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Five Ounces 2010 Year-End Awards: Surprises, Smackdowns, and Surging Starpower

The final week of 2010 has arrived, and though the year may not have delivered on the public’s long-standing dream of flying cars and laser-blasters it was certainly a period filled with memorable months from a Mixed Martial Arts viewpoint. We witnessed champions fall in dramatic fashion, rise from the ranks to become divisional kings, and in some cases emerge victorious by the skin of their teeth. We saw shocking signings and ridiculous releases; countless classics and numerous nod-offers; moves in the ring unlike any other before and some hopefully never seen again.

With the close of the year, Five Ounces of Pain is here to bring you our annual awards as we wind things down and get read for the adventures 2011 will undoubtedly bring. Over the next few days we will announce our winners in somewhat unique categories with a final batch of standard distinctions handed out on Friday, December 31.

As always, 5 Oz. invites our readers to offer their own opinions in the “Comments” section on who should have taken home the hardware (or in this case digital love). We would not be here without you, and rest assured the Staff not only appreciates your contributions from a “page view” standpoint, but genuinely enjoys reading our community’s take on topics. Have an incredibly fun, albeit safe, holiday week!

— The “Who Saw That Coming?” Award —

Fabricio Werdum submits Fedor Emelianenko: This was supposed to be another “tune up fight” for Fedor Emelianenko on his road to the Strikeforce heavyweight title. Werdum was looked at as a very good fighter with outstanding Jiu-Jitsu but most people’s lasting memory of him prior to this fight was seeing him get his clock cleaned by Junior dos Santos. Plus, Fedor is Fedor. He was practically undefeated, he was unstoppable, he was a robot, he was frickin’ Fedor! When the fight started, it looked like another cake walk for “The Last Emperor”. He immediately dropped Werdum and then pounced on him for the finish. Then it happened. Out of nowhere the Brazilian used Fedor’s aggressiveness and the cage to his advantage, locked on a triangle choke, and forced Fedor to give a single tap, but possibly the most memorable tap in MMA history. The once unbeatable had been beaten.

— Beatdown of the Year —

Josh Koscheck vs. Georges St. Pierre / UFC 124: Not to be confused with “Fight of the Year”. Though there were plenty of options to consider, including Roger Huerta’s loss to Eddie Alvarez and Cain Velasquez’s title-win over Brock Lesnar, in the end GSP’s rivalry-ending smackdown of Koscheck prevailed. For months upon months fans listened to Koscheck spew his venom at Georges St. Pierre, questioning everything from the welterweight champion’s ability to strike to his hushed demeanor and preference for spandex trunks. An entire season of the Ultimate Fighter was dedicated to the rivalry he seemed intent on creating even if GSP wasn’t interested in engaging outside of the cage. However, once the two met in the Octagon at UFC 124 it became clear the most important jabs in MMA are not of the verbal variety. Koscheck left the event having lost all five rounds, sporting a broken orbital bone, and undoubtedly reflecting on how much more he needs to learn before he’s on the same level as the French-Candian champ. He was completely out-classed for twenty-four of the twenty-five minutes he spent in the ring, and though he may not have been rendered unconscious he most certainly exited Montreal the victim of a “beatdown”. Whether or not Team St. Pierre’s “male nurse”, i.e. Brad Tate, sent him a “Get Well Soon” card after the action concluded is still unknown…

— Most Meteoric Rise —

Anthony Pettis: Over 3.5 million. That’s how many times videos of Pettis delivering his amazing kick off the cage have been viewed on YouTube. It’s crazy to think that just one year ago Pettis was coming off the lone loss of his career against Bart Palaszewski, and now he’s one of the most popular fighters in the world. Pettis was able to rack up several impressive wins over the course of 2010, but none was bigger than his WEC Lightweight Championship win over Ben Henderson a few weeks ago. Not only did he deliver a kick that will be on MMA highlight reels for all of eternity, he also managed to showcase excellent skills in all areas of the sport. He’s next in line for the UFC Lightweight Championship, and after his star-making performance at WEC 53 he can be sure that everyone will be watching his next fight very closely in the hopes of seeing his next mind-bending maneuver.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    How about best and worst fight of the year?
    My nominees are :
    Mir vs Crocop for worst fight of the year and Khalidov vs Santiago 2 for fight of the year.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I love this series cant wait to read more.I cant wait to see what list Chael Sonne makes for pissing dirty.


