The final week of 2011 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, prospects rise from the ranks to become divisional kings, and numerous fighters 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 bringing you our annual awards as we wind things down and get ready for the adventures 2012 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 Monday, January 2, once all the year’s performances have been turned in.

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, NYE weekend!

– Sometimes These Things Happen in MMA –

Quick Finishes: Sometimes you build up something so much and then it only lasts a minute or two, leaving everyone disappointed. If you don’t believe me, ask any virgin the night after prom. The “fight of decade” between Chris Leben-Wanderlei Silva lasted 27 seconds. The “biggest fight of all-time” between Cain Velasquez-Junior dos Santos> lasted 64 seconds. Even heavily hyped fights like the one between Chan Sung Jung vs. Mark Hominick only lasted seven seconds. You can hype fights as much as you want, but there are only two people that have control over the outcome and, unlike most sports where you play for a certain amount of time or to a certain score, that outcome can come in the blink of an eye. Quick knockouts are exciting although when you’re expecting a 15 or 25 minute war between two of the best fighters in the world, quick knockouts can leave you limper than the guy who doesn’t get his hand raised at the end of the fight.

– Beatdown of the Year –

Jon Jones vs. Mauricio Rua: Minutes after Jon Jones was done choking out then undefeated Ryan Bader, UFC commentator Joe Rogan had a surprise in store for the talented prodigy. In a cruel twist of fate, Jones’ then-training partner, Rashad Evans, pulled out of his scheduled title fight with champion “Shogun” Rua, and the UFC wanted Jones to step up on five weeks’ notice. Naturally, Jones wasn’t about to pass up on the opportunity, but many questioned whether it was too much too soon for “Bones.”

The answer was beyond anybody’s expectations, as Jones put an absolute beating on the much more experienced – and accomplished – “Shogun.” For three rounds, Jones battered Rua with knees, kicks, elbows, and some absolutely vicious ground-and-pound to the head and body.

What makes this beatdown stand out from any other one sided fight this year is the fact that not only did it take place in a UFC title fight, but it featured two world class mixed martial artists who looked evenly matched on paper. And yet, one was turned into an absolute practice dummy. More impressive is the fact that despite Rua being blessed with an otherworldly chin and inhuman toughness, he was destroyed into pieces by the freight train that is Jon Jones, who is quickly becoming violence personified.

– Trash-Talk Gone Wrong –

Quinton Jackson vs. Jon Jones: From the moment “Rampage” received his official shot at Jones’ title the colorful competitor started talking smack, referring to Jones as a “kid” who earned his title by beating a “rusty as hell” Rua. He amped things up throughout the build, accusing Jones of implanting a spy in his camp along with the standard tough-guy trash-talk insinuating he was going to break “Bones” in the cage. In the end Jones not only picked Jackson apart throughout their fight but became the first person to submit him in a decade.

Also, an honorable mention goes to Evans for attempting to insult upcoming opponent Phil Davis by referencing the systematic sexual abuse of children at Penn State (where Davis went to college).