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MMA: Top 10 Fights Of 2010Posted on Sun, Dec 19, 2010 at 7:29 pm
by IDMA Editor
2010 was another strong year for mixed martial arts. The Ultimate Fighting Championship continued to flourish, delivering record setting attendance at their live events as well as record setting buys on their pay-per view presentations.
As with any year, there were highs and lows on each fight card.
Some fights don't live up to their hype, others deliver above and beyond what was expected and still others come from out of nowhere and etch themselves in the minds of the fans.
The following list is the top ten fights of 2010(in no particular order)
Leonard Garcia Vs. Chan Sung Jung
Garcia vs. "The Korean Zombie" took place at WEC 48 in April of this year. Chan Sung Jung was making his WEC and American mixed martial arts debut in the fight. Garcia was a replacement for the injured Cub Swanson.
American fight fans got a taste of why Jung is called "The Korean Zombie" as he ate every punch that Garcia could muster and just kept pushing forward.
The first round had wild bolo punches, strong kicks and big knees.
The second round had more of the same, adding a ground choke attempt from Jung and some head kicks from each fighter.
When they split for the break between the second and third rounds it looked as if neither fighter would be able to continue.
The third round started out a lot slower than the first two, but then with 1:20 left in the fight the two combatants opened it back up to the approval of the crowd.
Style? This fight had none. Excitement, guts and heart? Tons, and that's what lands it in the top ten.
To quote Joe Rogan, "This is like a Rocky fight."
Garcia took the split decision that many thought could have gone the other way.
Donald Cerrone Vs. Jamie Varner II
This was a rematch from a 2009 bout. In the first fight Varner was unable to continue after what was deemed an illegal knee to the head. The stoppage and subsequent Varner victory did not sit well with Cerrone and he let everyone know his feelings.
“There’s absolutely still bad blood there,” Cerrone told UFC.com. “I mean, I thought I took my loss to him just fine but he just wants to keep after it, after it, after it … I don’t know, man, he’s just a punk."
Varner did not remain quiet on the subject, saying, “A lot of people forget the rounds before the knee (to my head); all they remember is the last three seconds of that fight. They don’t remember the four rounds before that where I was kicking the s--- out of him with a broken hand and a broken foot. All they remember is the controversial ending and then him running his mouth. So this is a good opportunity to shut him up and shut everybody else up and let them see that I’m the real deal."
The fight took place on September 30 in Bloomfield, Colorado.
Cerrone was dominant in this fight, and earned a unanimous decision victory, but the victory did little to quell his animosity toward Varner.
It would not be surprising to see these two battle in a rubber match somewhere down the road.
Sean Sherk Vs. Evan Dunham
Sherk, the UFC veteran, had been absent from the Octagon for 16 months prior to this fight against the up and coming Evan Dunham.
Speaking about his long absence, Sherk told MMAJunkie, "I've been injured over the past couple years. I'm not going to discuss the nature of my injuries, but I've had some serious injuries I've had to deal with, and I've fought injured. It took a toll in my training and my game plans coming into fights and things like that."
Sherk continued, "I had to make a conscious effort to take some time off and let my body heal up, which I did. I got 100 percent healed up mentally and physically. I started my training camp completely fresh. It's the first time I've done that in a long time. I was able to finish a training camp without getting injured."
Dunham entered the fight with an 11-0 record
Dunham locked in several chokes that looked tight, one even had Mike Goldberg prematurely exclaiming "It's all over!" during the 1st round.
Sherk opened a huge cut above Dunham's eyebrow near the end of the first round.
In the second round Dunham again locked on a choke that Sherk got free from, showing that Sherk, who had never been stopped, had impregnable submission defense.
The final round seemed to be all Dunham. He was dominant in the striking game and had Sherk wobbled a few times.
When it went to the judges, the victory was a split decision win for Sherk. The crowd clearly disagreed with the decision.
This was a great fight, showing that Sherk's career is far from over and highlighting the fact that Dunham is a talent to be reckoned with.
Yoshihiro Akiyama Vs Chris Leben
Akiyama came into the fight with a record of 13-1-0-2 in his mixed martial arts career. Leben, who had fought just two weeks prior to this bout, beating Aaron Simpson by TKO, had a MMA record of 24-6.
The fight took place at UFC 116 on July 3.
The first round started out with Akiyama taking Leben to the ground. Leben attempted an armbar, but that was reversed into an Akiyama armbar attempt. Leben was able to get to his feet as the round neared its end, landing a left hand before being taken to the ground as the bell sounded.
Akiyama clipped Leben with a spinning back fist early in the second and the two looked to mix it up on their feet. Leben caught Akiyama and then he returned the favor, rocking Leben hard and he looked out on his feet for a bit. When the round ended both fighters looked gassed with Akiyama almost falling off his stool between rounds.
The third round saw Akiyama take Leben to the ground, but Leben was active from his back, using strikes from the bottom to work Akiyama. The fight could have gone either way at this point as judges don't always reward fighters for being active from the bottom.
