PUNCHDRUNKGAMER’S BEST OF 2010 MMA AWARDS

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01/18/2011

 

 

PUNCHDRUNKGAMER’S BEST OF 2010 MMA AWARDS

By Justin Bolduc

 

 

2010 continued the blitz of high-level mixed martial arts.  The UFC put on more events than ever, Strikeforce continued to lure more talent, and the WEC finally completely merged with the UFC.  Below are the best of 2010 awards presented by PunchDrunkGamer.

 

 

Fighter of the Year:

 

 

Hiroyuki Takaya

2010 Record:  3-0 (2 TKO)

2010 Victims:  Joachim Hansen, Chase Beebe, Bibiano Fernandes

Accomplishments: Crowned Dream Featherweight Champion

 

Despite the slow decline of Japanese mixed martial arts, Hiroyuki Takaya stood out as the most impressive featherweight of 2010.

Entering the year off back-to-back losses against Bibiano Fernandes and Michihiro Omigawa, Takaya started with a bang by knockout out PRIDE star Joachim Hansen in under five minutes.  In his next bout he stopped former WEC champion Chase Beebe by knockout in under two minutes.  His most recent performance saw him avenge the loss to Fernandes by decision to become Dream’s featherweight champion.

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Nick Diaz

2010 Record:  3-0 (1 TKO, 1 Sub)

2010 Wins:  Marius Zaromskis, Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, K.J. Noons

Accomplishments:  Crowned Strikeforce Welterweight Champion, 1x Strikeforce title defense

 

 

Alistair Overeem

2010 Record:  2-0 (2 TKO)

2010 Wins:  Brett Rogers, Todd Duffee

Accomplishments:  Crowned K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, Crowned Dream Heavyweight Champion, 1x Strikeforce title defense

 

 

Jose Aldo

2010 Record:  2-0 (1 TKO)

2010 Victims:  Urijah Faber, Manny Gamburyan

Accomplishments:  Defended WEC Featherweight Championship twice

 

 

 

Fight of the Year:

 

 

Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis – WEC 53 (December 16)

 

As the main event of the last-ever WEC event, Ben Henderson put his lightweight title on the line against knockout artist Anthony Pettis.  In a very close bout which saw the final minutes decide the outcome, Henderson and Pettis cemented what the WEC has always been about – world class talent and exciting match-making.

With each fighter getting the best of striking and grappling, including riding their opponent’s back for nearly an entire round, both fighters entered the final round tied up with two rounds each.  The close back-and-forth action continued and Henderson seemed to be edging ahead slightly as the clock ticked away.  Then, out of nowhere, Pettis leaped into the air, jumped off the fence, and threw a vicious kick which dropped Henderson.  Pettis was unable to finish Henderson, but at the end of the fight once again had the champion in trouble.  The flying ninja kick from “Showtime” sealed him the victory and put him down in history as the WEC’s last lightweight champion.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Jorge Santiago vs. Kazuo Misaki 2 – Sengoku 14 (August 22)

Outcome:  In a war which rivaled their first encounter, Santiago won by TKO due to corner stoppage with twenty-nine seconds remaining in the fight.  From start to finish the two elite middleweights used striking and grappling at the pleasure of viewers, and despite Santiago going up 2-0 over Misaki it is quite doubtful that anyone would complain at a third fight between the two.

 

Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung – WEC 48 (April 24)

Outcome:  Garcia was handed a controversial split decision in a bout many believe the “Korean Zombie” won, but the two put on an action-packed showing.  In a fight entirely lacking technique, the two brawlers threw every punch and every kick as hard as they could.  Both fighters were hurt and both tried to capitalize.  Both fighters gassed and both threw haymakers into the wind.  But one thing is certain, both fighters put on a show and kicked WEC 48 off right.

