Thanks so much for those who emailed in their nominations for for the annual MMA Blaster year end awards. 2010 saw some insane action in all major promotions. It saw a legend get defeated, new stars emerge, the judges completely blow some fights and competitors constantly changing the landscape of the fight game.
Male Fighter of the Year Zuffa (UFC/WEC)- Anthony Pettis went 4-0 in 2010 with four jaw dropping performances. Pettis started the year by delivering a nasty head kick to Danny Castillo. In his second bout, he submitted Alex Karelexis with a triangle choke. To get his title shot, Pettis fought Shane Roller in an absolute barn burner, securing a triangle with only 9 seconds left in the 3rd. In his year end finale, Pettis went toe to toe with Ben Henderson for 5 rounds of action in the fight of the year, delivering the super kick heard round the world.
Runners Up- Dominick Cruz went 3-0, defeating Brian Bowles via TKO for the 135 pound title, then defended twice with decision wins over Joe Benavidez and Scott Jorgenson. Cain Velasquez scored two big time KO's over Antonio Nogueira and Brock Lesnar to get the HW title. Jose Aldo defended his 145 pound title twice against Urijah Faber and Manny Gamburyan. Anderson Silva defended the belt twice, with a slick comeback submission win over Chael Sonnen.
Male Fighter of the Year Outside Zuffa- Hatsu Hioki went 3-0 in Sengoku and Shooto taking the Sengoku Featherweight Championship with a dominant performance over Marlon Sandro. Hioki will likely see matches in Shooto and Sengoku in 2011. Many fans are hoping he finds his way into the UFC's 145 pound division, but that might be a long shot.
Runners Up- Hector Lombard went 5-0 in 2010 culminating with a unanimous decision win over Alexander Schmelko for the 185 pound Bellator title. Rafeal Calvancante won 2 including a TKO over Mo Lawal to take the Strikeforce 205 pound title. Joe Warren went 4-0 to take the Bellator 145 pound tournament and title. Nick Diaz went 3-0 with wins over KJ Noons, Hayoto Sakurai and Marius Zaromskis.
Female Fighter of the Year- Zoila Frausto punched her ticket to the Bellator Women's tournament with a big time knee KO of Rosi Sexton at Bellator 23. The Warrior Princess won the inagural tournament with solid striking in wins over Jessica Pene, Jessica Aguilar and women's MMA legend Megumi Fujii.
Runners Up- Meisha Tate went 4-0 in 2010 scoring two wins in one night at Strikeforce's 135 pound tourney. Cris "Cyborg" Santos notched a KO of Jen Finney and TKO of Marloes Coenen in 2010.
Fight of the Year- Anthony Pettis wins a unanimous decision over Ben Henderson in a bout that was non-stop action. Top notch striking and grappling were displayed, with each fighter getting the others back. With the fight close near the end, Pettis launched off the fence doing his best impersonation of a ninja, smacking Henderson in the face, sealing the win.
Runners Up- Jorge Santiago and Kazuo Misaki battle for the MW Sengoku title at SRC 14, with Santiago notching a TKO in the 5th round. Chris Leben scored an amazing 3rd round triangle to dash Yoshihiro Akiyama's lead on the scorecards at UFC 116. Anthony Pettis throws out all the stops with innovative tactics and slick triangle against Shane Roller WEC 50. Brock Lesnar came back from the brink of defeat to secure an arm triangle submission in the second round of the HW title fight at UFC 116. Chan Sung Jung and Leonard Garcia might not have had much technique, but let it all go in an epic slugfest at WEC 48.
Submission of the Year- Fabricio Werdum shocks the MMA world by tapping MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko with a triangle choke victory in the first round. Werdum was hit by a fairly decent shot and tumbled to the canvas, soon after Fedor pounced, he was baited into a triangle/armbar combo.
