This took longer than expected and there were some disappointments but here they are. January’s top:
10) Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz – UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz
It was painful to watch Anderson Silva split his leg in his second match against Chris Weidman. Most people didn’t think he would come back again which is why UFC 183 was so dramatic. It had appeared that Silva had returned triumphantly against the always aggressive Nick Diaz. This is why it was really sad to hear that Silva had tested positive for steroids and that the match would probably be overturned to a no contest. What made the whole situation more bizarre was Diaz’s positive test for marijuana metabolites. The positive drug tests is why this match only appears on this list and isn’t higher.
9) Jake Shields vs. Brian Foster – WSOF 17: Shields vs. Foster
Needless to say it was surprising when Jake Shields was so suddenly cut from the UFC after his loss to Hector Lombard. For that reason it was welcome news to hear that Shields was signed by World Series of Fighting and made his successful debut against Ryan Ford at WSOF 14. That same win is what earned Shields a title shot match against Brian Foster at WSOF 17. Shields made quick work of Foster by taking him down and eventually executing a neck crank. After the match Shields quickly called out WSOF Welterweight Champion Rousimar Palhares.
8) Ryan Bader vs. Phil Davis – UFC on Fox: Gustafsson vs. Johnson
These men were at different points in their careers when they met at UFC on Fox 14 on Sweden. Phil Davis has just rebounded from a loss to the man who would follow him on the main card of the UFC on Fox card, Anthony Johnson. Ryan Bader on the other hand was on a three fight winning streak looking to make a title shot run. Needless to say the two wrestlers essentially made it a close boxing match with the occasional take down thrown in. The match was so close that it was a split decision that went the way of Bader.
7) Donald Cerrone vs. Myles Jury – UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier
Donald Cerrone had something personal going into this match because of comments Myles Jury made. Jury made some comments after his match against Diego Sanchez, Cerrone’s friend and teammates at Jackson’s MMA. While he wasn’t overly emotional he was highly motivated going into the fight. The fight was full of some spectacular moments but overall Cerrone had control. As with all of the main card fights, it went to a decision, this time for Cerrone.
6) Thiago Alves vs. Jordan Mein – UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz
It had been nine months since Thiago Alves had last fought and in the last few years Alves just hadn’t fought overall. On the other hand Jordan Mein had fought consistently over the last few years and had been building himself since his UFC debut. Both fighters were at different points in their careers and this match could make or break the rest of their careers. In the first round, Mein controlled and almost finished Alves on several occasions, but Alves was able to pull the knockout in the second round. Alves got a Performance of the Night bonus for his knockout.\
5) Anthony Johnson vs. Alexander Gustafsson – Upset of the Month – UFC on Fox: Gustafsson vs. Johnson
Alexander Gustafsson was more than a little upset that Daniel Cormier was locked in for a title shot once he got injured. Needless to say he wanted a title shot once next but he had to face the reinvented Anthony Johnson first. Johnson had made it clear in his second UFC stint at light heavyweight that he was out to pull upsets. Once again Johnson proved that by making Gustafsson look easy. He got a Performance of the Night bonus and faces Jon Jones next.
4) Miesha Tate vs. Sara McMann – Comeback of the Month – UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz
Both women who faced UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion in the past, Miesha Tate and Sara McMann were looking to try and earn a title shot again. Tate had been a longtime veteran while McMann is arguably the best women’s wrestler in the UFC. In the first round it looked like McMann was proving just that and she would be able to grind Tate into a decision win. However, the next round Tate turned it around and kept it up into the third round by surprisingly out grappling the Olympic Silver Medalist. Tate took the decision win.
3) Thales Leites vs. Tim Boetsch – Submission of the Month – UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz
This was a match of veteran middleweights who had build their ways up at points but were now middle of the pack (no pun intended). Thales Leites at one point actually fought Anderson Silva for the title but had since than fallen into obscurity. Tim Boetsch had always danced around the possibility of a title shot but never quite gotten there. The first round was a grappling fest and then in the second round went similarly before Leites was able to choke Boetsch unconscious. Both men got Fight of the Night and Leites was awarded Performance of the Night.
2) Paul Felder vs. Danny Castillo – Knockout of the Night – UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier
Not many knew who Paul Felder was prior to his match against Danny Castillo to open up the new year. However, he made a clear statement at UFC 182. The first round went slowly and only added to the second longest UFC event in history. Than in the second round, Felder timed a spinning back fist right and ended the fight. Felder received Performance of the Night for it.
1) Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier – Fight of the Month – UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier
To say this match had a lot of build up to it isn’t even scratching the surface. A media day brawl and much smack talking had let up to when Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier faced off against each other. The match certainly delivered as both men gave it their all and the fight went all five rounds. It was close but the judges ultimately scored the fight for Jones. It would have been hailed a bit more had it not been for Jones failed drug test.