 

 

 

Knockout of the Year:

 

 

George Roop def. Chan Sung Jung – WEC 51 (September 30)

 

Known more for his submission finishes, George Roop surprised the world when he was able to knock out granite-chinned Chan Sung Jung with a second round headkick at WEC 51 this past September.  Along with earning a $10,000 knockout of the night bonus from Zuffa, PDG is more than happy to give Roop knockout of the year for his vicious stoppage over the “Korean Zombie”.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Robbie Lawler def. Melvin Manhoef – Strikeforce: Miami (January 30)

Robbie Lawler def. Matt Lindland – Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu 2 (December 4)

Dan Henderson def. Renato “Babalu” Sobral – Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu 2 (December 4)

 

 

 

Submission of the Year:

 

 

Fabricio Werdum def. Fedor Emelianenko – Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum (June 26)

 

PRIDE and UFC veteran Fabricio Werdum shocked the world and did what no man has ever been able to do before by submitting Fedor Emelianenko in late June.  Despite one loss on his record already, Fedor was largely considered undefeated due to the nature of the loss, but regardless the heavyweight had one of the most impressive win streaks ever seen in the sport.

After a flurry from Emelianenko, Werdum found himself on his back quickly.  The Russian pounced and tried to finish, but ended up in the Brazilian’s world.  Werdum grabbed and arm and continuously transitioned between armbars and triangle chokes.  Finally securing a triangle choke, Werdum forced Fedor to tap out at 1:09.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Chris Leben def. Yoshihiro Akiyama – UFC 116 (July 3)

Anderson Silva def. Chael Sonnen – UFC 117 (August 7)

Jim Miller def. Charles Oliviera – UFC 124 (December 11)

 

 

 

Event of the Year:

 

 

WEC 53 (December 16)

 

To close out the year the WEC put on their last event which included two championship bouts – one of which also crowned a new UFC champion.

WEC 53 featured PDG’s fight of the year in the main event between Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis, which ended in spectacular fashion.  Prior to that title bout Dominick Cruz spent twenty-five minutes out-striking and out-wrestling Scott Jorgensen to remain the WEC’s bantamweight champion and move his career on further by gaining the first-ever UFC bantamweight championship.

The card also featured an exciting submission win by Donald Cerrone over IFL stand-out Chris Horodecki, a vicious knockout due to a slam from Eddie Wineland, a war between Brad Pickett and Ivan Menjivar, and a big submission by prospect Shane Roller over former WEC champion Jamie Varner.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

WEC 52 (November 11)

 

Notable Bouts:  Urijah Faber vs. Takeya Mizugaki, Joseph Benavidez vs. Wagnney Fabiano, Erik Koch vs. Francisco Rivera, Cub Swanson vs. Mackens Semerzier

 

WEC 51 (September 30)

 

Notable Bouts:  Jose Aldo vs. Manny Gamburyan, George Roop vs. Chan Sung Jung, Miguel Torres vs. Charlie Valencia, Donald Cerrone vs. Jamie Varner, Leonard Garcia vs. Mark Hominick, Chris Horodecki vs. Ed Ratcliff

 

Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu 2 (December 4)

 

Notable Bouts:  Dan Henderson vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Paul Daley vs. Scott Smith, Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Lindland, Antonio Silva vs. Mike Kyle

 

 

 

Breakout Fighter of the Year:

 

 

Anthony Pettis

2010 Record:  4-0 (1 TKO, 2 Sub)

2010 Victims:  Danny Castillo, Alex Karalexis, Shane Roller, Ben Henderson

Accomplishments:  Crowned WEC Lightweight Champion.

 

After closing out 2009 with his first professional loss, Anthony Pettis returned big in 2010 with four consecutive wins – including going down as the WEC’s last-ever lightweight champion.

Pettis kicked off 2010 with a highlight reel stoppage over Danny Castillo at WEC 47.  Returning just over a month later, Pettis then submitted UFC veteran Alex Karalexis with a triangle choke at WEC 48.  In one of his most impressive victories, Pettis was able to submit wrestling stand-out Shane Roller off his back with a triangle choke at WEC 50, which earned him his title shot against Ben Henderson.  In PDG’s fight of the year Pettis won a unanimous decision over Henderson to secure himself as PDG’s breakout fighter of the year.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Dominick Cruz

2010 Record:  3-0 (1 TKO)

2010 Wins:  Brian Bowles, Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgensen

Accomplishments:  Crowned WEC Bantamweight Champion, 2x WEC title defenses, Crowned UFC Bantamweight Champion

 

Jim Miller

2010 Record:  4-0 (2 Sub)

2010 Wins:  Duane “Bang” Ludwig, Mark Bocek, Gleison Tibau, Charles Oliviera

 

 

 

Heavyweight of the Year:

 

 

Alistair Overeem

2010 Record:  2-0 (2 TKO)

2010 Victims:  Brett Rogers, Todd Duffee

Accomplishments:  Crowned K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, Crowned Dream Champion, 1x Strikeforce title defense.

