2013 has been a great year for MMA already, and we are only just coming out of the first quarter. We have seen some crazy knockouts, submissions and fight of the year candidates from MMA's elite fighters.
I've picked out four of my favorite moments from MMA in 2013 so far:
There was no competition for the number one spot here, none whatsoever. Wanderlei Silva is one of my favorite fighters of all time and the fight he put on with Brian Stann was nothing short of incredible. The scene was set at UFC on Fuel TV Silva Vs. Stann in Saitama, and these two guys did not disappoint. The first round consisted of back and forth flurries of punches, knees and kicks that saw both men floored multiple times. I was on the edge of my seat by the time the bell rang for round two, and Brian Stann's face was bloody and beaten. Wanderlei ended the fight early in round two in textbook 'Axe Murderer' style, rocking Stann with a one-two combo and then putting his lights out with some ground and pound.
2.Mark Hunt wrecks Struve, gets the fight with JDS
Mark Hunt's knockout of Stefan Struve was brutal, leaving the Dutch giant with a broken jaw and letting the world know that 'The Super Samoan' is for real. The knockout itself isn't the only part of this story that makes the number two spot, just as incredible was the rally for Hunt Vs. Jds. Fans worldwide appealed to UFC president Dana White, asking him to give Hunt a fight against Dos Santos for the number one contender spot. Eventually Hunt Vs. Dos Santos was confirmed and fans get to look forward to the possibility of Hunt competing for the heavyweight title in the UFC.
I think 'Rowdy' making her promotional debut in the UFC earlier this year was huge for MMA. Her fight against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 was a historic moment for women's MMA, marking the first time women had competed in the UFC and setting an all time record for PPV buys of a MMA event headlined by women. I fully support anything that helps MMA grow and I think that women's MMA is a great way to get more people involved or interested in the sport. I also think Rousey is a great champion so seeing her score her seventh consecutive first round armbar was thoroughly entertaining.
4.'Bigfoot' knocks out Overeem
At UFC 156 Antonio Silva was set to face off against Alistair 'The Demolition Man' Overeem, in a bout which many favoured the Dutch K-1 champion to win with ease. Overeem seemed to have no respect for Silva's striking and in round 3 'The Reem' paid the price. After dominating Silva for most of the fight Overeem was caught with a savage flurry of straight rights and uppercuts. After eating some heavy shots Overeem crumpled to the canvas, as Silva stood over him and I couldn't help but feel like justice had been served. There are no easy fights in MMA and Overeem learned that the hard way.
Honorable mention goes to Matt Grice and Dennis Bermudez for their FOTN performance at UFC 157, Renan Barao for submitting Michael MacDonald, GSP and Nick Diaz for providing some awesome pre-fight hype and Marlon Moraes' monstrous headkick knockout of Tyson Nam.