...OH, ONE MORE THING - PLEASE BOOKMARK US & VISIT DAILY!
By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
2014 was a year packed to the brim with fights, but with so many major injuries and so many fairly inconsequential fights on a big stage, it was hard for a lot to rise above the rest. Still, the year featured plenty of moments that have stuck with us through the year, and we'll be highlighting the top finishes, events, and fighters here this week as we close out the year.
Over the next several days, I'll be running down my awards for the year, and we'll have thoughts from the Torch team in a series of roundtables with their favorites from the year as well. The awards continue this afternoon with the "Fight of the Year."
2014 Fight of the Year: Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida - UFC 175 - July 5
There's going to be a ton of debate on this category, and there are going to be a lot of very valid and understandable choices made for this pick, but for me, Weidman and Machida had the best fight of the year. Though it started slow during the opening two rounds, it ramped up for the final 15, and featured some fantastic displays of heart from both competitors. Weidman really looked like he was taking control in the third round, but then Machida hurt him badly in the fourth and made him dig deep to hold on in a highly competitive fifth round. Weidman got pushed to his limit by an elite challenger, came away still the Champion, and both left elevated by their respective performances.
The Best of the Rest (In Chronological Order)
Daniel Straus vs. Pat Curran III (Bellator 112)
For as valid as criticism was towards this being booked in the first place, the fight we got between these two was fantastic. It was mostly competitive for its entirety, with a ton more action from each than in their initial rematch just four months earlier, and Straus seemed to be closing in on the decision victory as things wore down. However, Curran wouldn't be deterred, and he caught Straus late in the final round in a rear naked choke, forcing the defending Champion to tap with only 14 seconds left in the fight.
Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler I (UFC 171)
One night after Straus and Curran put forth an excellent fight, the first Hendricks-Lawler fight upped the bar. Hendricks, coming off his disappointment in a split decision loss to Georges St-Pierre, was determined to capture the title, but he had to do so through an arm injury. Lawler nearly finished off a storybook return to the UFC (which would culminate in his win in the rematch later in the year), but it was Hendricks finishing out strong in just another really good title fight.
Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva (UFC Fight Night 40)
If this were a more meaningful fight with more at stake, it probably would have run away with "FotY" honors; it was that good. Silva nearly finished Brown in the first round with a brutal body kick, but Brown came back with a furious onslaught of his own in that round. Silva got in some damage in the second round, but it was him surviving the insane output of Brown that impressed further. Still, he was worn down into the third, and Brown took control to cap off his performance, scoring the finish two minutes into the final round. It was just an awesome, fantastically exciting fight from start to finish.
Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes II (UFC 179)
Despite some lackluster main events this year, the UFC put on quite a few really excellent title fights, and this was no exception. Mendes forced Aldo out of his comfort zone in a very good performance, but it just brought out Aldo's best. The Champ retained with a striking game that was just better than Mendes, and showed he can take his challenger's best and fire back. It was a great fight, just slightly below Weidman-Machida fight.
-Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller (UFC Fight Night 45)
-Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown (UFC on Fox 12)
-Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson (UFC Fight Night 57)
-Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks II (UFC 181)
DON'T GO YET... WE SUGGEST THESE MMATORCH ARTICLES, TOO!
Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
STAFF COLUMNISTS: Shawn Ennis - Jason Amadi
Frank Hyden - Rich Hansen
Chris Park - Matt Pelkey
Interested in joining MMATorch's writing team? Send idea for a theme to your column (for Specialist section) or area of interest (i.e. TV Reporter) along with a sample of writing to email@example.com.