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21 Incredible Minimalist Movie Posters

Tag: best of 2009

Hindsight’s a Bitch: Things We Knew For Sure (Until We Didn’t) in 2009

At the beginning of every year there are always nuggets of conventional wisdom that seem absolutely unassailable in January and are laughable by December. This has always been the case, and not just in the world of MMA. For instance, in January of 1941 Pearl Harbor was a nice, calm, wonderfully exotic place for U.S. servicemen to be stationed. By December it was fodder for a horrible Michael Bay movie. Just goes to show that we never know as much as we think we do, though it doesn’t stop us from making definitive statements that will later seem totally ridiculous. Here now are some of the MMA truths that became lies in 2009…

Lyoto Machida is the most boring fighter in the UFC
Lyoto Machida Rashad Evans
At the start of 2009 Machida had finished just two of his last seven fights (one of them a TKO due to exhaustion), and had cemented his reputation as the fighter who was too "elusive" to be interesting. The UFC seemed intent on keeping him away from a title shot, but inked him for a showdown of undefeated Brazilians against Thiago Silva at UFC 94. That’s when "The Dragon" showed his fangs or claws or whatever it is that dragons have, and after knocking out Rashad Evans to claim the light heavyweight title in similarly ferocious fashion a few months later, we were forced to abandon our belief that Machida would forever be MMA’s version of Ambien. Too bad that our revised position didn’t fare much better…

Lyoto Machida is damn near unbeatable
Shogun Rua Lyoto Machida UFC 104
The “Machida Era” was supposed to be a reign as dominant and prolific as that of middleweight champ Anderson Silva, which left many of us scratching our heads when “Shogun” Rua got the nod as his first challenger. Rua was 2-1 in the UFC at that point and he hadn’t beaten anyone even near their prime since leaving Pride. Despite coming in as a heavy underdog, Rua gave Machida all he could handle for five rounds and seemed to be on his way to a decision victory before the judges decided to discount leg kicks altogether. Machida survived with the belt, but not with his aura of invincibility.

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The Potato Awards: Best and Worst of 2009

You didn’t think we were going to let another calendar year run out without paying homage to this year’s big winners and mocking the year’s biggest idiots, did you?  Naw son, that’s not our style.  2009 was an eventful year with plenty of ups and downs, but after casting our ballots and tallying up the votes (there’s only two of us, so it really shouldn’t have taken as long as it did, but there was a lot of yelling and a little crying) we have some awards to give out.  The envelopes please…

Fighter of the Year: Fedor Emelianenko

The year was not without disappointments for the sweatered one.  He missed a chance to fight Josh Barnett and walked away from another chance to sign on with the UFC.  All the same, he reinforced his status as one of MMA’s most dominant fighters with knockouts of Andrei Arlovski and Brett Rogers.  Meanwhile, Anderson Silva had one snoozer and one great fight out of his weight class, while GSP beat a lightweight and won a decision to retain his title.  Sorry boys, Fedor’s 2009 was way more fun.

Beatdown of the Year: Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin

"The Spider" didn’t just beat FoGriff, he straight-up violated him.  It’s one thing to do that against a woefully outmatched challenger in your own weight class, but quite another to do it to a former champ from the division above yours.  Never have we seen such a clear demonstration of the vast chasm between good and great as we did on that night.  You can hardly blame Griffin for running out of the Octagon after that.  We’re sort of amazed that he waited until the fight was over to do it.

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The 25 Greatest MMA Knockouts of 2009

Michael Bisping UFC 100 knockoutAndrei Arlovski Fedor knockoutForrest Griffin knockout UFC 101Cub Swanson WEC knockout Jose Aldo
(Bisping, Arlovski, Griffin, and Swanson: Four of the year’s most unfortunate victims.)

#25: Vitor Belfort sends Matt Lindland into convulsions at Affliction: Day of Reckoning (1/24/09).

#24. Gegard Mousasi makes his presence known in America by pounding Renato Sobral flat at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg (8/15/09).

#23: Matt Hamill unleashes his inner Cro Cop against Mark Munoz at UFC 96 (3/7/09).

