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Old 11-26-2012, 01:35 PM
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Knockouts of the Year


Quote:
Lyoto Machida, Anthony Johnson, Nate Marquardt, Cung Le and Edson Barboza all have one thing in common: Mixed martial arts (MMA) highlight-reel knockouts in 2012.

As you shove turkey into your mouth hole this afternoon, hurriedly flipping between football games before passing out in a bloated heap of tryptophan and lost fantasy points, remember to give thanks to the people who helped make you who you are and the things that get you through the day.

We here at MMAmania also wish to show our appreciation for the sport we love, the sport that's given us so many wonderful nights and memories that will last a lifetime.

To that end, we have created "5 Top 5's," lists of the very best mixed martial arts (MMA) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has had to offer so far in 2012. Sit back, prop your feet up, and follow me as we kick things off with the Top 5 "Knockouts of the Year."
Here we go:


#5 (Tie): Bow to your sensei -- Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Thiago Silva at UFC on Fuel TV 2 and Anthony Johnson vs. D.J. Linderman at World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 1



There are a whole lot of ways a knockout can be great and a whole lot of arguments you can have over which ones take precedence. What every fan of every sport can agree on, though, is that faceplants are awesome.

Back in April at UFC on FUEL TV 2: "Gustafsson vs. Silva," Paulo Thiago had just broken a two-fight losing streak and was out to once again stake a claim in the Welterweight elite. Unfortunately, he decided to do so by rushing directly at nuclear-fisted Afghan Siyar Bahadurzada, who had the Brazilian supercop eating canvas in just 42 seconds for his fifth consecutive (technical) knockout.

D.J. Linderman found himself in a similar situation when his eyepoke of Anthony Johnson at the inaugural World Series of Fighting got him so pumped that he completely forgot just who he was fighting and ran headlong into a bomb of a right hand.

Reports that he had to be placed on a stretcher by means of spatula remain unconfirmed.


#4: Un, deux, trois, quatre, adieux -- Nate Marquardt vs. Tyron Woodley at Strikeforce


Tyron Woodley had a reputation for putting on ... let's call them "not very aesthetically pleasing" fights. Nate Marquardt had a reputation for being in awesome fights. Something had to give.

Thankfully, it was the former.

The two put on a hell of a show at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy, rocking one another on multiple occasions as Woodley's power and wrestling battled for dominance with Marquardt's size and veteran savvy. In the end, the latter's prowess in the clinch proved too much as he chopped Woodley's "0" to pieces with a brutal four-piece combination.
Not bad for a welterweight debut.


#3: Ramming always works -- Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader at UFC on FOX 4


There are many ways of fighting a counter-striker; you can try to counter-strike yourself, stalling until he's forced to go on the offensive. Alternately, you can use controlled aggression to fluster him and shut down his game.

Or, as Ryan Bader figured at UFC on FOX 4, you can run right the hell at him with one hand at your waist and hope for the best.
No guarantees on that last one.


#2: Quarry'd -- Cung Le vs. Rich Franklin at UFC on Fuel TV 6


An upset knockout from a guy not known for his hands that resulted in one of the most hilarious faceplants in recent memory? Yes, please.
Headlining the latest UFC on FUEL TV 6 card against Rich Franklin, few gave Cung Le much of a chance. He'd been very frank about an ongoing foot injury and had taken a lot of time out of training for "The Man with the Iron Fists." Bar some crazy kick, most agreed, Franklin would take him to the deep waters and flatten him once his gas tank ran out.

No plan survives first contact with the enemy, especially if that contact is a monstrous counter right hook that knocks your brain into the upper deck.


#1: The wheels on the bus go KTFO -- Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim at UFC 142


Honestly, could the No. 1 seed be anything else? Beautiful technique from Edson Barboza, brilliant timing from Joe Rogan's commentary, and a rather amusing and Photoshop-fertile fall from Etim.

Wonderful, wonderful knockout.

There were plenty more spectacular finishes, from Stephen Thompson's head kick on Dan Stittgen to Brad Pickett's bone-crushing uppercut on Yves Jabouin. Did one of those deserve to be on this list? Is my ordering all wrong?

Let me know in the comments while you wait for the next installment of "5 Top 5s," featuring the top "Submissions of the Year."
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:38 PM
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Submissions of the Year


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What do Demian Maia, Ronda Rousey, T.J. Waldburger, Charles Oliveira and Matt Wiman all have in common? They all registered highlight-reel submissions in mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2012, which are all worthy of seeing again.

Halftime? Between games? Commercial break?

