It was a crazy month of firsts, controversy and changes in the world of MMA. So with that let’s go with the top 10 fights of February 2014:
~ 10 ~
Bellator 110: Quinton Jackson vs. Christian M’Pumbu
To be honest the debut card of season 10 of Bellator MMA was a bit of a disappointment. However, there was one redeeming quality to it and that was the continuation of the revitalized Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. While it’s been rather obvious from the get go that this tournament was meant to match up Jackson and Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal in the finals, there was still a good finish from Jackson’s side of the bracket.
In his first round match against former Bellator Light Heavyweight Christian M’Pumbu, Jackson was able to take advantage of a slip from M’Pumbu in the first round to knockout the former champ and advance in to the finals. He’s now set to face Lawal at the Bellator PPV.
~ 9 ~
The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia: Tyler Manawaroa vs. Nordine Taleb
I still have mixed feelings about the regional versions of The Ultimate Fighter, but I have learned to expect greatness from at least one person and one match out of every season. This was that match wherein prospect Tyler Manawaroa of Team Australia faced veteran Nordine Taleb of Team Canada.
It was a really good match that was mostly on the feet. In fact it was so close that it went a third round. Ultimately Manawaroa came away with the win and both men acknowledged at the hospital that they probably won fight of the season. The match was rather crucial as it allowed Team Australia to finally come away with the win and set up the next fight pick.
~ 8 ~
UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann: Aljamin Sterling vs. Cody Gibson
This was another closer match wherein two fighters fought really hard. Aljamin Sterling and Cody Gibson faced each other on the Fox Sports 1 aired preliminary fights. It was a really close and active match with very little downtime or measuring time.
It was scored as a 29-28 unanimous decision for Sterling but Gibson needs to be given credit. Unfortunately it wasn’t given a performance of the night bonus.
~ 7 ~
UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann: Alexis Davis vs. Jessica Eye
Now we come to part of the controversy mentioned earlier. The first part of the controversy involves the fact the Jessica Eye is on probation in Texas because of testing positive for marijuana following her UFC 166 match with Sarah Kaufman.
Regardless, the match itself was actually a pretty good one and once again was really close. In fact it was so close that the second part of the controversy comes into play in that even though it appeared Eye had won, the match went to Davis. Once again I’ll say NEVER LEAVE IT IN THE HANDS OF THE JUDGES!
~ 6 ~
UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi: Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi
We now come to one of the firsts for this month which is fight that capped the the longest UFC event in history in terms of fight time. However, this by no means takes away from the performance put on by Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi.
Both men had spent time at light heavyweight and were within their first match or two at the middleweight division, or in the case for Mousasi returning to the division. The match saw Machida utilize his karate effectively for the win. The win ended up earning Machida a title shot when Vitor Belfort dropped out.
~ 5 ~
UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi: Nicholas Musoke vs. Viscardi Andrade – Upset of the Month
As far as I can tell this was the only major upset of the month and it wasn’t unjustified in calling it that. Viscardi Andrade is a BJJ black belt whereas Nicholas Musoke is mainly known for his stand up game compared to Andrade. So it was a rather large surprise when Musoke actually went into out grapple Andrade for two out of the three rounds.
It was not only considered an upset in that regard but also because Andrade was the Vegas odds favorite. Unfortunately Musoke didn’t get any new bonuses under the newly enforced bonus structure.
~ 4 ~
XFCi 1: Sao Paulo Brazil: Silvana Gomez Juarez vs. Bianca Daimoni – Submission of the Month
In a month where Ronda Rousey competed, one would expect that she would get this reward but that wasn’t the case. Instead we take a look at the Florida based XFC’s first international affair. On that card undefeated prospects Silvana Gomez Juarez and Bianca Daimoni met in XFCi’s women’s flyweight semi final.
There was surprisingly a lot of dirty tactics used by Daimoni including grabbing the fence and a knee to the groin. However, in the third round despite being dominated (legally or illegally), the Argentinian Juarez was able to pull an inverted am bar and was able to advance to the finals of the flyweight tournament.
~ 3 ~
UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann: Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia – Comeback of the Month
This match probably put Rory MacDonald back into title contention after his dismal performance against Robbie Lawler. Going into this match both MacDonald and Maia were coming off losses so this was a crucial rebound match. In the first round Maia proceeded to take MacDonald down and enforce ground and pound against MacDonald leaving him battered and bloody at the end of the round.
However, MacDonald apparently found himself in between rounds as he came out and controlled Maia for the last two rounds. However, because of the efforts from Maia both men received Fight of the Night honors.
~ 2 ~
WSOF Canada 1:Ryan Ford vs. Joel Powell – Knockout of the Month
There were certainly no shortage of knockouts this month but it’s hard to argue against calling this Knockout of the Month. This was the first event held by the Canadian branch of the World Series of Fighting. In the main event for the inaugural WSOF Canadian Welterweight title prospects Ryan Ford and Joel Powell stepped into the Decagon.
The match mostly consisted of the two measuring each other until Ford threw a front kick reminiscent of Lyoto Machida against Randy Couture ending the match with some follow up ground and pound. Not only did Ford walk away with the WSOF Canad Welterweight Championship but he also was award the first WSOF Knockout of the Night award.
~ 1 ~
UFC 169: Abel Trujillo vs. Jamie Varner – Fight of the Month
One could make the argument that this is a Fight of the Year candidate already. Leading into this fight Jamie Varner was more of the favorite because of his veteran status whereas Abel Trujillo is more of a rising prospect. In the first round Varner controlled the pace and even dropped Trujillo but both men kept swinging for the fences.
Then in the second round both men came out swinging again and while it looked like Varner was once again controlling the pace, Trujillo placed the right show and sent Varner to the Octagon floor. Both men were subsequently awarded Fight of the Night honors and Trujillo was also awarded the final UFC Knockout of the Night honors.
Do you think there were any fights that were missed this month that should have made the top 10? Leave a comment with your opinion!