Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez. Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source- Credit: Dave Mandel

After two months we have finally come to the end of the road for the Best of 2013 series. It has certainly been fun compiling the votes and writing the results, but all good things must come to an end and this end comes in the form of the top 10 fights of 2013.

For the final time the picks were made by members of the MMA Freak writing staff. As usual there were fights that were nominated but did not receive enough votes to make the top 10. However, they will be mentioned in this final honorable mentions list:

~ Honorable mentions ~

Johny Hendricks‘ decision win over Carlos Condit at UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz (Fight of the Night)

Michelle Waterson‘s submission win over Jessica Penne at Invicta FC 5: Penne vs. Waterson

Cat Zingano‘s technical knockout win over Miesha Tate at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen Finale (Fight of the Night)

Tecia Torres‘ decision win over Rose Namajunas at Invicta FC 6: Coenen vs. Cyborg

Dong Hyun Kim‘s knockout win over Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields (Knockout of the Night)

Travis Browne‘s knockout win over Alistair Overeem at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen (Knockout of the Night)

Matt Brown‘s knockout win over Jordan Mein at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez (Fight of the Night)

Daniel Straus‘ decision win over Pat Curran at Bellator 106

Benson Henderson‘s decision win over Gilbert Melendez at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez

That’s it for the honorable mentions and here we go with the top 10 fights of 2013:

~ 10 ~

Bellator 89: Dan Cramer’s decision win over Brian Rogers

It seemed like just another tournament match but it would become more than that. Brian Rogers had gone through two middleweight tournaments in a row of loosing in the semifinals. Dan Cramer was entering his first Bellator tournament even though he’d already fought for the promotion seven times before that. Needless to say both men went in there and went at it. Ultimately Cramer came out on top.

~ 9 ~

UFC 166: Cain Velasquez’s technical knockout victory over JDS

This was an epic and highly anticipated rubber match. Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos both came into this match having defeated the other once. Since their previous outing, Velasquez finished Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in a rematch in which he successfully defended the title and dos Santos had rebounded with a win over Mark Hunt.

The entire match consisted of Velasquez pressing dos Santos up against the Octagon and pounding dos Santos to the point that going into the fifth round dos Santos’ face looked like it had been put through a meat grinder. While dos Santos never gave up, he unfortunately was finally finished by Velasquez in the fifth round, ending the trilogy.

~ 8 ~

UFC on Fuel TV: Wanderlei Silva’s knockout victory over Brian Stann

Going into this fight both veterans were in need of a win. Brian Stann was still considered a contender but had lost to Michael Bisping and in need of a win while Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva had a checkered record and was coming off a loss to Rich Franklin.

Needless to say both men went in and gave it their all for almost two rounds. Then late in the second round Silva rocked Stann and we got to see the old Wanderlei come out as he finished Stann with a flurry of punches. Both men earned Fight of the Night honors and Stann eventually retired.

~ 7 ~

TUF 18: Raquel Pennington’s decision win over Jessamyn Duke

It was a historic season of The Ultimate Fighter as it was the first time women were allowed in the TUF house. In no way did any of the women in the house disappoint as every women’s fight was a praiseworthy performance. Raquel Pennington and Jessamyn Duke’s Fight of the Season performance was no different.

Both women gave it their all on the feel and it was so close that it went to a third round. Pennington though had the better striking and was able to pull off the win. Both women had successful debuts at the season finale.

~ 6 ~

UFC 168: Ronda Rousey’s submission victory over Miesha Tate

The anticipation going into this match was intense. Both women had been at each other’s throats during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate as Ronda Rousey’s true colors came out to the general public and Miesha Tate relished pushing her buttons. When the match finally came in, people were wondering if Rousey was going to go in and try to break Tate’s arm once again.

To everyone’s surprise, Tate was actually able to not only take Rousey out of the first round for the first time in her career, but she took her into the third round. However, despite her valiant effort, Rousey eventually found her trademark arm bar forcing a tap and Fight of the Night honors.

~ 5 ~

UFC 167: Georges St-Pierre’s decision win over Johny Hendricks

This was without a doubt the biggest challenge of Georges St-Pierre’s career to date. Many considered Johny “Big Rig” Hendricks the ideal opponent to topple the longtime welterweight king as he had all the attributes to counter St-Pierre’s skills. The match was by no means a disappointment as both men used wrestling and striking against the other with both men going into the fifth round even.

While many though Hendricks won the match, the judges believed that St-Pierre took the match and to be fair, Hendricks left it to the judges and in a close fight like that it can go either way. However, St-Pierre vacated the title soon after and Hendricks was picked for the match for the vacant title.

~ 4 ~

Bellator 106: Eddie Alvarez’s decision win over Michael Chandler

Without a doubt this was the best fight not only from Bellator but outside the UFC in 2013. Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez had put on a great fight in their first outing and since that time both men had essentially cleaned out the lightweight division.

Apparently it was good enough for Bellator to block Alvarez from signing with the UFC and were only able to convince him to return to the promotion by inking an immediate rematch with Chandler for the title. Once again both men went at it and it was in fact so close that the judges scored it as a split decision. Ultimately Alvarez walked away with his title again and Bjorn Rebney announced recently that they’re trilogy will be completed in May.

~ 3 ~

UFC Fight Night: Mark Hunt vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva

If it weren’t for the controversy that surrounds this fight, it could possibly be number two or even fight of the year. Both men were facing each other after having both lost to title fight participants Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. It was on Hunt’s home turf in Australia and needless to say the Australian fans weren’t disappointed.

It’s hard to imagine two heavyweights going at it the way these two did but they managed to pull it off and the draw result was actually welcome. Then there was the sad TRT test of Silva’s that saw his part get revoked.

~ 2 ~

UFC 165: Jon Jones decision win over Alexander Gustafsson

It was history in the making in many ways. Jon Jones had dominated every title challenger up to this point tying Tito Ortiz‘s light heavyweight record of title defenses. On the other hand Alexander Gustafsson was viewed as a challenge in and of himself.

Needless to say the resulting fight was possibly one of the best in the sport. Jones walked away with the decision and both men got Fight of the Night honors.

~ 1 ~

UFC 166: Gilbert Melendez’s decision win over Diego Sanchez

It’s hard to say if there will ever be a better match then this one in the future of MMA but time will tell. Gilbert Melendez was just coming off his title challenge to Benson Henderson whereas Diego Sanchez was just coming off a win against Takanori Gomi.

As much as everyone expected a fight no one expected an all out brawl from the first bell to the last. Both men gave it their all and at times it looked like either might be finished but they made it to the final bell. They both earned Fight of the Night and Fight of the Year here at MMA Freak.

Thank you for your viewership of the Best of 2013 awards. I look forward to writing them again next year. Thanks for reading!