There were definitely some good fights this month but they were a lot easier to track. So with that let’s delve into the best of this month:
10. TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia – Oliver Aubin-Mercier vs. Richard Walsh
There was a bit of anticipation going into this second to last fight of this regional version of the show. Team Canada was already guaranteed a finalist as the first semifinal was between two Canadians. Thus it was up to Team Australia’s Richard Walsh to hopefully win and represent Australia in the finale. However, that didn’t happen as opponent Oliver Aubin-Mercier caught Walsh in a submission in the first round. Then something shocking happened as Walsh who had grown out a beard, proceeded to cut it after his loss to signify his end of the road.
9. TUF: Brazil 3 – Marcio “Lyoto” Junior vs. Paulo Costa
Up to this point in the season Team Silva had gone four for four in their fights and fight selections. Needless to say Team Sonnen was in dire need of a win and it was up to Marcio Junior to finally get a win. Junior had earned the name “Lyoto” because of his karate based fighting style, similar to Lyoto Machida. The fight was back and forth as Team Silva’s Paulo Costa took the first round with Lyoto coming back in the second round, forcing a third round. Because of how tired Costa was, Lyoto controlled the fight and earned Team Sonnen’s first victory of the season.
8. TUF 19: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn – Daniel Spohn vs. Tyler King
This was the first elimination fight of the season and it set the tone for the rest of the bouts. As light heavyweights, Daniel Spohn and Tyler King were both tall imposing figures. However, Daniel Spohn showed how proficient of a fighter he was when he knocked out King within the first twenty seconds of the first round. It was almost scary to see the over six foot King topple to the Octagon floor fight in front of both the cameras and the coaches with Dana White. With the win Spohn got an easy fight into The Ultimate Fighter house.
7. TUF 19: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn – Mike King vs. Nordine Taleb
So we go from the first of the elimination fights to the last of the elimination fights. This fight in particular had a question mark by it as The Ultimate Fighter Nations participant Nordine Taleb was one of the two fighting for a spot in the house. Despite some of the questions that went along with what could be considered a controversial decision, Taleb and opponent Mike King proved that it was justified. If this were a regular season fight it could have been a fight of the season candidate. After three rounds King came away with the very memorable win.
6. Bellator 116: Joey Beltran vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
There was some sentimentality with this fight as longtime veteran Vladimir Matyushenko had announced before the fight that he intended to retire regardless of the outcome. Needless to say he went out on a memorable note. Both Matyushenko and UFC vet Joey Beltran came out and gave it their all in a back and forth affair. However, Beltran maintained control for the most part and in the third round secured a take down and eventually a north-south choke. I would like to remark that it was an honor to be able to watch that fight live at Pechanga Casino.
5. UFC 172: Chris Beal vs. Patrick Williams – Comeback of the Month
This has to be one of the most dramatic comebacks I have ever seen. TUF 18 participant Chris Beal was making his UFC debut against Patrick Williams on the UFC Fight Pass prelims of UFC 172. During the first round Williams clearly had control and there were times it looked like he may finish Beal. However, Beal made it out of the first round and then in the second round he came back with striking and was able to finish Williams with a flying knee that sent Williams to the floor. Beal was awared Performance of the Night for his efforts.
4. UFC 172: Anthony Johnson vs. Phil Davis – Upset of the Month
To say this was shocking is just the tip of the iceberg. Going into this fight Phil Davis was ranked 4th on the UFC rankings compared to 14th for Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. In addition Johnson had not only returned to the UFC after two years in other promotions, but was also coming up from two weight classes from welterweight to a reinvented light heavyweight. Johnson went into this bout and controlled Davis both in the standing position and in the wrestling game (shocking considering Davis was a 2008 NCAA DI Wrestling Champion). Johnson clearly came away with the victory and also made a statement to anyone else in the light heavyweight division that he’s back in the UFC!
3. UFC 172: Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boestch – Submission of the Month
Now if one were to look at the Performance of the Night bonuses issued for UFC 172 and then take a look at this list they would probably scratch their head. While admittedly Joseph Benavidez’s submission of Tim Elliot was impressive, Luke Rockhold’s submission of Tim Boestch was arguably set up in a more impressive fashion. The two were originally set to face off at UFC 166 but a knee injury to Rockhold scratched the fight and the two faced other opponents before finally meeting at UFC 172. What was impressive is that Rockhold took Boestch down and then controlled his upper body with his legs before grabbing “The Barbarian’s” arm and pulling a kimura. Not only was it impressive but Rockhold felt gutsy enough to call out Vitor Belfort for a rematch.
2. Bellator 116: Alexander Volkov vs. “Might Mo” Siliga – Knockout of the Month
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said that he expected this fight to end in a knockout and he wasn’t wrong. Former Bellator Heavyweight Champion Alexander Volkov and kick boxer “Might Mo” Siliga had both won their quarterfinal matches to face off in this semifinal match up. The fight started out with Mo actually going back to his high school wrestling days (as he’s been doing recently) and trying to take down Volkov on the cage. Ultimately it didn’t work and the ref broke them up to neutral. It was at that point that Volkov saw the opportunity and threw one of the most impressive leg kicks of possibly the year, sending Mo unconscious to the cage floor.
1. Bellator 115: Herman Terrado vs. Justin Baesman
This is one of those times where some people can’t complain about the outcome. Bellator 115 had a number of fights scrapped and as a result, this fight between Herman Terrado and Justin Baesman was moved from the online prelims to the Spike broadcast. It was clearly justified as it was arguably the most exciting fight of the month. Terrado took the first round using superior striking but Baesman came back in the second and dominated with ground and pound so badly that two of the judges scored it a 10-8 round. Terrado came back in the third but because of the two judges scored it came out to a majority draw and made it on top of this month’s top 10 fights.
Do you think there were some fights that should have made it on this month’s top 10 that didn’t? Feel free to leave a comment on which.