|‘Hapa’ slashes his way to #3 on this years list|
You could argue that 2013 was the most violent year in the history of mixed martial arts to date. When you put two earthlings in a cage together and tell them you’ll give them money if they hurt each other until one of them either falls asleep or taps the person trying to submit them so they’ll stop, then of course you’re going to get a hearty helping of violence on any given night. There was something that felt different about 2013 though. Maybe it’s just the simple fact that there were more fights in 2013 than any other year in the history of MMA; the continued worldwide takeover by the UFC and the increase of promotions (local and international) has made it so all 52 weeks during the calendar year can bed called ‘Fight Week’ no mater where you are.
Narrowing down the top ten most vulgar displays of power during any given year can cause a storm of controversy. For these particular year-end lists we’re keeping it to the more well known promotions, but we ask you to please leave any glaring omissions or indie MMA ‘vulgar displays’ you deem list-worthy in the comments section below.
Enter the 2013 Most Vulgar Display of Power Countdown below at your own risk:
Big credit to Zombie Prophet for the majority of the GIFS featured -Travis Browne image via Getty
Hindsight tells us that Junior dos Santos’ 64-second KO of Cain Velasquez in November of 2011 was the true definition of a lucky punch. Cain put a beating on Dos Santos in the trilogy fight that was even more vulgar than last years sequel.
Below are the stats from UFC 166, and the cumulative 46 minutes and 51 seconds of pain JDS would suffer after his initial KO of the current champ. As Tracy Morgan would say, “Cain Velasquez is Junior dos Santos’ biological father.”
Total Strikes (UFC 166):
Cain Velasquez: 274 of 378 – 72%
Junior dos Santos: 62 of 140 – 44%
Total (UFC 155 and 166):
Cain Velasquez: 484 of 717 – 68%
Junior dos Santos: 128 of 286 – 45%
Significant Strikes (UFC 166):
Cain Velasquez: 123 of 201 – 61%
Junior dos Santos: 46 of 122 – 38%
Total (UFC 155 and 166):
Cain Velasquez: 234 of 425 – 55%
Junior dos Santos: 103 of 259 – 40%
This is what those numbers looked like on JDS’ face:
Takedowns (UFC 166):
Cain Velasquez: 2 of 13 – 15%
Junior dos Santos: 0 of 1 – 0%
Total (UFC 155 and 166):
Cain Velasquez 13 of 46 – 28 %
Junior dos Santos: 0 of 2 – 0%
Knockdowns (UFC 166):
Cain Velasquez: 1
Junior dos Santos: 0
Total (UFC 155 and 166):
Cain Velasquez: 2
Junior dos Santos: 0
After watching this trilogy it’s clear that Junior dos Santos should never be allowed to put on a pair of gloves and Nike trunks anywhere near Cain Velasquez again.
stats via fightmetric
Fighter of the Year, KO of the Year, King of Violence 2015: Conor McGregor
Fighter of the Year
It seems like almost a lifetime ago but it was less than a year ago when Conor McGregor TKO’d Dennis Siver in Boston to kick of his 2015 campaign inside of the octagon. After that, it was only uphill from there. If McGregor’s ‘Money’ victory over an elite wrestler in Chad Mendes on short notice didn’t make fans believe, his KO of the top P4P fighter in the world, Jose Aldo, certainly shut them up. The amount of press McGregor and Aldo did leading up to their eventual title unification at UFC 194 was more than any fight in UFC history – and the fight only lasted 13 seconds. Understandably so, this left a lot of fans wanting more. Don’t worry – you’ll get plenty more of McGregor in 2016 and beyond.
KO of the Year
This was a tough one. Do you go with Holly Holm’s beautiful headkick KO of Ronda Rousey or McGregor’s left-handed dandy that ended a decade of dominance. It’s close, but you have to go with McGregor. He ended a 19-fight winning streak by defeating the only UFC featherweight champion in history and set the record for the fastest finish in UFC title fight history in the process.
King of Violence
In a year where we strongly considered Luke Rockhold, Tony Ferguson and a couple of others, McGregor also earns the honor of being called King of Violence in 2015. It wasn’t just the trifecta of T(KO) finishes during the calendar year that earned the new King of MMA this trifecta of awards (check out our full 2015 awards list here) from the folks at Fight Booth, it was the strength of his opposition and the way he carried himself inside and outside of the cage.
So, was McGregor’s 2015 a once in a lifetime magical ride for him and his die hard legion of fans, or can he repeat the magic he made back in 2012 for Cage Warriors by becoming a two division champion in 2016. Well, we won’t have to wait very long to find out.
2014 Fight Booth MMA Awards
Sure, it may be a different .com, but it’s the same staff. And we are more than happy to continue the tradition started 5 years ago over at HOV-MMA right here inside of the FightBooth. Welcome to our 6th annual year-end MMA award extravaganza. Let’s start right at the top.