No matter what the situation, welcome back to Mania. Earlier today, we looked at the finest brain-scramblings 2012 has had to offer with our 2012 "Knockouts of the Year." For those of you in the mood for more precise demolition, don't worry, we've got you covered.

Follow me for the second installment of "5 Top 5s," featuring 2012's finest submissions in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Here we go:


#5: Who gave Story my porn? -- Demian Maia vs. Rick Story at UFC 142


It was like something straight out of an anime, only instead of naked girls in hot springs, it was Demian Maia's arm crushing his face that turned Rick Story's schnozz into a ketchup dispenser at UFC 142. Was it blood vessels bursting, or Story's blood realizing it was about to get flattened and making a break for it? We'll never know.


#4: It's not supposed to bend that way -- Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate at Strikeforce




It may not have been some ultra-fancy spinning flying whatchamajigger, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more brutal submission than Ronda Rousey's hellacious armbar on Miesha Tate in their titular title bout. Hell, it's still hard to watch.
Let's move on, please.


#3: Whizzerdry -- T.J. Waldburger vs. Jake Hecht at UFC on FX 2


When Dustin Hazelett announced his retirement from MMA, many were left scrambling for a new "bearded crazy submissions guy" in the lighter weight classes. Unfortunately for Jake Hecht, T.J. Waldburger decided to make their bout at UFC on FX 2 his audition for the role, hitting a beautiful armbar as Hecht attempted to escape via whizzer. Nicely done.


#2: Turning a calf into veal -- Charles Oliveira vs. Eric Wisely


There's not much more awesome to watch on the mat than a properly-executed submission chain. In his featherweight debut opposite Eric Wisely on UFC on Fox 2: "Evans vs. Davis," however, Charles Oliveira went the extra mile, eschewing the traditional triangle-to-armbar combo in favor of a brutal heel-hook-to-kneebar-to-calf-slicer sequence, the first successful specimen of its kind in UFC history. Wisely can wear his limp with pride knowing he was part of an amazing moment.


#1: Reversal of Fortunes -- Matt Wiman vs. Paul Sass at UFC on Fuel TV 5


Yeah, it was just an armbar. But it was an armbar on Paul Sass, who had spent his whole MMA career tapping people left and right from his guard and who had thrown approximately five dozen submission attempts at Wiman by that point. The big question heading into this UFC on FUEL TV 5 clash was whether Matt Wiman could survive Sass's grappling attack; at no point was the possibility of Wiman pulling off his own submission even considered. A great upset and just about the perfect way to do it.

Did I miss some bone-snapping, trachea-crunching submission? Let me know in the comments and gird yourselves for the next installment of "5 Top 5s," looking for the "Fights of the Year."
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:40 PM
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Fights of the Year


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What do Henderson-Edgar, Fitch-Silva, Marquardt-Woodley, Jung-Poirier and Lauzon-Varner all have in common? They all combined to deliver some of the most memorable mixed martial arts (MMA) fights in 2012, which are all worthy of continued discussion and praise.

Just can't quit us, can you?

Finishes are all well and good, but in this, the third installment of MMAmania's "5 Top 5s," we're shifting gears and looking at the back-and-forth mixed martial arts (MMA) slugfests that kept us on the edge of our seats, prompted cold sweats as we silently begged the guy we bet on not to tap, leaving us on our feet and clapping until our hands hurt regardless of how much we hated the guy who won or loved the guy who lost.
That was a mouthful.

Follow me for a look at the Top 5 MMA fights in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and beyond in 2012 so far:


#5: Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar 1 at UFC 144


Neither man was considered the best finisher, but nobody in their right mind expected anything less than fireworks when UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champion Ben Henderson locked horns at the Saitama Super Arena.

While Edgar's patented mix of high-volume boxing and rapid takedown attempts looked to carry the day early, everything changed when a Henderson upkick damn near sent Edgar's nose through the top of his head. The two continued trading heavy leather, Henderson tenderizing the champ's legs and body with big kicks, while Edgar worked away with punches, until the final bell, at which point Henderson was awarded the unanimous decision.

We can argue all day about who won this fight or who won the rematch, but it's hard to argue that this wasn't a fine piece of MMA.


#4: Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva at UFC 153


The last thing anyone expected as they celebrated the New Year on Jan. 1, 2012, was that one of the best fights of the year would involve Jon Fitch. The general consensus going into the bout between Fitch -- who was last seen making Dana White's day by getting knocked stiff in 12 seconds by Johny Hendricks -- and Erick Silva at UFC 153 was that Silva would either put him away in spectacular fashion or Fitch would drag him into a boring-ass grindfest.

None of the above, as it turns out.

