2014 has plenty of potential as far as MMA is concerned; a new generation of superstars are rising through the ranks and making their mark on MMA. January has been a pretty good month in MMA history, and here’s why:
Fedor knocks out a ‘Pitbull’
Before Josh Barnett publicly executed Affliction MMA, it was a thriving (kinda) promotion boasting some of the best talent on the planet. A long awaited bout between Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski went down under the banner, on January 24 of 2009.
‘The Last Emperor’ was still regarded as the best fighter around and proved why against the former UFC HW champ. ‘The Pitbull’ was landing some nice shots in the opening round; peppering Fedor with punches and kicks from the outside. As Fedor backed in to a corner, Arlovski attempted a flying knee. Fedor uncorked a harrowing right hand that pinged Arlovski mid air, sending him face first to the mat and creating one of the greatest KO’s ever.
Strikeforce was never going to be the biggest MMA promotion while the UFC was around, although I did think they would survive the winter. The San Jose based organization had Fedor fight for them, Antonio Silva, Tarec Saffiedine, Josh Barnett, Frank Shamrock, Nick Diaz, Fabricio Werdum and many more nig names; but were unable to stay afloat.
January of 2013 marked the last ever SF event, and it was a botched together mish mash of boring fights titled ‘Strikeforce: Saffiedine vs. Marquardt’. It was a sad way to see Strikeforce go out, but I’m sure Scott Coker is happy to see that Dana White is treating the SF fighters well (troll much?)
Vitor Belfort 2.0
Before ‘The Phenom’ met Michael Bisping at UFC on FX last January, he had lost to Jon Jones at UFC 152. Many fans thought Belfort was done, having fought for 15 years and also recently lost to Anderson Silva. A loss against ‘The Count’ would surely seal the deal for the veteran KO artist.
Belfort made a statement against the Brit, scoring an emphatic knockout with his first ever head kick finish in pro MMA. It started the streak that eventually earned him a Middleweight title shot, and consisted of two more head kick finishes; Belfort had reinvented himself. What a great month in MMA history.
Banner photo courtesy of Jason da Silva, USA TODAY Sports