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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
We're at the mid-way point of 2012, so this week I'll be looking back on my favorite events, fighters, finishes, and fights of the year thus far. Today we begin with the top events of 2012 (so far)
2012 Event of the Year (So Far): UFC 144 "Edgar vs. Henderson - Feb. 26, Saitama, Japan
The UFC's first event in Japan under the Zuffa banner provided for the most entertaining fight event top to bottom thus far this year. It hasn't been an excellent year for strong all-around fight cards, due mainly to a major string of injuries and shakeups that have torn apart the UFC's intentions, but from a depleted pool to choose from, UFC 144 was the strongest. A couple of fights brought things down a bit, as the "Rampage" Jackson-Ryan Bader fight and Jake Shields vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama slowed the action down, but this card featured almost nothing but action aside from those two fights.
The preliminary card featured a few immensely exciting fights, capped off by Takanori Gomi pulling off a come-from-behind win, just his second win in five UFC appearances. The main card then featured two of the most memorable finishes of the year in Anthony Pettis' head kick knockout of Joe Lauzon and Tim Boetsch's incredible third round knockout of Yushin Okami. Finally, the night was capped off by one of the best fights of the year in the very close Lightweight Title fight between Ben Henderson and Frankie Edgar, the rematch of which will come next month in Denver, Colo.
The Best of the Rest
UFC 146 "Dos Santos vs. Mir": The UFC's first ever all-heavyweight main card provided an immensely fun night of fights, all of which ended fairly quickly, but it was not quite the card it was originally scheduled to be. Alistair Overeem's removal had a trickle down effect, changing every one of the main card fights. Still, between Junior dos Santos making his first title defense, Cain Velasquez destroying Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, and Roy Nelson knocking out Dave Herman, there was enough action for any card. Throw in Glover Teixeira's highly impressive debut, Dan Hardy scoring his first win since 2009, and Jamie Varner pulling off an upset over Edson Barboza, it was a really fun night of MMA action.
UFC on Fox 3: The first two UFC events on Fox left a lot to be desired from an action standpoint. November's Heavyweight Title bout brought the most viewers in U.S. MMA history, but featured just 64 seconds of fighting. The second event, while still providing solid ratings and featuring several big names, featured three fairly dull fights that all went to the scorecards. The UFC opted to go a different route for event number three, and though it suffered severely in the ratings due to a lack of names, the fans that tuned in were treated to a show (save for the Johny Hendricks vs. Josh Koscheck bout). Still, Nate Diaz's impressive submission of Jim Miller, Alan Belcher's stoppage of Rousimar Palhares, and Lavar Johnson's knockout of Pat Barry were all immensely exciting.
UFC on FX 2: The third annual event in Australia for the UFC saw the introduction of the flyweights to the UFC, and though the Ian McCall vs. Demetrious Johnson bout would end in controversy, it was part of a larger, more exciting overall event. In addition to that fantastic bout, the card featured seven stoppages, four of which came in the first round.
UFC 142: The UFC kicked off their year with an entertaining event in Brazil, including a fun, albeit brief, main card. It featured Edson Barboza's incredible spinning wheel kick KO over Terry Etim - a kick which has been nominated for an ESPY award for "Play of the Year" - and also featured Jose Aldo's amazing finish in the final seconds of the opening round against Chad Mendes. Though Vitor Belfort's finish of Anthony Johnson was marred by the latter's egregiously missed weight, and Erick Silva's quick finish of Carlo Prater marred by a disqualification, the action still came fast and furious in Rio de Janeiro.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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