Our Top 5 Favorite Fights of the Year (so far)

Posted: June 26, 2013 in Commentary/Opinion, UFC Events, Vigilante Rankings

UFC on FUEL TV: Silva v StannIt’s the time of year when the UFC, and other outlets release their mid-year awards for best fight, best KO, etc. We really don’t care about “best” of anything right now. But we do have several favorites that we care about. Here’s a quick look at our Top 5 Favorite Fights of the 1st half of 2013.

1. Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann (UFC on Fuel 8). Not only was this fight as entertaining as any I’ve seen in quite some time, it also touched on a few other aspects of fighting that I love. First, nostalgia. Silva looked like the Axe Murderer again. If that fight didn’t bring back memories of when Silva ruled Pride, then you weren’t paying attention. Second, this fight reminded us that we don’t need a hero and a villain. Sometimes two heroes will work out just fine. Silva was classy in victory and Stann was gracious in defeat. My favorite moment of the fight was when the two sluggers were trading and Stann gained the upper hand by knocking Wand to the mat. A second later, Silva rallied to return the favor to Stann. When I think back on Silva’s career, this fight will be among the highlights. What an incredible fight. My favorite of the year so far.

2. Cat Zingano vs. Miesha Tate (TUF 17 Finale). This fight had plenty riding on it—a title shot, a coaching spot on TUF; basically it would turn one fighter into a superstar. Tate had far more “big fight” experience, but Zingano already had insider cred. For the entire first round, Tate took it to a visibly nervous Zingano, who cried on her way to the octagon for the first time in the spotlight, gaining plenty of fans along the way. As the fight went on, Tate’s advantage began slipping in inverse proportion to Cat’s confidence. By the 3rd round, Zingano had me jumping all over my living room–I think I tweaked a hammy. Several devastating knees later, she stepped into the limelight for the first time. I felt this fight represented a star being born right in front of our eyes.

3. Antonio Silva vs. Alistair Overeem (UFC 156). Remember when I said it isn’t necessary to have a hero and a villain? Well, okay, sometimes it’s really nice. Leading up to the fight, Overeem had his usually swagger which is easily confused for being a douche. Athletically, Bigfoot was overmatched. Overeem handled him fairly easily in the first half of the fight, but perhaps he started gassing. That’s when Bigfoot came out like a madman in the 3rd round by shockingly and relentlessly pounding The Reem into unconsciousness. This will likely go down as the most surprising knockout of the year. It will also remind us that sometimes arrogance gets beaten.

4.  Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve (UFC on Fuel 8). Leading up to this fight, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Hunt’s sheer power and striking would be going head to head with Struve’s superior ground game and submission ability. That knowledge going in helped put this fight into pure edge-of-your-seat drama. Why? Because it didn’t work out that way at all. We saw Struve actually using his own striking to his advantage—largely due to his length. It had me and everyone else yelling, “why are you standing with him?!” Conversely, Hunt seemed to have no fear taking the fight to the ground. Again I yelled, “why are you going to the ground?!” With that much drama—and a tremendous knockout—who could leave this fight of the list? I can’t.

5. Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone (UFC on Fox 6). What appeared to be similarly styled athletes going in, turned out to be one guy looking vastly superior than any of us expected. We all knew Pettis was upper level, but did we know he was THAT good? Probably not. Cerrone was ready to a crack at the title with a win, but Pettis came out and shocked him. He threw a cartwheel kick and a “Showtime” knee off the cage—just because he could. In just 2 and a half minutes, Pettis leaped above everyone else in the division and finished Cerrone impressively. Unlike some of the others on this list, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat—quite frankly because there wasn’t enough time.

So let’s hear form the fans. Which fights did we leave off? Which fights were YOUR favorites?

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