The best of MMA in 2009
Fighter of the Year:
Georges St. Pierre
Winner: Lyoto Machida.
He shakes the title of being a “boring” fighter with two unreal knockouts of Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva, and then defends (arguably) his title against Shogun. Machida remains undefeated and despite the controversy in his fight with Shogun, he is the fighter of the year.
Breakthrough fighter of the year:
Winner: Shane Carwin
The man has two Mack trucks on the end of his arms, and he shows that each fight. His destruction and meteoric rise through the UFC's heavyweight division earns him the title of the Breakthrough fighter of the year. Close consideration to Cain Velsaquez in second place here.
Fight of the year:
Antonio “Big Nog” Nogueira vs. Randy Couture — UFC 102
Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez - TUF 9 Finale
Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann — UFN 18
Miguel Torres vs. Takeya Mizugaki — WEC 40
Rich Franklin vs. Vanderlai Silva — UFC 99
Winner: Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez — TUF 9 Finale
This is a must see fight for any MMA fan, an all out brawl with two skilled guys. The fight was a war from the beginning on the feet, and was exciting when it hit the ground. It is hands down the fight of the year.
KO of the year:
Rashad Evans vs. Chuck Liddell — UFC 88
Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping — UFC 100
Lyoto Machida vs. Rashad Evans — UFC 98
Nate Marquardt vs. Damien Maia — UFC 102
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andre Arlovski — Affliction 2
Winner: Dan Henderson knocking out Michael Bisping — UFC 100.
Not only was UFC 100 a historic event for the UFC, it featured the grudge match between Ultimate Fighter coaches Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping. While Bisping did a lot of the talking before the fight, Henderson did his talking in the cage, with one of the most vicious hooks ever seen sending the Brit into next week.
Biggest out of ring/octagon story:
GSP vs. BJ Penn 2 — Greasegate
Fedor and the UFC — Will they sign him?
Strikeforce emerges as a MMA promotion contender
Josh Barnett single handedly folds Affliction
Brock Lesnar's mysterious illness
Winner: Josh Barnett single handedly folding Affliction
Within a week, Barnett (who was set to face Fedor at Affliction 3) tested positive for steroids (again) and then was removed from the Affliction 3 fight card, from there a spiral happened. Advertisements were pulled, and it eventually led to the complete folding of Affliction MMA's fight promotion. Making all their fighters essentially free agents, including Fedor Emelianenko.
That covers the major awards for the year, now let's look at some of the other hardware that I am handing out.
Submission of the year: Toby Imada's Inverted flying Triangle over Jorge Masvida.
At the Bellator fighting championships this fight was a war, and with both fighters gassed, Imada threw the ridiculous inverted flying triangle to seal the deal. This category doesn't even need other nominees, it's that clear cut.
Gym of the year: Blackhouse MMA.
They have the likes of both Noguiera brothers, Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida. And that's just the beginning. This team has only ever lost one time in 2009 (Big Nog losing to Frank Mir) and they don't appear to be slowing down any time soon.
Female Fighter of the year: Cyborg Santos
Her destruction of Gina Carano put her atop the women's MMA world as their best fighter, I don't see her leaving this post for a long, long time.
That concludes the yearly award ahead of UFC 107 for 2009. What a crazy year it has been, 2008 was the year of the upset, 2009 appeared to be the year of dominance for the top fighters, and who knows what 2010 will have in store, but what ever it is, I am excited.