Fitch, who was reportedly suffering from financial problems, came out like a house on fire, taking the fight to the dynamic striker from the get-go. Despite the former's wrestling prowess, Silva turned the tables in the second round, taking Fitch's back and threatening to be the first man in more than 10 years to submit him. Undaunted, Fitch survived the attack and nearly secured an armbar of his own before turning the third round into the Jon Fitch show, battering Silva post-to-post from top position and securing "Broke Fitch's" place among such legends as "Motivated BJ" and "Chuck with that Look in his Eye."

If Fitch keeps fighting like this, it'll get pretty hard to deny him a second go at Georges St. Pierre soon enough.


#3: Nate Marquardt vs. Tyron Woodley at Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy"


Tyron Woodley came into this fight on the heels of one of the year's worst fights, a split decision over Jordan Mein. Nate Marquardt had been released from the UFC after testing positive for elevated testosterone. Both men had a lot of work to do if they wanted a place in the limelight.

Luckily, they went at it with gratuitous gusto.

With their wrestling breaking even, the fight came down to Woodley's power versus Marquardt's technique. Marquardt went down in the first on a Woodley right, only to pop back up and put him down in turn. The two went tit-for-tat for the next two rounds, Marquardt pulling ahead only to get dropped once again by a right hand in the third. Things came to a violent halt in the fourth when, with Woodley pressed against the cage, Marquardt unloaded a vicious four-piece combo, slicing off a chunk of Woodley's lip with a pair of elbows and putting him to sleep with uppercuts.

An evenly-matched, technique-heavy fight with a fantastic finish. Not bad, boys.


#2: Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier at UFC on FUEL TV 3


Despite a pair of jaw-dropping finishes following his first-ever knockout loss, the Korean Zombie came into his first headlining bout a sizable underdog against the streaking Dustin Poirier. Heedless of his opponent's size and strength, however, Jung showcased a brilliant mix of technique and berserk aggression, outgrappling and outstriking "The Diamond" over the first two rounds. The highlight of this period was a fantastic sequence in the second which saw Jung stun Poirier with a flying knee followed by a series of uppercuts, reverse a takedown attempt into full mount, and attack with an onslaught of armbars and triangles until the bell.

The tide seemed to turn in the third, when Poirier's southpaw straight starting landing at will on the fading Jung. Digging deep, the Korean Zombie refused to back down, rocking Poirier badly to start the fourth with an uppercut, landing a flying knee, and latching onto a fight-ending D'arce choke as the latter tried desperately to take him down, capping off both a brilliant fight and his own transition from novelty to contender.


#1: Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner at UFC on Fox 4


If you want an example of MMA at its best, look no further than this lightweight battle. This was perhaps the year's best mix of striking, wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, all executed with impeccable technique.

Varner's power showed itself early as he rocked Lauzon with heavy punches, only for Lauzon to establish grappling superiority in the second and take Varner's back, the two slugging all the while. Fatigued and nursing a broken hand, Varner over-committed to a blast double in the final frame, giving Lauzon the opportunity to lock up a triangle and take home two more fight night bonuses for his frankly ridiculous trophy case.

Any barnburners I missed? Let me know in the comments and don't forget to be an asshole about it. Also, don't forget to stop by later for the penultimate installment of "5 Top 5s," where we look at the top events of the year.

See you soon.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:43 PM
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Events of the Year


Quote:
What do Invicta 2, UFC 142, UFC 144, UFC 146 and UFC on FOX 4 all have in common? They are among some of the most memorable mixed martial arts (MMA) events in 2012, which are all worthy of continued discussion and praise.

One good mixed martial arts (MMA) fight can save a whole event, but there's nothing like a good event top-to-bottom to wash away the misery of a week of the daily grind.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) -- the worldwide leader in the sport -- staged more than its fair share of uncharacteristic stinkers this calendar year, including UFC 149, which company president Dana White said "sucked" and branded and "embarrassment."

It wasn't all awful, though, because when you throw enough slop on the wall, some of that slop is going to stick.

In this, the penultimate installment of MMAmania's "5 Top 5s" of 2012, we look at those fight cards that have had us holding in five beers' worth of pee out of fear of missing something awesome.

Here we go:


#5: Invicta FC 2: "Baszler vs. McMann" from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, on July 28, 2012


You want great fights? Invicta has 'em. You want finishes? Invicta has 'em. You want top-ranked fighters fighting each other? Invicta has 'em.
Invicta Fighting Championships set out to showcase women's MMA and succeeded in a big way, loading its sophomore card with fantastic talent and producing high-quality bouts through and through.

Best of all? Completely free. Keep up the good work, ladies.


