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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.

MMA Crossfire

Here they are:


UFC 179
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 25: Chad Mendes of the United States punches Jose Aldo of Brazil in their featherweight championship bout during the UFC 179 event at Maracanazinho on October 25, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

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.


Courtesy 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.


Cain Velasquez
Cain Velasquez in a file photo. Glenn Dextras for

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.

ON – TUF 20

TUF 20
Carla Esparza (top) punches Rose Namajunas in their strawweight championship fight during The Ultimate Fighter Finale event inside the Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort on December 12, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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.


UFC 181
Robbie Lawler reacts to his UFC 181 win. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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!


Invicta FC X
The ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat. CREDIT: Esther Lin/Invicta FC

A picture is worth a thousand words.


Ronda Rousey
UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey interacts with media. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Another dominant year for the UFC bantamweight champ.


Joe Ferraro
Showdown Joe interviews Daniel Cormier in a file photo. Credit: Joe Ferraro/Sportsnet.

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.


UFC 173

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?


UFC 183
Anderson Silva interacts with media in this file photo. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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.


UFC 175
UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman exchanges punches with Lyoto Machida at UFC 175. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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.


Mark Bocek
Canadian lightweight Mark Bocek. Josh Hedges/UFC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

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.

ON – Ben Saunders

Ben Saunders submits Chris Heatherly in a file photo. Submission of 2014? Josh Hedges/UFC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.
Ben Saunders submits Chris Heatherly in a file photo. Submission of 2014? Josh Hedges/UFC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.

Nicely done oma plata submission at UFN 49, Mr. Saunders.

The Wu-Tang Clan would be proud of this Killa B.

ON – Taylor Swift

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.

[email protected]

[email protected]

Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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