Good googly moogly. We’re here already? It never ceases to amaze me how quickly every year seems to end after Halloween. You’re back at the house, watching your little kids frolic in a sea of diabetes, and the next thing you know, you’re wrapping presents and wondering if there are any bars open on Christmas.
What a year 2013 has been. This was the year that officially made me feel like I don’t know anything anymore. There were several bad judges decisions that were universally seen as bad. But there were also a few that I thought were terrible and NOBODY agreed with me (with Kyung Ho Kang-Chico Camus being the main one I can think of off the top of my head). The problem is, I didn’t have anyone to argue with, because none of my friends are into MMA anymore. So, why not spew my arguments out at the internet? Those were bad decisions, internet! Also, Anderson Silva got knocked the hell out. That, too.
We’re gonna tackle submissions, knockouts, and fights of the year. The big three. I was going to punch up a list of the biggest robberies, but that would be A) too long and time consuming and B) too depressing. Let’s keep it positive this holiday season. Onto the awards!
Stay tuned for the rest of my awards over the next week or so.
Get ready for it, sluggers.
Submission of the Year
Kenny Robertson def. Brock Jardine via kneebar @ UFC 157 (2:57, rd. 1)
Big style points go to Kenny for this one. To see this even attempted was compelling, but to see it pulled off with fight ending brutality almost instantly was pretty nice.
Also, it looked like it really, really hurt. You want your subs of the year to involve both pain and innovation, and it’s safe to say that this one nailed both. Also, for some reason, Kenny Robertson follows me on Twitter. So he’s cool for that, too. Follow me @mma_movement, and follow Kenny @170Kenny. Your life will be better.
Fabricio Werdum def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via armbar @ UFC on Fuel TV 10 (2:41, rd. 2)
2013 was the year MMA fans actually expected Nogueira to be submitted. And submitted he was. Fabricio Werdum is just a much better MMA fighter at this point, and he had the added motivation of having his ass completely kicked by Nogueira in PRIDE all those years ago.
At least this one didn’t end with Nogueira basically losing a limb, although it definitely would have 5 years ago because he wouldn’t have tapped. Fabricio Werdum is a monster, and we should all treat him as such.
All of Urijah Faber’s chokes (3 this year)
You have to give it up for the California Kid. As I wrote in an earlier piece, the guy is just a hustler. It’s also becoming more and more rare to see a guy go for a guillotine and actually think to yourself “He’s gonna get this.” The futility of the guillotine is reaching neck crank proportions. When guys go for it now, I just think “Stop it. You’re just trying to look like you’re a semi-competent MMA fighter, when you and I both know you’re needlessly squeezing on this guy’s chin. You shouldn’t be doing that, and you DEFINITELY shouldn’t have intentionally dropped onto your butt to go for it.”
It’s a little different when guys are able to get it and roll their opponents into mount; then, and only then, is there a chance to take it seriously.
Not with Urijah. That guy has an amazing squeeze, and he has several methods of putting you in position to show that squeeze off. Michael McDonald was obviously hurt before Urijah choked him, but the way he instantaneously latched onto Michael’s neck … you just knew. You can’t say that about many fighters.
Patrick Ybarra def. Billy Buch by via flying armbar @ Legacy 17 (1:29, rd. 1)
Hold onto your seats, folks … that’s right, it’s the first time in the history of Earth that Michael Schiavello undersold a stoppage. And a crazy flying armbar, no less! You would have thought he’d have lost control of his bowels. But no. He just kind of watched it and went “And he goes for the armbar … and he gets the tap … did I leave the iron on?”
Go to 4:15 …
Anthony Pettis def. Benson Henderson via armbar @ UFC 164 (4:31, rd. 1)
Here is the MMA Movement’s 2013 submission of the year. From the outset, Anthony Pettis looked like he meant business, as he repeatedly stuffed the takedown attempts of Henderson and slammed a million kicks into his body in rapid succession. When Bendo finally did complete a takedown, Pettis swiveled his hips and had Henderson tapping before he even knew what happened.
This wasn’t some crazy technique that Pettis had to reach deep into his bag of tricks to pull off; it was just your basic armbar from guard. But the speed and fluidity with which it was executed was stunning. Ben Henderson isn’t exactly Pete Spratt when it comes to defending submissions; he’s one of the toughest guys on the planet to tap in an MMA context. Pettis made it look easy, and he made all of us gape at his acumen in awe. Anthony Pettis went out there and became somebody.