#4: UFC 142: "Aldo vs. Mendes" from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


A wheel kick to start things off and a charge into a crowd to end it.
This probably would have made the list even if there hadn't been plenty of quality MMA in between, from Rousimar Palhares claiming another tibia to Vitor Belfort showing off his Carlson Gracie black belt for the first time since 2001.

Add some entertaining under card "Prelims" action and 2012's first card was also one of its best.


#3: UFC 144: "Edgar vs. Henderson" from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Feb. 26, 2012


The very first fight of the evening ended with a bone-jarring knockout at Featherweight and things only improved from there.

While local superstars Norifumi Yamamoto and Takanori Gomi were less-than-impressive, the rest of the fighters picked up the slack nicely, with Anthony Pettis and Mark Hunt picking up first-round stoppages, Tim Boetsch uncorking one of the best comebacks of the year, and Frankie Edgar going to war with Benson Henderson.

Sugoi!


#2: UFC 146: "Dos Santos vs. Mir" from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 26, 2012


From great submissions to brutal knockouts to impressive upsets, UFC 146 had it all.

And thanks to every main card bout ending inside ten minutes, we got a chance to see pretty much everything in lovely high-definition. As UFC 135 showed, a heavyweight-heavy card can backfire quickly, but if you get a bunch of big boys who know what they're doing, you can get something amazing out of it.

Despite Alistair Overeem's best efforts to sabotage.


#1: UFC on Fox 4: "Shogun vs. Vera" from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2012



A come-from-behind one-punch knockout, the "Fight of the Year," one of the most brilliant counterpunches in UFC history, and a grueling slugfest on the same card? For free?

More, please.

Any fine cards I missed? Let me know in the comments with as much vitriol as you can muster until the final "Top 5" of 2012: "Fighters of the Year."

See you soon.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:45 PM
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Fighters of the Year


Quote:
What do Chris Weidman, Jon Jones, Johny Hendricks, Renan Barao and Ronda Rousey all have in common? They are among the most successful mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in 2012, who are all worthy of continued discussion and praise.

With Turkey weekend winding down and your stomachs undoubtedly full of stuff you're going to hate yourself for eating tomorrow, MMAmania's "5 Top 5s" now concludes with our search for the one pugilist who rose above the rest.

That's right, it's time to talk about the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) shining stars, as well as the one mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter outside the organization who will soon be inside as we head into 2013.

As a note, I'm basing this list off of what the fighters have accomplished in this calendar year. Otherwise, Nate Diaz and Chan Sung Jung would be on the list. Unfortunately, as of this posting, they have only fought once in 2012. Should Diaz defeat Ben Henderson in two weeks at UFC on FOX 5, place him at No. 2.

Follow me as we look for 2012's "Fighters of the Year" so far:


#5: Chris Weidman


Sure, his win over Demian Maia was less-than-pleasant to watch, but Weidman has taken out two consensus Top 10 middleweights this year. He has some of the best wrestling credentials in the UFC, prodigious Brazilian jiu-jitsu savvy, and is developing some nasty striking under Ray Longo. This is a man to watch in the coming years, folks.


#4: Jon Jones


UFC 151 shenanigans notwithstanding, Jones put a beating on Rashad Evans and showcased his mental fortitude in surviving a vicious Vitor Belfort armbar. It may not have been his historic 2011, but 2012 was another fine year for "Bones."


#3: Johny Hendricks


If you included last December's pasting of Jon Fitch, he'd be Top 3, but a win over Josh Koscheck and becoming the first man to ever put Martin Kampmann out cold, something Jake Ellenberger, Nate Marquardt, Paul Daley and Thiago Alves all failed to do, are still pretty damn impressive. I don't know if Johny can take out Georges St. Pierre, but he's a headache-in-the-making for anyone at 170.


#2: Renan Barao


Nothing sets off my skepticism like a 20-fight win streak, but Barao proved the doubters wrong in '11 and '12, running through some of the finest the bantamweight division has to offer on his way to securing the UFC interim bantamweight title. Whether he waits on sidelined champion Dominick Cruz on faces the rising Michael McDonald, I'm looking forward to seeing what this young man pulls off next.


#1: Ronda Rousey


You may not like some of the things she says, but nobody in MMA has been so completely and utterly dominant at the upper echelon this year than Ronda Rousey. Nobody's landed a punch on her. Nobody's threatened her with a submission. Nobody has managed a single piece of offense against her and nobody's gotten out of the first round.

Also, she pretty clearly had the best photoshoot this year.

Your opinions of women's MMA notwithstanding, Rousey has been utterly unstoppable and has, in my opinion, earned her place as 2012's "Fighter of the Year."

