Every year there are good fights. However, it seemed that 2011 was marked by several fights that stood out. I am certain that people may be able to list several fights that took place on smaller cards or even on under cards of bigger promotions, but to me part of the fight of the year award has to do with putting on a great fight on the biggest stages.
5. Clay Guida vs. Ben Henderson at UFC on Fox 1 – November 12
This fight was tucked away on the UFC’s debut on Fox. Most people knew exactly what this fight would be. Guida and Henderson both have the styles for fireworks, in fact neither of these guys are in boring fights. If you were to look back at fight of the year candidates from 2010 you would see both of these guys among the nomiinees. While this fight got overshadowed by the main event on the Fox card, Ben Henderson went on to win the fight and earn himself a shot and Frankie Edgar’s lightweight belt.
4. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 2 – UFC 125 – January 1
Most people did not expect this fight to be as epic as it was. In fact, the PPV numbers were less than spectacular. However, anyone who did not order this fight missed out on a great fight. The story of this fight is that Gray Maynard absolutley destroyed Frankie Edgar in round 1. Edgar appeared to be finished, but his heart prevailed. Edgar went on to make a great comeback and finish with a draw. The two would run it back with Edgar winning clearly the next go round.
3. Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber 2 – UFC 132 – July 2
The first fight went to Faber. This was Cruz’s time to shine and he did. However, Faber made it interesting. In fact, some felt that he may haved edged Cruz. This fight was compelling enough that a third fight will take place some time in 2012, so we may just see these names on the list next year.
2. Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez – Bellator 58 – November 19
This may be the fight of the year that no one is talking about. This was a back and forth slugfest for the Bellator lightweight title. This fight was simply overshadowed by our fight of the year…its a shame too, because this was a great fight.
1. Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua – UFC 139 – November 19
Incredible. This fight had the excitment brewing for me. Henderson beat the fire out of Shogun for three round, but Shogun showed tons of heart and came back and nearly won. In the end Henderson edged Shogun in a decision, but most people think it was a draw. This fight probably comes close to being the consesus fight of the year.