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The 10 Best Submissions of 2009

10. Tom Lawlor sings CB Dollaway a lullaby

(UFC 100, 7/11/09)

Tom Lawlor was a 2-1 underdog in his bout with C.B. Dollaway at UFC 100. Conventional wisdom said that he’d be an entertaining guy to have on the card prior to the opening horn, but wouldn’t stand much of a chance against Dollaway’s dominant wrestling and smirking self-assurance. The entertaining part turned out to be true. Lawlor painted himself in homage to the infamous Just Bleed Guy for the weigh-in, and then used man-dog Seth Petruzelli as a prop in his entrance. That’s where the fun was supposed to stop, but just seconds into the first round he locked up an arm-in guillotine choke off a Dollaway takedown attempt and held on to it until his opponent’s lip uncurled and his eyes rolled back in his head. Maybe it wasn’t the most technically brilliant move, but he did choke C.B. Dollaway unconscious, which meant we didn’t have to listen to him talk for a little while. That ought to be worth something.

9. Jake Rosholt ruins Chris Leben’s hometown party

(UFC 102, 8/29/09)

UFC 102 in Portland, Oregon was supposed to be Chris Leben’s homecoming. Coming off a long steroid suspension following his loss against Michael Bisping, he drew the relatively inexperienced Jake Rosholt in his return. But early on in the fight it became apparent that Leben came to throw wild, looping bombs, while Rosholt came to fight a mixed martial arts bout. After trading on the feet for a little while Rosholt finally got smart and put Leben on his back long enough to lock up an arm-triangle choke. Leben considered tapping, but didn’t get around to it before his brain called it quits. Somehow, Rosholt got cut after losing his next bout, while Leben still has a job with the UFC. This crazy world.

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The 9 Most Embarrassing MMA Moments of 2009

MMA had more than its share of unforgettable moments this year — though many of them were unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. With 2009 drawing to a close, we’ve collected and ranked the year’s lowlights. Now let’s never speak of these things ever again…

#9: The "Hello Japan!" incident at DREAM.7 (3/8/09)

Fighting in the Saitama Super Arena must be an incredible experience. There you are, surrounded by 20,000 eerily quiet Japanese people who all seem to appreciate the intricacies of the sport. During his match against submission wizard Shinya Aoki at DREAM.7, American journeyman David Gardner tried to honor the occasion by waving to the crowd and saying "Hello Japan!" The problem was, Aoki had his back at the time, and as soon as Gardner’s hand went up, Aoki whipped his arm under Gardner’s neck and sunk in a rear-naked choke. "Oh my God it is so dumb," Bas Rutten lamented in the broadcast booth. Dumb is an understatement. Even "Wouldn’t Get Up From Butt Scoot" is a more respectable way to lose a fight. Way to represent the Red, White & Blue, Dave.

#8: Chuck Liddell dances with the stars (9/21/09-10/13/09)

When Dana White temporarily retired Chuck Liddell following his knockout loss to Mauricio Rua at UFC 97, few could have guessed that the Iceman’s next move would be an appearance on a dance-competition show that no red-blooded MMA fan in their right mind would ever watch. Liddell joined the ninth season of Dancing With the Stars with no formal dance training to speak of, and despite his best efforts he didn’t fool any of the judges, who called him everything from "graceless" to "gentle neanderthal." After four weeks of low scores and fruity costumes, Liddell was sent packing. On the bright side, Chuck expanded his fanbase on network television, outlasted fellow competitor Tom DeLay, and probably wound up banging his redheaded dance partner. Still, Tito Ortiz’s stint on Celebrity Apprentice now seems like the most badass thing in the world by comparison.

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The 14 Greatest MMA Photos of 2009

Let’s just hope nothing amazing happens in the next two weeks. Major props to AllElbows, Sherdog, and The Las Vegas Sun.

#14. Frank Shamrock and Nick Diaz display their vastly different personal styles at a Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz press conference.
Frank Shamrock Nick Diaz middle finger Strikeforce

#13: The final resting place of BJJ godfather Helio Gracie.
Helio Gracie coffin BJJ black belt

#12: "Stop trying to hit me and hit me!" Anderson Silva stays juuuuust out of reach against Forrest Griffin at UFC 101.
Forrest Griffin Anderson Silva UFC 101

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