It’s really amazing to see how much MMA has grown in the last several years. When I first started watching, it was a fun alternative to wrestling and boxing for me. I was eager to give it a shot, but never expected it to dominate PPV.
Well, ok, MMA doesn’t dominate PPV. UFC does. But still, it has been an amazing ride and it’s only the beginning. As you will see below, 2010 was also a pretty newsworthy year. From Brock Lesnar coming back from diverticulitis and defending and then losing his belt, to Chael Sonnen coming so close to beating Anderson Silva, to Anthony Pettis’ Showtime kick which ended the year (at least in US MMA) with a bang, tons of great things happened.
Duan, Alan, and I from this very site, along with friend of the site JP, Ryan Frederick (Ryan on Twitter), Stevie J from Angry Marks, and Big D from Superfriends Universe give out awards. Yes, I said that D was back here for “One Night Only” in the pro wrestling post, but I forgot about the MMA Awards. He’s back for “Two Nights Only”!
Fighter Of The Year
Duan – Cain Velasquez
He has established himself as the UFC number 1, and with Fedor taking a loss this year, that makes him MMA’s premier heavyweight.
Alan – Cain Velasquez
His two big wins are enough for me to choose as fighter of the year.
JP – Frankie Edgar
When it was announced that Frankie Edgar would fight B.J. Penn for the Lightweight championship, just about everyone counted him out. Instead Edgar proved impossible to put away and won a controversial decision. An immediate rematch was announced and this time Edgar dominated Penn for five rounds to keep his title and truly validate himself.
Ryan – Frankie Edgar
Not many men beat BJ Penn. Not many beat Penn twice. And only one has beaten Penn twice in 5 months. Edgar’s performance in their first bout and his domination in their second bout earned him this award, fighting off tough competition from Jose Aldo, Cain Velasquez, Dominik Cruz and Anthony Pettis.
Stevie J – It’s a tie between Georges St. Pierre and Cain Velasquez.
Big D – Anthony Pettis
Two Words: The Kick. Close 2nd Place: Jose Aldo and Chael Sonnen.
GG – Cain Velasquez
I was very close to going with Frankie Edgar here, but Cain beating Brock Lesnar on such a huge stage in his first main event fight was slightly more impressive to me.
MMA Show Of The Year
Duan – WEC PPV
Every fight was fantastic. This was exactly what WEC was all about. The MMA world will be worse off without it.
Alan – UFC 116
Between an epic main event, and two excellent fights (Leben/Aki & Bonner/Krystof), this show had more than most.
JP – Strikeforce: St. Louis
Headlined by Dan Henderson against Babalu, this event was tough to find because it was only on Showtime, but featured good fighters (Paul Daley, Robbie Lawler, Scott Smith) with great finishes. Mike Kyle coming in on days notice and nearly knocking out Antonio Silva set the pace as the remaining three fights ended in impressive knockouts that could each be contenders for “KO of the Year”.
Ryan – UFC 116
UFC 116 had arguably 3 of the 6 best fights of 2010, and was an action-packed event that included some memorable finishes. Lesnar/Carwin, Leben/Akiyama and Bonnar/Soszynski all produced top-notch performances and capped off a memorable night in Las Vegas.
Stevie J – UFC 116
Big D – UFC 116
Three fight of the year candidates + Lesnar’s awesome face turn.
GG – UFC 116
Rarely does the biggest show of the year live up to every expectation and more. For the UFC, it was the perfect storm.
Fight Of The Year
Duan – Leonard Garcia vs. Jung Chan-Sung (The Korean Zombie)
It was an incredible 3 round slugfest and my fight of the year.
Alan – Shane Roller vs. Anthony Pettis
Nobody gives this fight the hype it deserves but I damn sure haven’t seen better. Back and forth excitement with a great finish.
JP – Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva
It is rare that a UFC fight surpasses the hype built for it but the main event at UFC 117 did. After months of an incessant one-sided war of words, Chael Sonnen seemed well on his way to backing up every word by dominating the middleweight champ Silva for four rounds. In round five, just as the announcers were ushering in the reign of Sonnen, The Spider pulled out a triangle/armbar submission that helped him retain his title and gave him his career signature win.