Runners Up- Anderson Silva comes from behind to submit trash talking Chael Sonnen with a triangle in the 5th round of their title fight. Nick Pace using a Pillory Choke/Modified Triangle to submit Will Campuzano at the TUF 12 Finale. Dan Hornbuckle's nasty kimura on Steve Carl at Bellator 14. Up and coming Brazilian Charles Oliveira's standing rear naked choke on Efrain Escudero at UFC fight night 22. Mark Bocek's triangle over Dustin Hazelett at UFC 124. Marloes Coenen's armbar over undefeated Sarah Kaufman at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II to take the women's 135 pound title. Cole Miller's modified kimura over Dan Lauzon at UFC 108. Scott Jorgensen guillotines Chad George against the fence at WEC 47. Shinya Aoki's win in the battle of leg locks with an achilles lock submission over Tatsuya Kawajiri.
KO of the Year - Kick/Knee/Slam- Gerald Harris slams David Branch into oblivion at UFC 116. With Harris up two rounds in the scorecards, David Branch made the mistake of pulling guard. Harris used the opportunity channel his inner hulk and power slam Branch, knocking him out cold.
Runners Up- Zoila Frausto's big time knee KO over Rosi Sexton at Bellator 23. George Roop destroys Chang Sung Jung with a head kick at WEC 53. Eddie Wineland does his best Rampage Jackson impression in a wicked slam of Ken Stone at WEC 53. Pablo Garza lands a monster flying knee against Fredson Paixo at UFC's TUF 12 Finale. Sarah Kaufman KO'd Roxanne Modafferi via slam at Strikeforce Challengers 9 for the women's 135 pound title.
KO of the Year - Hands/Elbow- Robbie Lawler who on the brink of defeat crushed Melvin Manhoef in Strikeforce - Miami. Lawler was eating leg kicks throughout the fight, with the kicks from the K-1 veteran Manhoef sending Lawler's lead leg high into the air. Looking to throw another kick, Lawler landed a punch on the button knocking Manhoef unconscious.
Runners Up- Carlos Condit flattened Dan Hardy at UFC 120 with a big time punch as each fighter is throwing hands. Mike Russow took a beating for two rounds before throwing a punch that lands clean, knocking hyped prospect Todd Duffee out. Shogun Rua crushed the undefeated Lyoto Machida in the first round of UFC 113 to take the 205 pound title. Marlon Sandro lands big punches and sends Masanori Kanehara to the mat face first at Sengoku 13. Maciej Jewtuszko TKOs Anthony Njokuani at WEC 50 with a spinning backfist. Paul Daley sends Scott Smith to the canvas face first in Strikeforce. Takanori Gomi scores a big KO over Tyson Griffin at UFC Live on Versus 2.
Top Up and Coming Prospect Zuffa- Phil Davis went 4-0 in 2010 with 2 submissions against Tim Boetsch and Alexander Gustafsson. The former NCAA champion will look to take a big step up in competition during his 2011 run in the 205 pound division. Phil's submission game and athleticism should carry him a long way in his journey in the UFC's 205 pound division.
Runners Up- Edson Mendes Barboza Jr. went 4-0 with 4 T/KO's in 2010 with a successful UFC debut against Mike Lullo, rocking him with an assortment of stinging leg kicks.
Top Up and Coming Prospect Outside Zuffa- United States Olympic wrestling captain Daniel Cormier has made a successful transition to MMA, going 5-0 with 3 submissions and 2 TKO wins. Cormier took the King of the Cage and XMMA heavyweight belts in addition to 2 wins in Strikeforce. His submission via punches win over slugger Soa Palelei was a big feather in his cap.
Runners Up- Cole Konrad went 7-0 in 2010 scoring a keylock submission win over Neil Grove to win the Bellator heavyweight tournament.
Comeback Fighter of the Year- Chris Lytle went 3-0 in the UFC, submitting Mike Brown and Brian Foster while avenging a loss to Matt Serra. Lytle has worked himself up the UFC ladder with gutsy performances that are always entertaining.
Runners Up- Michihiro Omigawa went 3-0 with wins over Micah Miller and Cole Escovedo earning a ticket to the UFC. Omigawa's striking has continued to improve greatly since his first stint in the UFC. Chris Leben went 3-0 in 2010 with big wins over Yoshihiro Akiyama, Aaron Simpson and Jay Silva, before losing a stunner to Brian Stann on January 1st.