Fighter of the Year – Robbie Lawler
It was a storybook year for the “Ruthless” one. After losing a hard-fought five round title fight to Johny Hendricks for the strap vacated by Georges St. Pierre, Lawler fought his way back to a title shot with wins over Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown. In the final PPV of 2014 he would bring the welterweight title back to AKA by beating Hendricks in another close fight. Lawler turned the volume up to 11 in the final sequence of the fight completing one of the greatest comeback stories in MMA history with an exclamation point. Hearing the words “UFC Champion Robbie Lawler” in the year 2014 was quite the pinch me moment.
Fight of the Year – Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes 2 (UFC 179)
This rematch happened the right way. Mendes earned it the hard way winning five consecutive fights after being knocked senseless by Aldo back at UFC 142. This time around he went the distance, but the result was the same. King Aldo got his hand raised once again while Prince Mendes gained even more respect in defeat than he ever has in victory.
KO of the Year – Ronda Rousey’s 16-second obliteration of Alexis Davis
Because armbars are so 2013.
Submission of the Year – Anthony Pettis guillotines Gilbert Melendez
There were plenty of incredible submissions in 2014: St. Preux, Rockhold’s kimura on Boetsch, Benavidez’s Joa Constrictor, and Oliveira’s Peruvian are just a few of the pleasing to the eye variety that immediately come to mind. Pettis’ takes the honors this year though for being the most important and unexpected.
After six consecutive losses, Roxanne Modafferi needed a victory in the worst way. In her Invicta FC debut, we witnessed a “Happy Warrior” reborn. A completely reinvented Modafferi was able to best fellow women’s MMA pioneer Tara LaRosa to go up 2-1 in what has to be the best WMMA trilogy to date. She followed it up by teaching the extremely talented and dangerous Andrea “KGB” Lee in December to position herself as a legit contender for a rematch with Barb Honchak’s (for the Invicta FC title this time) in 2015.
Comeback of the Year (Performance) – Cathal Pendred (UFC Fight Night: Dublin)
Holy mackerel. If you missed Pendred’s comeback performance against Mike King (who it turns out was all juiced up mind you) at UFC Dublin I suggest you go back and watch it on Fight Pass….NOW. This was one for the ages folks. Since King did end up popping positive for PED’s, Pendred would be awarded his half of the fight of the night bonus as well. What did Pendred do with that extra $50K? Proving that the good guy truly did win, Pendred donated a portion of King’s bonus to a Children’s Hospital in Dublin.
Upset of the Year: Herica Tiburcio defeats Michelle Waterson (Invicta FC 10)
Like Yasuko Tamada before her, Herica Tiburcio was expected to be another albeit talented, virtually unknown import to make “The Karate Hottie” look good. Instead, the 4’11” Brazilian atomweight prospect became a champion on a December night in Houston, Texas. Her victory over Waterson was just as moving as it was surprising. The shallowness of the division easily warrants an immediate rematch between the new champion and the newest chosen face of the company. Tiburcio-Waterson sits right near the top of our list of 2015 fights to watch for.
Most Vulgar Display of Power: Michelle Waterson abuses Yasuko Tamada at Invicta FC 8
After watching the fight between Michelle Waterson and Yasuko Tamada for the Invicta FC atomweight title at Invicta FC 8 I fully expected Waterson to be escorted off the premises in handcuffs with yellow caution tape surrounding the cage.
Performance of the Year – T.J. Dillashaw upsets Renan Barao to become UFC Bantamweight Champion
A runner up to upset of the year, Dillashaw’s masterful performance at UFC 173 was quite the revelation. Depending on what site you frequent, Dillashaw entered the contest as the +700 dog who clearly had no business ending Renan Barao’s 33-fight unbeaten streak. Dillashaw’s performance on this night would be one that had fans and media alike uttering the words “holy sh*t” out loud and in their minds for a good 20+ minutes. UFC color man Joe Rogan called it the best performance he had ever seen, and he’s seen plenty. While I don’t agree with everything Joe says, this one is tough to disagree with. It certainly was without question the best performance of 2014 in all of sports.
Event of the Year – UFC 175: Weidman vs. Machida
A fight of the year contender in the main event, our KO of the year in the co-main, some unfortunate live drama that saw a heavyweight fight scrapped, Uriah Hall’s toe, and plenty more from a cast of supporting players like Urijah Faber and Rob Font made certain that the UFC’s 3rd annual International Fight Week offering provided fireworks from start to finish.
Brandon who? The Cal-State Bakersfield wrestling standout entered 2014 as a 5-0 MMA prospect poised to make an impact in Bellator’s season 10 middleweight tournament. After winning the tourney, Halsey would end Alexander Shlemenko’s 13-fight win streak inside of the middleweight division in just 35-seconds to become Bellator’s middleweight champion. Halsey joins the likes of previous breakout fighter of the year winners Anthony Pettis, Daniel Cormier, Nick Newell, and Conor McGregor. Just saying, you may want to keep an eye on this one.
Staredown of the Year: Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier
While the fight didn’t materialize in 2014, one would be hard pressed to find a better “staredown” than the one that happened when these two shook up the world inside of the MGM Grand on August 4th.