    Bah humbug

  • Rece Rock says:

    — The “Who Saw That Coming?” Award —

    Showtime’s Kick!
    Ben Henderson def. didn’t see that coming…

  • MCM says:

    You know, you could almost put Chael Sonnen as the answer to all three of these.

    — The “Who Saw That Coming?” Award —
    I knew a lot of people saying that Werdum was gonna get the armbar in the first, whether they actually believed that or were simply hoping for it is debatable. But I don’t think anyone outside of Chael Sonnen saw his 4.75 round decimation of the best MW in the world coming. Not only did he dominate AS on the ground but he was scoring more points when they were on the feet as well. Yes he lost by getting caught in a triangle choke (which everyone saw coming), but the 20+ min. before that were something no one predicted.

    — Beatdown of the Year —
    I think Chael talked more smack that Kos, and for over 4 rounds he backed it up. No one in the history of the sport has ever delivered such a verbal and physical beating to one of the greatest fighters in MMA.

    — Most Meteoric Rise —
    I know why people use this expression, but Meteors fall not rise, that’s why I chose Sonnen.
    At the start of the year, Chael was coming off a surprise victory over Okami. The UFC was still dealing with the #1 contender issue and the fall out of Hendo leaving so they threw Sonnen to Marquardt so that Nate could get another win thereby solidifying himself as the true #1 contender. Unfortunately for Nate, Chael had other plans. After running through a fighter many thought nearly unbeatable, Sonnen went on a whirlwind press tour calling out the champ in every way possible. He got his wish and preceded to deliver one the biggest beat downs in UFC history before getting caught in his Achilles Heel, the Triangle Choke. Regardless, he had done what no one else had ever come close to in the MW division and run through the #2 and almost #1 fighter in the division in less than a year and became one the most talked about fighters in MMA. He was on everyone’s top 10 lists, most were calling for an instant rematch and he was even being hailed as the uncrowned champ of the MW division by some.
    Then came the test results and the admitted use of PED’s and the silence from a fighter known for speaking his mind. And now, no one is calling him out, and no one is asking for a rematch, and most of those that were singing his praises earlier this fall, look at him as a disgrace today.

    to me, that’s a meteoric rise…and fall.

  • While I dont completely share your view of things MCM, I think you put an outstanding perspective on all these topics.

    Who Saw that coming-Im with Mr. Conlan on this one, no one saw Werdum tappin out the last emperor so quickly even if they said they did. Period, wow.

    Beatdown of the year- While I think GSP’s utter domination of Kos was a great thing, I think id give it to Cain’s ass whippin of Brock. GSP fought safetly and jabbed an obviously nervous and ripe for the finish Koscheck for five rounds instead of trying to put him away, leavin himself open to more criticism. Cain went out there and destroyed a monster who we all thought just might be unstoppable(after watching him wrestle his way to his feet after Carwin unloaded on him, I figured Brock was gonna be the new towheaded musclebound Big Nog of our new era) and did it within the first five minutes.

    Most meteoric rise: Frankie edgar. While I do agree Pettis is more shocking let’s put things in perspective. The Answer was all but counted out against BJ Penn and while the first win was razor thin, the second one was just as dominant as GSP over BJ the second time around minus a fourth round finish. Frankie went from bein only “the best solution” to throw in with BJ after Gray had just struggled with Diaz, to the best lightweight in the world.

  • mu_shin says:

    2010 Surprises: Certainly Werdum over Fedor, but Jake Shields beating Dan Henderson shook up more than a few MMA fans.

    Smackdowns: Certainly Cain over Lesnar, but the shot heard ’round the MMA world, and I’m a huge Lyoto Machida fan, was the knockout shot by Shogun Rua to take the lightheavyweight title.

    Surging Starpower: Can’t argue with Frankie Edgar, who if he is successful against Grey Maynard will hopefully start to get the respect and credit he deserves, but with wins over Brandon Vera and Vladimir Matyushenko, Jon Jones seems on the way to sure contention for the lightheavyweight championship, as well as a possible future as a heavyweight challenger to Cain Velasquez. Also increased interest in the lighter weight classes with the folding of the WEC into the UFC seems to have heightened recognition for Jose Aldo, another rising superstar who should have a long and illustrious career.


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