Anyone I missed? Anyone I overrated or underrated? Let me know in the comments and have a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.

See you around, Maniacs.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:57 PM
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Top five things MMA fans can be thankful for in 2012

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It's Thanksgiving, and it's time to express our gratitude for the things we take for granted. Gather round the MMA Roundtable as we give thanks for the blessings that have been bestowed upon the sport in 2012.

Gobble, gobble, Maniacs!

It's that time of the year, once again, where we sit around, stuff our faces with tryptophan and pumpkin pie, watch one-sided football blowouts, and attempt to avoid that uncle or grandmother who, quite frankly, you didn't even know was still alive.

Every year, we take this time to give "shout outs" to the things and people we usually take for granted. Whether it's our spouses, our kids, our cars, our shelter, or any number of items, we take this time to honor the fact that it's not as bad as we make it out to be on the other 364 days of the year.

Being thankful isn't restricted to the outside world. Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans have plenty to be thankful for, too, even though we spend most of the time grumbling and griping about what could be better.

With that in mind, I'd like to take this opportunity to list my top five things that I'm thankful for, as an MMA fan, this year.


ONE FC:
In the past year, ONE FC frontman Victor Cui saw a target market that wasn't being capitalized upon, and he took the intiative in a big way.

Since Sept. 2011, ONE FC has put on six shows, all in or around Singapore. And, they've all rocked. Every single one of them. ONE FC has brought fans stacked cards in packed stadiums, giving a tip of the cap to Pride FC era shows, and allowing old-school fans to feel the nostalgia.

As a United States fan, there's something special about getting up early on a Saturday and watching a kick-ass ONE FC show. I'm hopeful that it continues with the same momentum.


THE FLYWEIGHT DIVISION:
Look, I know not everyone is a fan.

The 125-pound fight game is different. Generally speaking, there are (and will probably continue to be) more decisions.

But give it some time. The division is thin right now. Zuffa will keep nurturing the weight class and bringing in exciting fighters. Also, don't surprised if you see more fighters like Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson who had spent a considerable amount of time at Bantamweight before they realized that their true weight class was Flyweight.

I think it's exciting and a nice change of pace. The speed is unlike anything you'll ever see. It's like watching too hummingbirds fly around the cage, taking occasional breaks to inflict serious violence on the other.

Personally, I think it's great for the sport.


ADDED DEPTH IN THE WELTERWEIGHT AND MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISIONS:
I know that those are kind of two items rolled into one, but I feel like they go hand-in-hand.

It wasn't that long ago that people were saying they'd felt UFC Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva had both cleaned out their divisions.

That's no longer the case.

Does that mean there are currently any fighters who I'd put money on to take the belt from either champion? No, it doesn't. But, at least there are some possibilities and some potentially very exciting match ups.

Johny Hendricks, Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald are all guys I'd love to see fight "GSP" (though MacDonald has vowed it's a fight he'd never take, due to his friendship with St. Pierre).

Chris Weidman, Alan Belcher and Michael Bisping are all guys I'd enjoy seeing in the cage with "The Spider" (Sorry, Tim Boetsch fans). Hell, I'd even be amped to see Silva fight Hector Lombard, even though I know he looked piss poor against Boetsch.

Both divisions being deeper is good for everybody.


STRIKEFORCE FOLDING:
Not everyone is going to agree on this, particular the Zuffa haters that pretended Strikeforce was ever going to give the UFC a serious run for its money.

Strikeforce had its moments, and it was fun while it lasted.

Ultimately, it's just time for guys like Gilbert Melendez, Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold and "Jacare" Ronaldo Souza to get into the Octagon and see what they can do against the very best in the world.

I want to see it. You want to see it. It's time to make it happen, and unfortunately, the death of Strikeforce will be an acceptable casualty in the big picture of the sport of MMA.


DANA WHITE:
I know, I know. He gets on your nerves. He's kind of abrasive. He doesn't always keep his promises, and he tells you guys to go screw yourselves much more often than you're comfortable with. With that said, he gets the job done. He puts together massive fights, and most of the time, the cards he assembles are a lot of fun.

White continually ups the ante, every year, with his focus on signing the top guys from around the world. Call it a monopoly if you will. But, as a fan, I want to see the top guys all fighting under the same umbrella.

Sure, White has ulterior motives, in that it makes his wallet fatter. However, I get the sense that he really is a fan of the sport, and that he gets as excited about the big fights being made as I do.

So, that's my top five. Now it's your turn.

What're you thankful for in MMA this Thanksgiving?
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:57 AM
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Good stuff.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:55 PM
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That spinning back kick from Barboza was epic!
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