Rivalry of the Year: Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler
Not every great rivalry in the fight game requires in your face antics and pre-fight smack talk. The 10 rounds of pain that took place between now former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks and current champ Robbie Lawler certainly cemented these two fiery competitors as strange bedfellows for life. With their trilogy bout recently scrapped, one can only thank the UFC Gods for letting this ongoing battle linger on a little longer. There’s no need to match these two men up again straight away; the damage they did to one another in 2014 mentally and physically was immeasurable. Next up for Hendricks will be the tough as nails Matt Brown at UFC 185 in Texas. For the new champ and 2014 FOTY Robbie Lawler you can expect a well deserved resting period in the immediate future.
Fighter of the Year 2013: Demetrious Johnson
|image credit – AP/SeattleTimes|
There are a lot of factors that go into naming the 2013 Fighter of the Year. It is not only about who had the best year in the cage it is about whose fights matter most. Championship fights matter more than non-title fights and nobody had more championship fights the Demetrius Johnson. Let’s take a minute to look at who had tremendous years in which fighter is the 2013 fighter of the year.
Urijah Faber: Faber went 4-0 this year, winning three of those fights by submission. He has himself back in title contention in the bantamweight division and should have a title shot in the first part of 2014. Undoubtedly a tremendous year for Uriah and he sets himself up perfectly for a run at Fighter of the Year in 2014.
Vitor Belfort: Some might argue that nobody had a better 2013 that the “Phenom” Vitor Belfort. Belfort went a perfect 3-0 in 2013, knocking out Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson, all in Brazil. A tremendous feat to be sure, but the fact that he’s had failed drug tests in the past, and is currently fighting on TRT, sours his record, right or wrong. He’s a fighter who fair or otherwise is steeped in controversy. People see him as a cheater, and in this world, perception in reality. It doesn’t help that these fights all took place in Brazil, and away from respected athletic commissions. Great year, but Vitor will continue to suffer for his perceived sins.
You can make arguments for Chris Weidman, Cain Velasquez or even Travis Browne for fighter of the year, but for me, only one man is deserving of the honor this year. That man is Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. He had an amazing 2013.
Arguably the most athletic and fastest athlete on the UFC roster, Demetrious has lightning fast takedowns, blinding hand speed and reflexes that are not to be believed. His ability to get under a punch and perform a takedown is unlike anything I’ve seen in the sport, and he simply has too much speed for fighters in the sport’s fastest division.
He started off 2013 with a five round unanimous decision victory over John Dodson, a fighter who many felt would be too fast and pack too much of a punch for Johnson to deal with. Dodson proved he had a ton of power, dropping Johnson twice in the second round. When it was all said and done, Demetrious had won the fight (48-47, 49-46 & 48-47) and the fight was awarded Fight of the Night, netting the two combatants healthy bonuses for their efforts.
Demetrious would next enter the cage in Seattle, WA to face off with John Moraga and dominated the fight from start to finish. His speed and takedowns were in full display and he controlled the fight in its entirety. Johnson set a couple of UFC marks that night, most takedowns (12) and latest win via submission. Not content to ride out the clock and earn the decision victory, Johnson went out in the fifth and final round and fought like a madman, gaining the victory via submission with just over a minute to go in the fifth and final frame. When he secured the armbar and Moraga tapped, the Key Arena went nuts, and as someone who was inside that arena watching, it was a remarkable moment. The win earned Demetrious Johnson the submission of the night bonus.
Like I said, not everything that goes into having a great year happens inside the Octagon, and in July, Demetrious and his wife Destiny welcomed their first child, Tyren, into the world. A “mini-mini mouse” if you will. Having that child, is the motivating force in Johnson’s life, and he trains, and fights to provide an amazing life for his wife and child.
Demetrious closed the year with an amazing performance on UFC on Fox December 14th, in his second fight with Joseph Benavidez. Benavidez is widely considered to be the one man who can take the belt from Johnson, and is seen my many as his stiffest challenge. Well, on this occasion it was not to be for Benavidez, who was dispatched of early, earning Johnson his third bonus in as many fights in 2013, this time winning the KO of the Night award. It only took Demetrious 2 minutes to render Benavidez unconscious and defend his belt for the third time. A vicious knockout, Johnson showed he not only has speed, but power as well, making him one of the scariest fighters in the UFC.
Demetrious sits atop the UFC’s smallest weight class, and is finally beginning to gain some of the pound for pound respect his skills time and again prove he’s worthy of. In the UFC/Media/Celebrity/Official/Unofficial rankings, Demetrious is ranked #4 Pound for Pound. I would move him ahead of Cain Velasquez into the third spot, but it’s made up rankings either way. As long as Demetrious stays firmly atop of the Flyweight ranks, he’ll be plenty happy.
I’ve heard that success is not the goal, it’s the bi-product. For Johnson, all the hard work has produced an amazing 2013, and success has come. He can add our 2013 Fighter of the Year to his growing list of accomplishments.
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