With 30 seconds left Leben sank the triangle in and submitted Akiyama.
Leben's win was impressive on it's own, but when you consider he had fought two weeks before, it becomes even more impressive
Carlos Condit Vs. Rory MacDonald
MacDonald entered this fight at UFC 115 on June 12 with an MMA record of 10-0, but you would have been hard pressed to find anyone that gave him a chance against the 24-5 Carlos Condit.
MacDonald got the attention of the more experienced Condit early, taking him down twice early in the first round. MacDonald was all pressure early in the fight and the first round was clearly all MacDonald.
MacDonald and his camp had obviously trained specifically for Condit. Everything Condit offered in rounds one and two, was answered effectively by MacDonald.
The first two rounds were very technical and looked like they had both gone MacDonald's way.
Condit's trainer Greg Jackson was emphatic that Condit had to finish the fight in the third and he came out very aggressive. Condit took the fight to the ground early in the round and started to deliver some big elbows. Condit rocked MacDonald with strikes and kept working hard to end the fight, but MacDonald would not go quietly.
Condit was abusing MacDonald as time ticked down, when the referee stopped the fight with seven seconds left giving the win to Condit.
It did not appear that MacDonald was defenseless when the fight was stopped.
A great technical fight for the first two rounds and a nice comeback for Condit in the third, but the ending of this fight was unfortunate.
Kazu Misaki Vs Jorge Santiago
The second fight between Misaki and Santiago took place at Sengoku 14 in Tokyo on August 22.
The back and forth action in this fight was incredible. In the fourth round the champion, Santiago put himself in serious trouble when he crawled through the ropes to escape the abuse from Misaki. That action got a point deducted and he was in serious trouble going into the fifth and final round.
Santiago needed a stoppage to win the fight and he showed the heart of a champion in the final round, just abusing Misaki until Misaki's corner had seen enough and threw in the towel with 30 seconds left in the fight.
Ben Henderson Vs. Anthony Pettis
The final fight in the history of World Extreme Cagefighting did not disappoint. Ben Henderson looked to defend his WEC lightweight title against Anthony Pettis in this bout. The winner would leave the cage as the final WEC lightweight champion and be in line for a UFC/WEC unification bout against the winner of Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.
The implications of this fight were huge.
The fight seemed to be tied at two rounds apiece heading into the fifth and final round. With a minute left Pettis delivered an incredible kick that may have been the deciding factor in the fight. To quote Stephan Bonnar, "He ran up the cage like a ninja, it was like something out of the Matrix”
The fight went the distance, with Pettis getting the unanimous decision victory, the WEC title and the chance at the unified lightweight championship sometime in the near future.
Mark Hominick Vs Yves Jabouin
This fight took place at WEC 49 on June 20 in Edmonton.
This featherweight bout was all attacking and action on the part of Jabouin in the first round. He landed strikes from every level and every angle and his pace was incredible.
The second round opened the same, but Jabouin could not sustain the pace and when Hominick caught him with a left to the liver he buckled and dropped. Hominck then attacked and landed heavy blows before Jabouin came back and dropped him with a huge right.
Hominick recovered and reversed Jabouin and took the mount and just teed off; forcing the referee to stop the fight in the second round.
This fight was a fantastic display of pace and striking and if you never saw it, do yourself a favor and catch this one.
Shane Carwin Vs. Brock Lesnar
The UFC heavyweight title fight between Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin was far from a technical masterpiece, but it was an exciting fight.
The battle took place on July 3 at UFC 116 and it was one of the most heavily hyped fights in UFC history.
No one had escaped the first round when facing Carwin and his heavy hands, the question was could Lesnar be the first.
Carwin had Lesnar scurrying across the Octagon trying to avoid his strikes, but there was only so far he could run and Carwin caught up to the Lesnar and dropped him to the ground. Carwin then rained punches down for almost three straight minutes looking to take Lesnar out. His mistake was that he smelled blood and did not show patience and when Lesnar made it through the round, Carwin was gassed.
Lesnar easily took Carwin down in the second and then choked him out to retain his title.
The mistake that Carwin made was not repeated by Cain Velasquez when he picked Lesnar apart later in 2010.
This fight gets the nod over the Velasquez bout due to the fact that Lesnar was never in the Velasquez fight. This fight showed some good resolve on the part of Lesnar with a nice comeback victory.
Anderson Silva Vs Chael Sonnen
For four rounds Chael Sonnen dominated UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. When the fight got to the fifth and final round at UFC 117, it looked as if Sonnen would be leaving the Octagon with the UFC belt draped around his waist.
Silva needed to finish the fight to retain the title he held since 2006 and he did just that, catching Sonnen and locking on a triangle choke that forced Sonnen to tap out with less than two minutes left in the fight.
After the fight it looked like a rematch was in line. That rematch never materialized as Sonnen tested positive for excessively high levels of testosterone in his drug test for the fight.