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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, finishes, and fights of the year thus far. Today we continue the series with the top submissions of 2012 (so far).
2012 Fight of the Year (So Far): "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier - UFC on Fuel 3
Yes, the best fight of the year took place on a card that only a small percentage of fans saw live. But what a fight it was. "The Korean Zombie" has been a part of some of the biggest moments of the last 18 months, from his Twister to a seven second KO and then this fight, and he has never looked better than he did against Poirier. There was added drama in how the fight played out as well, as Poirier was the favorite, and was expected to pick up a win to set up a title fight against Jose Aldo. Well, Zombie had different ideas, and caught Poirier off guard in the first round both standing and on the ground. Poirier came back in an incredible back and forth second round that was easily the best of the year, and then after a slower third round, Zombie picked things back up at the outset of the fourth. The finishing sequence was incredible as well, as he landed a jumping knee that dropped Poirier, then set up a D'Arce choke to force the submission. It was a fantastic, fantastic fight, and it's just unfortunate it wasn't seen by more people live.
The Best of the Rest
Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier (Strikeforce "Barnett vs. Cormier"): This is easily the best five-round heavyweight fight in the sport's history. It isn't often that fighters in the division go the distance, and even less often in a fight with five rounds. However, what we got from Cormier and Barnett in May was the very best example of that rare occurrence. Barnett is a very savvy veteran fighter, and Cormier showed off just how far he's come in this sport in a short time. Cormier's wrestling advantage was clear throughout, as he kept the fight standing for some time, out-striking Barnett and using his speed to get in with his strikes. Additionally, he also scored some big takedowns and did a lot of damage on the ground as well. It was a sustained, mostly one-sided performance, and it was fascinating to watch through all five rounds. Awesome fight, and the best heavyweight fight you'll see without a finish.
Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson (UFC 144): Frankie Edgar fought in two instant classic fights with Gray Maynard in 2011, which followed two fascinating - if not entirely exciting - fights with B.J. Penn in 2010. Suffice it to say, his track record in five round fights is pretty stellar, and his bout with Ben Henderson in Japan was no exception. This time, however, he came up on the losing end of a judges' decision, and the fight wasn't quite at the epic level the Maynard fights were. Still, 25 minutes of close action between two world class fighters is fun to watch any day, and we'll see the rematch next month at UFC 151.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall (UFC on FX 2): The fight that prompted a rematch between the two is one of the more exciting draws ever, and really one of the most deserving of the "draw" distinction. Johnson picked up the first two rounds with his speed and striking, then McCall turned the tables in the final frame, notching a 10-8 round with a dominant display in the round. It should have garnered a fourth round as part of the flyweight tourney, but the scores were not tabulated correctly, which brought about a decidedly less exciting rematch.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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