UFC 2016 Awards
Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski (USA TODAY Sports)

UFC 2016 Awards: Fight of the Year

With 2016 in the books, it’s time to start listing our UFC 2016 awards. We’ll start with the “Fight of the Year”. This will go to the fight we determined to not just be the most entertaining, but also the most epic. A good rival storyline, or a good comeback help play into this. Without further adeu, here is our UFC 2016 awards for Fight of the Year!

UFC 2016 Awards – Fight of the Year

1. Cub Swanson vs Doo Ho Choi

Winning our Fight of the Year is the 15-minute featherweight scrap between Swanson and Choi. This epic tilt took place at UFC 206 in Toronto, Canada. The PPV event as a whole was over-looked by many as it seemingly lacked starpower. However, the hardcore fans knew to tune in to the event as it was actually stacked with several amazing matching ups; one of them being Swanson vs Choi. This was a fight that pit a resurging veteran against a white-hot prospect. Choi was knocking everyone out with his right hand while Swanson was putting together a solid win streak after some disappointing outtings.

The actual fight was an absolute barn-burner. Swanson started out strong, rocking Choi with his looping combinations. As Swanson moved in for the kill though, Choi fired back and had Swanson in all sorts of trouble. This exact sequence would replay itself several times throughout the 15-minute contest. Finally, in the third round, Swanson landed some of the hardest, cleanest punches imaginable on Choi’s chin. “The Korean Superboy” somehow stayed up which warranted a deafening applause from the Air Canada Centre. You can’t watch this fight without being on the edge of your seat. Even though Swanson emerged the victor, Doo Ho Choi earned some of the maddest respect you can get for his efforts. We believe this fight is well-deserving of our 2016 UFC Awards.

2. Michael Bisping vs Anderson Silva

In second place comes an epic showdown from a Fight Pass event earlier in the year. Former middleweight king Anderson Silva was looking to make a positive return after his failed drug test. Silva stepped in on somewhat short notice to replace Gegard Mousasi against the long-time contender Michael Bisping. Part of what makes this fight so special is the fact that a Bisping vs Silva fight would have been considered a mismatch just a couple of years ago. Nevertheless, Bisping got the biggest test of his career in front of his native London crowd.

Bisping made a huge statement early on in the fight by dropping Silva with a left hook. However, at the end of the third round, Silva nearly had the fight won. The Brit lost his moutpiece and was wanting to pause to get it. Silva capitalized, seemingly knocking Bisping out with a flying knee. Silva prematurely celebrated his KO victory only to realize that the ref hadn’t stopped the fight and the round had ended. This gave Bisping a chance to recover; he then came out to win the fourth round and ultimately the decision. How Bisping managed to recover from the knockout blow is beyond me, but it was an action-packed, drama-filled fight that will go down as one of the best.

3. Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz II

After suffering his defeat in the UFC at the hands of Nate Diaz, many believed that McGregor’s imagination had seen its limits. The featherweight champion took on the lightweight (and occasional welterweight) fighter on short-notice, and was submitted in the second round. McGregor then called to run it back, fighting at the same weight class at the same venue against the same opponent. This went down at UFC 202, and it turned it one of the most stellar performances of the year.

McGregor and Diaz didn’t hold back with the trash talk and pre-fight antics; the intensity going into the fight was truly something to behold. As the fight started, McGregor got off to a quick and dominant start. He battered Diaz’s leg with kicks, and landed his patented left hand to score three knockdowns in the first two rounds. However, Diaz found his groove in the third round, backing Conor up against the cage and teeing off with his usual swatting flurries of punches. McGregor was pushed to his limits, but managed to hold on, win the fourth round, and survive to win a majority decision. The Irishman achieved vengeance, and did so in epic fashion.

4. Robbie Lawler vs Carlos Condit

2016 came out of the gates on fire thanks to the UFC 195 battle between Lawler and Condit. The welterweight crown was on the line, and Lawler had established himself at the top of the heap. Fans knew Carlos Condit was game thuogh, even if he only had a lone victory to merit the title shot.

Throughout Lawler and Condit’s twenty-five minutes of battle, the challenger managed to outland Lawler by a 2:1 ratio. However, Lawler somehow was able to deal enough damage with his relatively low ouput to stay competitive on the scorecards. Then, in the fifth round, and a savage Robbie Lawler unleashed hell on Condit. He had the challenger out on his feet as he threw everything but the kitchen sink at Condit. Ultimately, Lawler did enough to warrant the decision albeit admist some controversy.

5. Marco Polo Reyes vs Dong Hyun Kim

Hidden on the undercard of UFC 199, lightweights Reyes and Kim engaged in a scrap that was talked about for weeks to come. While nobody particularly knew who Reyes and Kim were, they let their fight speak for itself. Reyes and Kim slaughtered each other on the feet for the better part of 3 rounds. At first, it was Reyes getting the better of the two as his more technical and quicker hands easily found their target. Kim showed the heart of a champion however as he stayed in the fight, and later had some big moments in round two. Just as it looked both fighters had given it all they could, Reyes uncorked a series of bombs on Kim in the third round, finally rendeing the Korean unconscious.

What were your UFC 2016 Awards for Fight of the Year? We want to hear from you! 

 

About Casey Hodgin

Casey is a passionate MMA writer and journalism student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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