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!

– Most Epic Event –

UFC 139: Any event featuring one of MMA’s all time greatest bouts is surely going down as a memorable one. When an event contains not only an all time classic, but some breathtaking action from top to bottom as well, it has to go down as the best of the year. From the very first Facebook fight to the epic main event, UFC 139 delivered on every level and then some.

After some terrific finishes on the prelims, the main card started somewhat slowly with Stephan Bonnar’s dominant but unspectacular win over Kyle Kingsbury. However, the pace quickly picked up once again after that, as Martin Kampmann and Rick Story battled in a highly entertaining affair that saw the Xtreme Couture product edge out his foe by the slimmest of margins. Urijah Faber then produced one of the best finishing sequence ever witnessed inside the Octagon to dispose of Brian Bowles, before Wanderlei Silva rolled back the years with a vintage cringe-inducing beating of former Strikeforce middleweight champ Cung Le.

But the night would belong to Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, who put on one of the most thrilling bouts in MMA history, which was later deemed by many to be the best fight of all time. While that notion is debatable, the fact that Henderson and “Shogun” produced one for the ages is anything but, making UFC 139 worthy of being called 2012’s most epic event.

– Best Performance in a Losing Role –

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 139: I have a hard time calling “Shogun” a loser in his fight at UFC 139 against Henderson, not only because I thought he won the fight or, at worst, it should have been ruled a draw, but when you go five rounds with “Hendo” at light heavyweight, live to tell about it, and put on what many are calling one of the best UFC fights of all-time then I think loser is a pretty harsh term. Seemingly done multiple times during the bout, Rua managed to survive multiple “H-Bombs” and, like a true warrior, fought back with Ginn-Su swords and ninja stars. Rua displayed the kind of heart that Edgar Allen Poe wrote about in his famous short-story.

– Most Disappointing Moment –

Georges St. Pierre’s inability to fight: GSP is one of the premier talents in MMA; a top pound-for-pound fighter whose athleticism and technique are rarely matched on any level in the sport. However, while he may possess a spectacular Superman Punch, he is in fact a mere mortal as proven by a series of injuries shelving him for more than a year. To endure the roller-coaster ride from the past few months has been rough in particular, seeing two fights with Nick Diaz laid to waste and a third against Carlos Condit experience the same fate. Heal up, champ! “Da Riddum” Nation needs you!

Check back in tomorrow when we discuss the awards for Most Meteoric Rise, “Who Saw That Coming,” and Old Timer of the Year! You can also catch yesterday’s honors to see who took home the Beatdown of the Year, Trash-Talk Gone Wrong, and “Sometimes These Things Happen in MMA” trophies