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 2016. With these being half-year awards, there will be an abbreviated number of categories - five to be exact.
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 six years in a row. Originality? What originality?)
Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit, UFC 195 - This was a war for the ages. You knew both men were going to bring it, but this is one of those classics that somehow exceeded expectations. I personally thought won, but there isn't a single person that can say they didn't get what they asked for from this fight. That fifth round. Holy shit.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz, UFC 196 - Conor started well. He cut Nate open. But after five minutes, found his range and fired back. Once he hurt Conor, the entire trajectory of UFC business changed a bit. Once Conor tapped, it changed a lot more.
Michael Bisping vs. Anderson Silva, UFN 84 - was winning rounds. Anderson was fighting a bit timidly. Then out of nowhere, Bisping started complaining about his mouthpiece and got knocked out by a flying knee? Wait, he wasn't out? The fight goes on? And Bisping wins a decision? High drama in London, and a precursor to middleweight history.
Hector Lombard vs. Neil Magny, UFC 85 - Lombard was all over Magny early, and it could have arguably been stopped. It wasn't though, and Lombard punched himself out. Magny absolutely destroyed him in the second, and it definitely should have been stopped there. Again it wasn't, before it was finally brought to a merciful end in the third with hand raised.
Dan Henderson vs. Hector Lombard, UFC 199 - The second time Lombard was on the short end of a wild war in 2016. He had Hendo hurt (alliteration!) a bunch of times, but was unable to finish. Finally Lombard ate a back elbow and got hammered with a kill shot or two and it was over.
Steve Bosse vs. Sean O'Connell, UFN 89 - This was the light heavyweight version of Chan Sung Jung and Leonard Garcia. These two men straight clobbered the shit out of each other, and somehow both of them stayed standing for the full 15 minutes. It was one of the roughest fights you'll ever see, with both of them were enjoying themselves the entire time. Fights like this don't happen often. It deserves a nod here for the sheer brutality of the spectacle.