Alright guys, the summer holidays are all over now. Canadian fans, the fireworks and Canada Day celebrations are nearly a week past. For Americans the Fourth of July party has wrapped up. With that in mind, it’s time to take a look back at the half-year (January 1-July 1) that has been so far in the MMA world. These are my picks for the 2013 MMA Awards for the First Half-Year. For each category I’ll take a look at my choice in detail along with listing a couple of notable mentions. Let’s get right into it.
Submission of the Half-Year: Kenny Robertson applies a Suloev Stretch to Brock Jardine at UFC 157
Honorable Mentions: Josh Burkman chokes out Jon Fitch with a Guillotine Choke in the World Series of Fighting, Rose Namajuna lands a Flying Armbar on Kathina Catron at Invicta FC 5.
Knockout of the Half-Year: Vitor Belfort knocks out Luke Rockhold with a Spinning Heel Kick at UFC on FX 8
Belfort actually attempted this kick a few times during the bout, but Rockhold was able to dodge it the first time or two. Belfort was rewarded for sticking with it. This was an absolutely highlight reel knockout that flattened Rockhold and directly lead to the finish of this bout. This is a highlight you need to search on YouTube.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Hunt destroys Stefan Struve’s jawbone at UFC on Fuel TV in Japan, Junior dos Santos flattens Mark Hunt with a Spinning Heel Kick at UFC 160, TJ Grant TKOs Gray Maynard at UFC 160 to earn a shot at the UFC Lightweight Title
Biggest Upset of the Half-Year: Antonio Silva storms back in the Third Round to demolish Alistair Overeem at UFC 156
For the first two rounds, this bout was going exactly like everyone expected that it would. Alistair Overeem one of the best Heavyweight strikers in the UFC was outworking Antonio Silva at a considerable pace. In the third round, likely needing a finish, Antonio Silva stormed out and did exactly what he needed to do. Overeem kept his hands low and in the third Silva landed a big shot that clipped Overeem on the chin and rocked him. Sensing opportunity, Silva swarmed Overeem and battered him with huge punches. Overeem was out on his feet before a huge uppercut sent him to the canvas for good.
Honorable Mentions: Stipe Miocic outboxes Roy Nelson for three full rounds at UFC 161, Kelvin Gastelum defeats Uriah Hall to steal the TUF 17 Middleweight Championship, Emanuel Newton clobbers King Mo Lawal at Bellator 90 as a 10-1 underdog
Best Event of the Half-Year: UFC on Fox 7 delivers with six undercard knockouts, a Welterweight war and two Lightweight scraps for the ages.
The main event of the evening featured an excellent back and forth technical striking battle between two of the Lightweight division’s best in Gilbert Melendez and Benson Henderson. In the co-main event Josh Thomson became the first man to stop a Diaz brother with strikes in the UFC as he knocked out Nate Diaz in the second round of their bout. Daniel Cormier made his UFC debut in successful fashion as he dominated Frank Mir and the main card opened with an excellent brawl between Welterweights Jordan Mein and Matt Brown. As mentioned the undercard featured six knockouts, with only one bout being considered somewhat of a disappointment.
Honorable Mentions: UFC on Fuel TV 10 sets a UFC record for most submissions in one card, Bellator FC makes it’s Spike TV debut with Bellator 85 featuring a pair of title fights
Watch this fight. Now. Go on YouTube and watch. Both of these guys just left it all in the octagon in Japan. Each man scored a couple of knockdowns and there were a number of close calls. Finally, late in the second round Wanderlei Silva blasted Stann with a giant flurry and finally put Stann out cold for good.
Honorable Mentions: Johnny Hendricks earns a Welterweight title shot after winning a war against Carlos Condit, Pat Curran defeats Patricio Freire after five rounds of striking action at Bellator 85, Benson Henderson defends his Lightweight title against Gilbert Melendez in a back and forth scrap at UFC on Fox 7