As a way of keeping track of the best fights of the year, I’ve decided to start creating a top 10 fights of the month list. These fights can be on any level, with any promotion, and end in any method of victory possible.
There will also be individual awards for the Fight of the Month, Knockout of the Month, Submission of the Month, Upset of the Month, and Comeback of the Month. With all of that being said here we go:
~ 10 ~
Tom Gallicchio vs. Kurt Southern at MFC 39
This match was originally supposed to be for the vacant MFC Lightweight Championship but due to Gallicchio missing weight by .2 pounds, it was decided that should Southern win he would receive the title but if Gallicchio won he would not get the title.
When the fight began it initially went the way of Southern. He utilized his striking to control the first round and at times almost finished the bout. However, in the second round Gallicchio came back and after dropping Southern with a punch, took it to the ground and was able to submit Southern with a rear naked choke. Current plans are for the two to meet in a rematch and this time for the title on the line should Gallicchio make weight.
~ 9 ~
Luke Rockhold vs. Costas Philippou at UFC Fight Night 35
The first match for Luke Rockhold going into the new year and the first match for Rockhold following his loss to Vitor Belfort, Rockhold was looking to make a statement. He got that against former boxer Costas Philippou.
The match began with both men measuring each other but for the most part Rockhold controlled the center of the cage and had the better striking. Then barely half way through the first round, Rockhold threw a combination that involved a kick to Philippou’s liver. The match pretty much ended and Rockhold made his statement.
~ 8 ~
Wang Sai vs. Wu Qize on The Ultimate Fighter: China
Personally I think there are several improvements that could be made to the Chinese edition of The Ultimate Fighter should season 2 happen but no one can deny the heart of the fighters in this version of the show. There is no better example then this first round match between Wang Sai and Wu Qize.
Watching the fight brings the legendary match between Forrest Griffin and Stephen Bonnar comes to mind. While Wang Sai was definitely in control the whole fight, Wu Qize didn’t give up and kept swinging for the fences until he was finally dropped and finished in the second round. Wang Sai would go onto make it the finals set to take place next month at UFC Fight Night 37.
~ 7 ~
Kajan Johnson vs. Brendan O’Reilly on The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia
This fight was essentially the season opener for this regional version of The Ultimate Fighter and it set the tempo for the rest of the show thus far. The match pitted Team Canada’s Kajan Johnson up against Team Australia’s Brendan O’Reilly.
The fight initially started with the normal measuring process. However, there came a point where Johnson started landing shots and got a takedown. It was then just a matter of time before he was able to maneuver behind O’Reilly and eventually sink in a rear naked choke.
~ 6 ~
Anthony Johnson vs. Mike Kyle at WSOF 8: Gaethje vs. Patishnock
There is no doubt that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has definitely reinvented himself at light heavyweight and this was the latest example. Due to various issues both Johnson and Mike Kyle hadn’t had the opportunity to face each other in the World Series of Fighting until WSOF 8.
When they did it was a quick and explosive match. Both men went in there and when they swung they swung until Johnson found Kyle’s chin in one of their exchanges. In fact this could be considered the match that got Johnson back into the UFC.
~ 5 ~
Pedro Munhoz vs. Billy Daniels at RFA 12: Ortega vs. Koch – Submission of the Month
The first of the matches to receive an award, this match displayed a mastery of submission knowledge. Both men went out there and for the most part it was uneventful. However there came a point where Pedro Munhoz found the opportunity to sink in the guillotine choke.
It happened so fast many people didn’t realize it was over. It was definitely impressive and as a result got the submission of the month award.
~ 4 ~
Brad Tavares vs. Lorenz Larkin at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou – Upset of the Month
This was based on the Vegas odds for the most part. Lorenz Larkin was the odds on favorite going into this match. However, TUF alumni Brad Tavares didn’t let that deter him in anyway.
For all three rounds Tavares utilized wrestling to neutralize Larkin’s dangerous striking. In addition he used ground and pound to deal damage to Larkin. While Tavares is one in a deep middleweight division it’s a step upwards.
~ 3 ~
Yoel Romero vs. Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou – Comeback of the Month
Had things gone differently in this match, this match could have been the Upset of the Month but in MMA anything can happen. Yoel Romero was the favorite going into this fight but Derek Brunson was able to control the match for two rounds by shockingly using wrestling and effective striking.
This was surprising considering Romero was a world class wrestler and dangerous striker. Then in the third round Romero started using his striking again. He was able to use the elbows to end the match against Brunson after a heated exchange.
~ 2 ~
Donald Cerrone vs. Adriano Martins at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Thomson – Knockout of the Month
There is still fight left in the “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone and this match was proof of it. Having rebounded from a loss, Cerrone was looking to string two wins together. Adriano Martins on the other hand had a UFC win under his belt after coming from Strikeforce.
The fight had Cerrone controlling the stand up with his superior striking. Then at the right moment he fainted and knocked Martins out with a neck kick.
~ 1 ~
Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Thomson – Fight of the Month
Normally when fights are good enough to stir controversy over judges calls, they are normally great fights and this is no exception. Benson Henderson had just come off a loss to Anthony Pettis which cost him the UFC Lightweight Championship.
Josh Thomson was set to face Pettis when Pettis dropped out due to a knee injury. Both men went into this fight and despite the fact that Thomson broke his thumb in the first round, both men went at it and put on a good show. Unfortunately many thought Thomson won but the judges didn’t think so.
What do you think were the top 10 fights of the month in MMA? Leave a comment!