 

Despite not having the best accomplishments in mixed martial arts in 2010, it is hard to ignore the fact that Overeem defended his Strikeforce title against a notable opponent, went on to win K-1’s World Grand Prix, and then closed out his year with another win over a dangerous, although admittedly over-matched, opponent.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Cain Velasquez

2010 Record:  2-0 (2 TKO)

2010 Wins:  Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Brock Lesnar

Accomplishments:  Crowned UFC Heavyweight Champion

 

Junior Dos Santos

2010 Record:  3-0 (2 TKO)

2010 Wins:  Gilbert Yvel, Gabriel Gonzaga, Roy Nelson

 

 

 

Light Heavyweight of the Year:

 

 

Ryan Bader

2010 Record:  2-0 (1 TKO)

2010 Victims:  Keith Jardine, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

 

Usually a definitive division, the light heavyweight division saw a lot of fighters hit highs and lows.  Ryan Bader was one of the few stand-outs over the last year in the division though, with a comeback knockout win against Keith Jardine and a unanimous decision over PRIDE veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueria.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Jon Jones

2010 Record:  2-0 (2 TKO)

2010 Wins:  Brandon Vera, Vladimir Matyushenko

 

Rashad Evans

2010 Record:  2-0

2010 Wins:  Thiago Silva, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

 

Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante

2010 Record:  2-0 (2 TKO)

2010 Wins:  Antwain Britt, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal

Accomplishments:  Crowned Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion

 

 

 

Middleweight of the Year:

 

 

Yushin Okami

2010 Record: 3-0 (1 TKO, 2 Decisions)

2010 Victims: Nate Marquardt, Mark Munoz, Lucio Linhares

Accomplishments:  Won six of his last seven fights and is in line to face the winner of Anderson Silva versus Vitor Belfort

 

Yushin Okami has continued to grow as a fighter and he showed that in 2010 as he was able to beat Mark Munoz and Nate Marquardt via decision after starting the year off with a second round TKO over Lucio Linhares. Okami has shown great potential in his UFC career and with a strong 2010 in the books, 2011 may be the year of “Thunder”.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Anderson Silva

2010 Record: 2-0 (1 Sub)

2010 Victims: Chael Sonnen, Demian Maia

Accomplishments: 2x UFC title defenses

 

Jorge Santiago

2010 Record: 2-0 (1 TKO)

2010 Victims: Mamed Khalidov, Kazuo Misaki

Accomplishments: 2x SRC title defenses

 

Chris Leben

2010 Record: 3-0 (1 TKO, 1 Sub)

2010 Victims: Yoshihiro Akiyama, Aaron Simpson, Jay Silva

 

 

 

Welterweight of the Year:

 

 

Nick Diaz

2010 Record:  3-0 (1 TKO, 1 Sub)

2010 Victims:  Marius Zaromskis, Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, K.J. Noons

Accomplishments:  Crowned Strikeforce Welterweight Champion, 1x Strikeforce title defense

 

Nick Diaz continued his impressive run throughout 2010 to earn PDG’s welterweight of the year.  He started his year off by stopping knockout artist and Dream champion Marius Zaromskis with strikes.  After becoming Strikeforce’s first-ever welterweight champion, Diaz fought at Dream 14 where he stopped Hayato “Mach” Sakurai with an armbar in just under four minutes.  In his most recent performance he avenged a loss via cut against K.J. Noons in his first Strikeforce title defense.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Georges St. Pierre

