Below you’ll find https://mmainsight.com’s end of year awards, offering up our winners in a variety of categories including ‘Fight Of The Year’ and ‘Event Of The Year’.
Fight Of The Year 2012:
Winner: ‘The Korean Zombie’ Vs Dustin Poirier at UFC On Fuel TV 3.
Reason: Hidden away on a Fuel TV card watched live by less than 200,000 viewers was the best fight this year. For four rounds these two bantamweights went back and forth with each man desperate to come out on top and get within touching distance of a title shot.
Here’s what I wrote in my fight report afterwards on this site:
“This was an amazing fight – at times just balls to the wall, but at others beautifully technical on the ground. It’s unquestionably the ‘Fight Of The Night’, but it might be up their as a ‘Fight Of The Year’ candidate in December too.”
We often get to see an exciting stand-up battle, and occasionally a stand-out grappling war in this sport, but rarely both together at the same time and that’s what why this one gets the nod.
Knockout Of The Year 2012:
Winner: Edwin Barboza’s wheel kick KO against Terry Etim at UFC 142 in Brazil.
Reason: There’s been some nasty knockouts this year, but none that managed to do so with the technique, timing and flair of Edson Barboza.
He managed to pole-axe the UK’s Terry Etim with a stunning wheel kick that sent the Brazilian fans in attendance into raptures and MMA fans jaws dropping in unison around the globe.
It’s always exciting to see rarely utilized techniques being used in the Octagon, but for one to land with such devastating effect is priceless and ranks amongst the best head kick KO’s in the history of the sport.
Submission Of The Year 2012:
Winner: Ronda Rousey’s first round armbar against Miesha Tate at Strikeforce 39.
Reason: Everyone knew what Rousey’s gameplan was heading into this fight – get Tate down and go for the armbar as she’d done in her previous four professional fights.
This was a step up in class though with Tate being the current champion, an experienced fighter and certainly the toughest test of Rousey’s career, so it should have been easier said than done.
In the end though, despite Tate’s best efforts, Rousey did in fact get her down, seize a hold of her arm, and at the second attempt bent that limb into the kind of position that not only forced her opponent to tap out, but left no one who had witnessed it in any doubt that she’d be heading to the hospital afterwards. Brutal stuff.
Beatdown Of The Year:
Winner: Jimi Manuwa Vs Kyle Kingsbury
Reason: No one got put through the wringer in a single fight more than Kyle Kingsbury in 2012. Determined to make an immediate impression in the UFC in his debut Jimi Manuwa came out with all guns blazing and his superior striking ability quickly became painfully apparent for his opponent.
Kingsbury took everything but the kitchen sink – vicious knees and kicks to the head, sickening body shots and ram-rod punches, all of which had him floored several times, yet via a remarkable display of heart and courage he kept getting back to his feet.
Some fighters are too tough for their on good though and at the end of the second round with Kingsbury barely recognizable under a collection of lumps, bumps and bruises on his face that included a grotesquely swollen eye courtesy of an orbital bone fracture the cageside doctor did him a huge favor by calling off the fight.
Event Of The Year 2012:
Winner: UFC 146: Dos Santos Vs Mir
Reason: What’s remarkable about this card which aimed to provide an all-heavyweight main card is that despite being plagued with injuries it still ended up providing exciting action from top to bottom.
All five main card fights were finished inside the distance including JDS successfully defending his heavyweight title against Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez getting back to winning ways by quickly disposing Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva.
‘UFC On FOX 4’ was also a contender here as it had a very strong main card, but what makes UFC 146 pip it to the post is the strength of the undercard which included a major upset win for Jamie Varner against Edson Barboza, Dan Hardy finally getting back to winning ways in spectacular fashion against Duane Ludwig, another terrific submission win for Paul Sass and the eagerly awaited debut of Glover Teixiera.
Fighter Of The Year:
Winner: Ben Henderson
Reason: Henderson hasn’t put a foot wrong since moving across from the WEC last year, and in 2012 he got his just rewards for that.
He won the lightweight title back in February after defeating Frankie Edgar, then beat him again a few months later for good measure. Not resting on his laurels he then capped the year with a third win, this time in dominant fashion against Nate Diaz.
That fight was watched by nearly six million viewers thanks to being the headliner on ‘UFC On FOX 5’ and leaves no doubt that Henderson is currently the dominant force at 155lbs.
Comeback Fighter Of The Year:
Winner: Matt Brown
Reason: Brown isn’t going to be heading into title contention at 170lbs any time soon, but the fact that he’s still in the UFC at all is a remarkable achievement when you consider that he came into 2012 with a recent record of 1-4.
Under the threat of being released from the UFC Brown somehow managed to pull together a four fight unbeaten run this year, culminating with a devastating knockout finish against Mike Swick on the main card of ‘UFC On FOX 5’ earlier this month.
Staredown Of The Year:
Winner: Ronda Rousey Vs Misha Tate
Reason: When it came to all-out intensity in the staredown department it was the ladies who outdid the men this year.
There had been so much bad blood between Rousey and Tate pre-fight that it was perhaps not surprising that something might happen when they squared up for the customary staredown at the weigh-ins the night before their title clash.
The aggression displayed caught everyone off-guard though as Tate strode up to the challenger and confidently moved right up into her personal space which apparently didn’t go down with Rousey who snarled as she burst forward, sticking her head straight into Tate’s face and forcing her backwards.
Rousey was perhaps lucky to escape some sort of punishment for her actions, but there’s no question she walked off that stage with the upper-hand as far as intimidation goes and had everyone excited to see what was going to go down the following night.