December 22, 2010
MMA outdid itself this year. With more fights on television and better fighters from around the world, the depth provided the material for some great scraps. What were the best ones in 2010? You tell us. Winners will be announced on Dec. 30.
Carlos Condit vs. Rory MacDonald (UFC 115) -- One punch or strike can change the momentum in a heartbeat. MacDonald had a slight edge in this slugfest heading to the third. That's when Condit crushed him with an overhand right and the Canadian was never the same. Condit also landed an elbow minutes later that broke MacDonald's orbital bone. "The Natural Born Killer" won it as the fight was stopped with just seven seconds left.
Robbie Lawler vs. Melvin Manhoef (Strikeforce: Miami) -- Sometimes a comeback can qualify as a great fight. Manhoef chopped down Lawler's legs in similar fashion to what Jose Aldo did to Urijah Faber. Except Manhoef did all his leg-kick damage in less than 3 1/2 minutes. Lawler needed a miracle to survive. Not only did Lawler produce one to survive, but ripped out a Hail Mary punch that put Manhoef to sleep. He was out cold.
Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung (WEC 48) -- Garcia is always involved in absolute throwdowns, but this one was his best because he had a willing dance partner. The fighters wailed away on each other with Garcia smiling on multiple occasions after getting blasted right in the face. Most fans thought the "Korean Zombie" won the fight but Garcia got the nod. In just three rounds, they combined to land 225-of-534 strikes. In the true spirit of MMA, they also hit a Denny's to eat together after visiting the hospital. Jung was the big winner from a marketing standpoint. He became an instant star for a few months with his Korean Zombie T-shirt.
Jorge Santiago vs. Kazuo Misaki (Sengoku 14) -- You know a great fight when you see it. There's a feeling in your gut and you talk about it for hours, if not days after it's over. This five-round middleweight title fight was all over the ring. Misaki nearly choked out Santiago in the second, got dropped in the third and dropped the Brazilian in the fourth. Misaki had the early lead, but Santiago came back to get the win with 23 seconds left.
Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (UFC 116) -- You knew this one was going to be a donnybrook. Akiyama always fights to his opponent's strength and Leben only gets going when he's getting beat down. Plus Leben was fighting on less than two week's rest. They mauled each other for 14 minutes before Leben pulled off a submission to pull off the upset with 20 seconds.
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