2010 Record:  2-0

2010 Wins:  Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck

Accomplishments:  2x UFC title defenses

 

Jon Fitch

2010 Record:  2-0

2010 Wins:  Ben Saunders, Thiago Alves

 

Carlos Condit

2010 Record:  2-0 (2 TKO)

2010 Wins:  Rory MacDonald, Dan Hardy

 

 

 

Lightweight of the Year:

 

 

Jim Miller

2010 Record:  4-0 (2 Sub)

2010 Victims:  Duane “Bang” Ludwig, Mark Bocek, Gleison Tibau, Charles Oliveira

 

Jim Miller used 2010 to stretch his win streak to six with four more impressive performances.  Moving himself into contender status, Miller was able to begin and end 2010 with submissions over Duane Ludwig and previously undefeated Charles Oliviera, with unanimous decisions over tough competition in between.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Frank Edgar

2010 Record:  2-0

2010 Wins:  B.J. Penn (2)

 

Gray Maynard

2010 Record:  2-0

2010 Wins:  Nate Diaz, Kenny Florian

 

Eddie Alvarez

2010 Record:  2-0 (1 TKO, 1 Sub)

2010 Wins:  Josh Neer, Roger Huerta

 

 

 

Featherweight of the Year:

 

 

Hiroyuki Takaya

2010 Record:  3-0 (2 TKO)

2010 Victims:  Joachim Hansen, Chase Beebe, Bibiano Fernandes

Accomplishments:  Crowned Dream Featherweight Champion

 

PDG’s fighter of the year, Hiroyuki Takaya, is an obvious pick for featherweight of the year.  In his first bout of the year Takaya stopped PRIDE all-star Joachim Hansen with strikes.  He then stopped former WEC champion Chase Beebe with strikes before adding a Dream title to his career with a decision over Bibiano Fernandes.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Jose Aldo

2010 Record:  2-0 (1 TKO)

2010 Wins:  Urijah Faber, Manny Gamburyan

Accomplishments:  Defended WEC Featherweight Championship twice

 

Michihiro Omigawa

2010 Record:  3-0 (2 Sub)

2010 Wins:  Micah Miller, Young Sam Jung, Cole Escovedo

 

Hatsu Hioki

2010 Record:  3-0 (1 Sub)

2010 Wins:  “Lion” Takeshi Inoue, Jeff Lawson, Marlon Sandro

Accomplishments:  Crowned Shooto Lightweight (143 lbs) Champion, Crowned Sengoku Featherweight Champion

 

 

 

Bantamweight of the Year:

 

 

Dominick Cruz

2010 Record:  3-0 (1 TKO)

2010 Victims:  Brian Bowles, Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgensen

Accomplishments:  Crowned WEC Bantamweight Champion, 2x WEC title defenses

 

Dominick Cruz had a highly-impressive run in 2010.  He began by taking the WEC’s bantamweight title from Brian Bowles after his opponent suffered a hand injury.  Cruz then secured a second win over Joseph Benavidez and most recently out-pointed Scott Jorgensen to not only retain the WEC title, but also become the first-ever UFC bantamweight champion.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Scott Jorgensen

2010 Record:  3-1 (1 Sub)

2010 Wins:  Chad George, Antonio Banuelos, Brad Pickett

 

Eddie Wineland

2010 Record:  3-0 (2 TKO)

2010 Wins:  George Roop, Will Campuzano, Ken Stone

 

 

 

The 2010 Mixed Martial Arts – K-1 Highlight of the Year:

 

 

Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas (Rampage vs. Evans) By Huckblade

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Sakuraba Montage By Mr. SpiderPigBegins

Mirko Crocop – Machinemen

MMA Heart By DDevil

K-1 World MAX ~ Surv1v3 ~ by shunsuke

 

 

Other Notable Events of 2010:

 

– The UFC and WEC Merger

– FEG nears financial collapse

– Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix announced

– Chael Sonnen fails drug test after nearly dethroning Anderson Silva

– James Toney’s UFC career is one and done

– The UFC sells nine million pay-per-views

– Cain Velasquez becomes the first Mexican heavyweight champion

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