contenders. Arlovski had Browne hurt early and often, but ate a big shot that almost put him out. He recovered though, and finished Browne late in the first after almost five minutes of incredible action.
Justin Gaethje vs. Luis Palomino 1, WSOF 19 - Gaethje always comes to scrap. In Palomino, he found an opponent that was more than willing to reciprocate. The two men battled it out for almost three full rounds before Gaethje's cardio finally won out and he picked up a TKO victory. The second bout between the two men was almost as good, and just missed making this list.
Tony Ferguson vs. Edson Barboza, TUF 22 Finale - This one was all action. Ferguson didn't back down from Barboza's vaunted striking game at all, and tried a bunch of crazy things in the cage. After some crazy back-and-forth savagery and some blood, Ferguson choked Barboza out with a D'Arce in the second round.
Thomas Almeida vs. Brad Pickett, UFC 189 - Pickett's a brawler, and he sucked Almeida into his game early. The top prospect got knocked down, but he bounced back up and hurt Pickett late in the first. Early in the second, he connected with a beautiful flying knee that handed Pickett his first KO/TKO loss in 10 years.
Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald, UFC 189 - An incredible, surreal fight. Blood everywhere. Lawler's lip was literally torn. Rory's face was a brutal mess. Rory was up 3-1 after rounds of insane action, but Lawler stopped him in the fifth after finally shattering what was left of McDonald's face. It was ultra-violent, unbelievable, and beautiful all at the same time.
Brian Ortega vs. Thiago Tavares, UFC Fight Night 68 - This was one of those fights that went all over the cage. They slugged it out on the feet. Ortega threatened with submissions from guard. Crazy scrambles. Ball shots. Tavares bled buckets. Finally late in the third, Ortega landed a shot that rocked Tavares, and he finished him on the ground. This was my favorite bout of 2015.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Dennis Bermudez, UFC 189 - Both men went down multiple times. There was a lot of blood. There were a ton of strikes landed. It was a war of attrition, and it was finished by an amazing flying knee. Stephens screaming like a savage while Bermudez laid against the cage was a memorable moment on an amazing card.
John Lineker vs. Francisco Rivera, UFC 191 - A two-minute fight can't make a list like this, can it? Well, it did. Because there wasn't a dull second in the entire bout. This was a hockey fight with no grabbing. Just non-stop haymakers. Finally Rivera went for a takedown, and got submitted by a guillotine.
Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson, UFC 192 - Gustafsson gave Cormier everything he could handle in this five-round war, which was full of exciting moments. Cormier barely escaped with the title after winning a split decision.