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Brock Lesnar & the 2010 MMA Awards

By Luigi Lizares Yunque

As the 1st decade of the new millennium is finally coming to an end, the year 2010 was probably one of the best year for Mixed Martial Arts. We saw some of the best knockouts, submissions, comebacks and surprise victories throughout the year.

Fabricio Werdum pulled a rabbit in a hat when he submitted the fighter many consider as the best fighter in the world “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko, to UFC’s Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar’s domination of the ones unstoppable Former UFC Lightweight Champion BJ “The Prodigy” Penn.

There was also the near loss of UFC’s Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva to the trash talking “Steroid Using” Chael Sonnen. The comeback win of Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar from the biggest and heaviest puncher in the UFC, former Interim Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin. The belt was at the tip of Carwin’s fingers, but he let it slip away when he ran out of steam during the 2nd round. There were a lot of ups and downs.

UFC legend Chuck “The Ice-man” Liddell retired, to another legend who was hinting of retiring as of this writing, Captain America himself, Randy “The Natural” Couture.

2010 also saw the rise of the Heavyweights. In the UFC they called them the “4 Horsemen.”

Led by the reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez, followed by the former Champion Brock Lesnar, to the top contenders, former UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin, and finally the heavyweight they consider as having the best stand-up in the division, the Brazilian Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos.

These 4 Heavyweights I consider the equivalent to boxing’s Fab Four, or the Four Kings (Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard). Like their boxing equivalent, either one of them can win at any given time.

So the heavyweight division (UFC) is always an exciting fight to see, because no matter what the analyst or the professionals say you never really know who is going to win. Outside of the Four Horsemen, there is still one fighter I could add to the mix and his name is Roy “Big Country” Nelson.

He is a former IFL (International Fight League) Heavyweight Champion, and was the winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 10. “Big Country” reminds me of UFC fighters of old like David “Tank” Abbot and Scott “The Pit bull” Ferrozzo. Not because of their skills (Big country, can KO both of them seconds after the opening bell.) but because of their build. Roy Nelson doesn’t look like your “Elite” Mixed Martial Artist, but he sure fights like one. During his last fight against #1

Heavyweight Contender Junior Dos Santos, he took all of Dos Santos’ best shots but kept on coming. I could not believe what I was seeing, it was either Dos Santos punches were not as heavy as I thought, or Nelson has a chin made of granite. After much debate, I will go for the latter. Roy Nelson’s chin was proven on that fight, and I can see him still being a contender for years to come. He lost the fight and probably a couple of years of his life, but at the same time gained a lot of respect from the fans and me personally.

In other promotions, there are 2 other fighters that I consider to be in the mix with the fighters I just mentioned. Both of them come from Strikeforce MMA Organization. We have the British born Dutch Mixed Martial Artist and Kickboxer Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem. Alistair is the current Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and he is also the reigning K1 World Grand Prix Kickboxing Champion. The latter he just won December 11th of this year. I have seen him fight since his early days at Pride FC in Japan, and literally I’ve seen him grow!

When he fought Chuck Liddell at The Pride 2003 Grand Prix he was fighting as a Middleweight at 205 lbs, 7 years later he is now fighting as a Heavyweight weighing in at the limit of 260lbs. during his last outing. Some consider Overeem overrated, and the pundits have a reason. He never fought anyone significant in his weight division. I would like to see him fight any of top heavyweights coming out of the UFC. It will least likely to happen but we can all dream.

Finally we have the Russian Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko. Many consider Emelianenko to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. At one time he held five major Heavyweight Championships Titles which include The RINGS Heavyweight and King of Kings Championships, the Pride FC World Heavyweight and Heavyweight Grand Prix Championships and the World Alliance Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA) Heavyweight Championship Title.

The problem is that the UFC and Fedor management team could never come up with a compromise, much like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, JR. Until eventually Emelianenko lost to Fabricio Werdum in which he also lost his negotiating power. An Emelianenko bout against any of the UFC’s Four Horseman will still be epic. If it’s against the reigning UFC Champion Cain Velasquez though, my money is going to be with the reigning champion.

