MMA Crossfire – Ons and Offs of 2014
A happy and healthy 2015 to all.
Now that 2014 is a wrap, it’s time for a quick look back at some of the fights, fighters, events and moments that turned us on or off, in no particular order.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
Here they are:
A fantastic match in which we finally some of the old hungry Aldo emerge to fend off the threat from his Team Alpha Male rival. Mendez gave Aldo all he could handle and in the end, both came out the other better for the experience. This fight saved UFC 179.
ON – ONE FC
In light of the injury bug that ravaged much of the UFC cards in 2014, ONE FC emerged a bit, partly due to some high-profile signings (Ben Askren) but mostly due to the quality of the fights in the cage. Their increased visibility via teaming with stations like The Fight Network didn’t hurt.
OFF – CAIN VELASQUEZ
There is no other way to say it. Cain Velasquez was off his game in 2014. Sure, it’s not really his fault that he’s injured, but Cain hasn’t fought since UFC 166 (October 2013). And he had to pull out late of UFC 180, disappointing Mexico and Fabricio Werdum, who had to solace himself with being the interim champion. So, it is what it is. But we know Cain will be determined to grab them cakes in 2015.
The strawweight edition of TUF is important not just for the generally entertaining season, but this show will plant the seed for a generation of upcoming female fighters. I think the fighters realized that and though we saw some warts and a lopsided win for Team Pettis, the fights, training and personalities outweighed everything.
Robbie showed us at UFC 181 that perseverance is always a key ingredient to success at any stage of your career. Outperformed by Johny Hendricks at UFC 171, he came back to turn the tables on Bigg Rigg in the rematch. He became a world champion after fourteen years in the pros!
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Another dominant year for the UFC bantamweight champ.
When MMA Connected was cancelled (I still call it that), the writing was on the wall for TSN and Fight Network to swoop in. But Showdown Joe – who is a colleague – was the central Canadian figure for MMA reporting for a long time. He brought Canadian fighters like Jason MacDonald and Mark Hominick on board his team. Everyone knows he’s a classy individual. Although his future is unclear, we think he will continue to contribute to the Canadian MMA landscape.
T.J. Dillashaw punches Renan Barao. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
An outstanding performance against Renan Barao at UFC 173. Simply outstanding. What else can one say?
They said it couldn’t be done. But Anderson Silva returning to action at UFC 183 against Nick Diaz proved to be inspiring, particularly for his home country of Brazil, who was reeling from an historically embarrassing World Cup quarterfinal performance against Germany.
ON – LYOTO MACHIDA VS CHRIS WEIDMAN: UFC 175
When The Dragon went on the offensive late in the bout, it reminded us of a previous special moment in 2011: When Machdia made Jon Jones backpeddle for the first time in the first round of UFC 140. Machida’s valiant performance along with Weidman’s first genuine title defence (in our view) made for one of the greats of the year.
Take a quick perusal of some of the major Canadian newspapers and note how many MMA stories dot the sports section, other than Neil Davidson and the Canadian Press/Associated Press wire copy. Go online to their websites and do a quick search for UFC or MMA. Despite the documented financial success MMA has enjoyed in Canada in several markets, the Canadian mainstream media for the most part either ignored or scaled down reporting in 2014.
For Canadian MMA to continue to thrive, there needs to be more support from the major Canadian newspapers. And Canadian fans: you need to demand it, otherwise the status quot will continue. We have a lot of Canadians doing well in MMA and combat sports, and we hope Canadian newspapers will focus more resources on them in 2015.
Nicely done oma plata submission at UFN 49, Mr. Saunders.
The Wu-Tang Clan would be proud of this Killa B.
How is Taylor related to MMA? She isn’t really, but we can all learn a lesson or two at the way she treats her fans and includes them on her journey.
And that’s it! A happy and healthy 2015 to all.