Sometimes fans are forced to deal with dry years in regards to mixed martial arts events; let’s face it, not every card assembled is going to produce monumental fireworks. That, is a simple stigma fixed to a sport that is perhaps more unpredictable than any other form of professional competition. When it comes to MMA, you just never know what might happen
Fortunately for loyal fans, 2011 was a stellar year that produced a handful of unbelievably gratifying events. While I could probably list a solid 10 events that exceeded expectations, but I’ll minimize my banter and highlight a select handful that stood head and shoulders above all other cards.
UFC 132 wasn’t just one of the most scintillating events in some time, it was also quite shocking. A series of favorites were felled, and in violent fashion to add to the aesthetic luster. Tito Ortiz was expected to be steamrolled by surging prospect, Ryan Bader: Tito ended the fight with a big punch and follow up guillotine choke, all in the span of 1:56. Wanderlei Silva was expected to stomp a mud hole in the tail end of Chris Leben; a Leben uppercut changed those plans in just 27 seconds. On the cusp of title contention, George Sotiropoulos was flattened by a crisp hook delivered by Rafel dos Anjos in what was regarded as a major upset at the time. Perhaps most amazing was Carlos Condit’s grotesque assault upon Dong Hyun Kim, whom he flattened with a flying knee to the face before using his fully exposed face as a speedbad. It was an absolutely mesmerizing event.
Bellator 58 is one of those events that really just got slept on. Attention drifted, and many fans missed what ended up being a spectacular show. While Brett Cooper and Jared Hess put forth an intriguing bout, Marlon Sandro also impressed with a clean first round submission of Rafael Dias. But, it wasn’t the undercard that resonated with such force. It was in fact the cards co, and main event bouts that really got the blood boiling. Hector Lombard made yet another statement, as he dished out plenty of punishment on his foe, longtime veteran Trevor Prangley. The bout didn’t last a full two rounds before Lombard was to have his hand raised. If that fine display of violence was enough, the main event pitting champion Eddie Alvarez against fast rising star Michael Chandler. All I can say about this bout is that it was absolutely incredible, quite shocking, and must be seen, at all costs!
Diaz vs. Daley: Arguably the most “intense” event to be mentioned in this article, Strikeforce – Diaz vs. Daley offered some awe inspiring action, and near palpable tension. Champion Nick Diaz didn’t hold challenger Paul Daley in high regard, and the same can be said on Daley’s behalf. Gilbert Melendez met Tatsuya Kawajiri for a third time, and Shinya Aoki showed up with the idea of proving himself the superior submission practitioner to his foe, Lyle Beerbohm. The end result: Nick Diaz beat the breaks off of Paul Daley, and he did so on his feet, standing toe to toe; Gilbert Melendez put forth the most impressive showing of his career as he disposed of Kawajiri with stunning ease and Shinya Aoki applied his now famous neck crank to Beerbohm, who submitted in just over 90 seconds. All that, and not one minute of it was dull: fantastic event!
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