2015 was a great bounce-back year for the UFC, both in revenues and in matchups. The injury big was still prevalent, but it couldn’t stop several big-name fights that came through to rescue the company from the memories of 2014.
Let’s take a look at my Top-5.
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CASSIE WISEMAN’S TOP-5
Not often are heavyweights entertaining, but these guys made their match memorable. They both went in to knock the other out, and that what they both kind of did. Arlovski rocked Browne against the cage, he was only standing because he was against the cage. He then swung and knocked Arlovski to the mat, rocked him. These guys put it all out there, and showed that they were willing to put it on the line, rather than bore everyone to death. They took risks and it paid off, making a heavyweight fight stand out in an outstanding year of fights.
Weidman is the man who, like Holly Holm, had a huge upset win when he won the title against Anderson Silva. Since then he charged through the division, setting himself apart. His most recent fight previous to Rockhold was against Vitor Belfort, where we saw him manhandle the UFC Hall of Famer. Rockhold, from a camp of champs, mentioned that he wasn’t impressed with Weidman. Stating that beating up older fighters in the game isn’t the same as going head-to-head with him. We’ve all heard people say that same statement before, but Rockhold showed his well-rounded skills, power, and cardio were the key to the upset. Never slowing his pace, he dismantled Weidman and put a stamp on his place in the division.
When you talk about dominance in a division, and a blend of heart shown in a fight, that’s what this fight possessed. Joanna’s striking is amongst the best in the UFC, but in this match we saw speed and the combinations that set her apart. With that said, Penne just wouldn’t quit. Her nose was falling off her face, but she was still game to go. Never a quit in her face, just the desire to win. The skills of Joanna and the heart of Penne made this a memorable match.
The biggest upset of the year, possibly tied for upset in UFC history with that of Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman. Rousey was on a killing spree, domintinating the entire division. Given the title of the most dominate female athlete, creating an opening for all women to have an opportunity to enter the UFC. Very few saw a fighter with only three UFC fights destroying Rousey. However, the 19-time boxing champion made the match look easy. Her long fighting stance and ability to force Rousey to only use her striking, showed an area of weakness. Something that had not been seen prior to this match. A remarkable game plan, an incredible execution of the plan, and a calm demeanour through it all. Holm put on the perfect display of a champion taking on a champion.
This match gets the top of the chart simply because of the fact that it had everything – skill, heart, the will to win. That moment in the 4th round, when both guys just looked at each other, exhausted, but realizing that neighter was going to quit. Everyone likes those fights where people are tested, that’w when we see the true character of someone. That’s what we saw in this match. It’s this kind of fight that made us fall in love with the sport, so that’s why it’s at the top for 2015.