Ryan – Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Leonard Garcia vs Chan Sung Jung and Ben Henderson vs Anthony Pettis delivered action-packed performances. Chael Sonnen vs Anderson Silva and Brock Lesnar’s fights against Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez delivered drama with memorable finishes. But one fight put it all together. Leben and Akiyama had a fantastic fight on the best show of the year, and both men came out of the fight as winners, and the crowd responded with appreciation that these two deserved.
Stevie J – It was a three-way tie between Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck, Leonard Garcia vs. Korean Zombie, and Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez.
Big D – Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva
Because I can’t think of a fight all year that had my heart pounding as much as this one. Missing this live would’ve made me slice my wrists.
GG – Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
It had just the right amount of a mindless slugfest with technical skill. At the end of it, I felt that I got my money’s worth on UFC 116 and we hadn’t even seen the great main event yet.
Big Things In ’11
Duan – Eddie Alvarez
Alverez is unbeaten in two years and has notched up some good wins along the way. He will be ready to answer the call when UFC or Strikeforce come knocking.
Alan – Ben Henderson
I’m not gonna fall over shocked if he’s the UFC 155 champ in two fights time.
JP – Jon Jones
Jon ‘Bones’ Jones has carried the label as “next big thing” since he tossed around Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100 in mid-2009. But 2011 will be the year he arrives on the grand stage. Jones’ last three fights have headlined SpikeTV events, but at February’s UFC 126 Jones moves to his ritual place on PPV with a “prospect becomes contender” match against Ryan Bader. A win could put him in a title eliminator match mid-year and a title shot at the end of 2011.
Ryan – Anthony Pettis, Josh Grispi, Tyron Woodley, and Chad Mendes
These guys are the future of the sport. Pettis is a legitimate threat to the 155 pound division in the UFC and could be champion by July. Not many people think Jose Aldo can be beaten, but Grispi and Mendes have the tools to give him a tough fight. And Woodley is the top prospect at 170 pounds, and though he is in Strikeforce at the moment, don’t be surprised if he ends up in the UFC soon, but he’ll take the title in Strikeforce soon.
Stevie J – Paul Daley and Jon Jones
Big D – Jon Jones: The push will continue!
GG – Jon Jones
I think he beats Ryan Bader at UFC 126 and gets a title shot by year’s end. I also think he wins the light heavyweight championship.
Moment Of The Year
JP – Anthony Pettis’ “Showtime” Kick
About a month ago this would have been a battle between Anderson Silva’s come-from-behind submission of Sonnen or the fall of Fedor. But then Anthony Pettis went full-Neo on Ben Henderson by running up the side of the cage and then launching a right cross kick against Henderson’s jaw in one smooth, seemingly gravity-defying assault that made national sports headlines. This took the final fight of WEC’s existence from merely great to instant classic. It also works out perfectly that Pettis’ Showtime Kick was the highlight moment from 2010’s last major promotional fight.
Ryan – Anthony Pettis’ “Showtime” Kick
The last moment of 2010 is the one that will be remembered for a long time. An awesome fight which ended with the most spectacular move in MMA history, and Pettis topped Cain Velasquez’ destruction and dethroning of Brock Lesnar’s reign as heavyweight kingpin for the top moment of 2010.
Stevie J – Brock Lesnar surviving a total ass-whooping to choke out Shane Carwin in round two
Big D – Fabricio Verdum submitting Fedor Emelianenko
I thought about Brock coming back in the Carwin fight and Anthony Pettis kicking Ben Henderson off the cage, but Fedor getting tapped has the most historical, long term effect of anything.
GG – Anderson Silva submitting Chael Sonnen
We had many moments this year where what we thought could happen, didn’t. When BJ Penn didn’t come back and take his title from Frankie Edgar, I was surprised. I thought he’d snap back into being BJ Penn and win the fight. But in this case, while Chael Sonnen was beating Anderson Silva for four straight rounds, I thought Silva had a chance. It wasn’t because of how the fight was going, but more so because of the fact that when champions get tested, it sometimes brings out the best of them. Silva came through at nearly the last minute and it ended a fight that gave so many people a wave of emotions.