There are a lot more stories to tell with what transpired during the year. But I will leave that to my succeeding articles so that I can give you the breakdown of what I consider “The Best” of MMA 2010.

I divided it into 7 different categories, mainly; Fight of the Year, Knock Out of the Year, Submission of the Year, Comeback of the Year, Upset of the Year, Beatdown of the Year, and finally The Fighter of the Year.

Below are the fights and fighters I nominated for each category. These are all just my opinion. Everyone is free to comment…

Fight of the Year nominees;

-Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Chris Leben
UFC 116, July 3, 2010
-Jung Chan-Sung vs. Leonard Garcia
WEC 48, April 24, 2010
-Diego Sanchez vs. Paulo Thiago
UFC 121, October 23, 2010

There were other fights that would be considered fight of the year, but these are the 3 that stood out to me. But there can only be one, and I give that honor to;

Jung Chan-Sung “The Korean Zombie” vs. Leonard Garcia

Knock Out of the Year nominees;

-Carlos Condit vs. Dan Hardy
UFC 120, October 16, 2010
-Robbie Lawler vs. Melvin Manhoef
Strikeforce Miami, January 30, 2010
-Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell vs. Rich Franklin
UFC 115, June 12, 2010

I was supposed to give this fight to the Liddell vs. Franklin fight, but Chuck has been knocked out so many times that I couldn’t keep track. So this one goes to…

Carlos Condit vs. Dan Hardy

Submission of the Year nominees;

-Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Chris Leben
UFC 116, July 3, 2010
-Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva
UFC 117, August 7, 2010
-Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin
UFC 116, July 3, 2010

This was a toss up between the Lesnar vs. Carwin and the Sonnen vs. Silva fight. Leben’s submission victory over “Sexyama” was great but the win of the other two fights were epic. Submission of the Year goes to…

-Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson “The Spider” Silva

Comeback of the Year nominees;

-Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz vs. Kendall Grove
UFC 112, 02010-04-10 April 10, 2010
-Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva
UFC 117, August 7, 2010
-Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin
UFC 116, July 3, 2010

Yes, the Submission of the Year and Comeback of the year are more or less the same. If you saw this fight, you know why this is the winner. Comeback “From the Grave” winner…

Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson “The Spider” Silva

Upset of the Year nominees;

-BJ “The Prodigy” Penn vs. Frankie Edgar 1
UFC 112, 02010-04-10 April 10, 2010
-BJ “The Prodigy” Penn vs. Frankie Edgar 2
UFC 118, 02010-08-28 August 28, 2010
-Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko
Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum, 02010-06-26 June 26, 2010

The fought twice and I was literally upset twice. But the Upset of the Year Goes to the fight everyone thought would be another walk in the park. The winner for this category is…

Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko

Beatdown of the Year nominees;

-Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos vs. Roy “Big Country” Nelson
UFC 117, 02010-08-07 August 7, 2010
-Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez
UFC 121, 02010-10-23 October 23, 2010
-Jose Aldo vs. Urijah Faber
WEC 48, 02010-04-24 April 24, 2010

All three fights in my opinion are all winners. But the word “Beatdown” best describes the winner of this category. And that belongs to…

Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos vs. Roy “Big Country” Nelson

Last on my list of the “Best of 2010” is the Fighter of the Year.

The Fighter of the Year nominees;

-Frankie Edgar

-Cain Velasquez

-Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

-Jose Aldo

Why four fighters instead of three? Well, all four of them showed dominance in every fight they’ve been through this year. Some performed better than others. But with what they all accomplished this year, all of them definitely deserves to be here. The Fighter of the year is…

Frankie Edgar

After you defeat BJ Penn a fighter everyone considered to be unbeatable in the Lightweight division twice in one year, and win both fights as convincingly as he did, he definitely deserves the “Fighter of the Year” honors.

Let us see what 2011 has to offer. Even if it will just be at par with what 2010 has given us, it will still be another stellar year excitement and boredom, thrills and disappointments, winners and losers. I am looking forward to the “Best of 2011.”

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