Dynamite Dozen: 12 Great Fights

The historic UFC 129 event at Toronto’s Rogers Centre is a little over a week away, and as April 30th approaches, there’s no better time than now to look back at 12 memorable bouts from participants on the card.
June 7, 2009 - Jose Aldo TKO1 Cub Swanson - watch it FREE!
In mixed martial arts there are finishes, and then there is Jose Aldo’s finish of Cub Swanson in their WEC 41 bout. Expected to give Aldo a stern test, Swanson instead ate a double flying knee (not both knees at the same time, but one delivered right after the other as Aldo was airborne), and he dropped like he was shot. The end came at eight seconds, and when Swanson showed his face, shot wasn’t the first thing that came to mind  - it was more like he caught a hatchet to the head and not just two rapid fire knees from a future member of the pound for pound list.

August 25, 2007 – Randy Couture TKO3 Gabriel Gonzaga
- watch it FREE!
Sure, Tim Sylvia was big and could punch hard, but he didn’t have the ground game of Jiu-Jitsu ace Gabriel Gonzaga, and ‘Napao’s power was no joke either, as he was coming off a frightening head kick knockout of Mirko Cro Cop.  So this was going to be the man to end Randy Couture’s storybook run at the top of the heavyweight division, right?  Wrong.  Couture turned back the clock again, fighting even more impressively than he did in his comeback fight against Sylvia as he broke Gonzaga’s nose and controlled the bout until the end came in the third round.  He also did it with an arm broken by one of Gonzaga’s deadly kicks.  

October 10, 2009 – Ben Henderson W5 Donald Cerrone - watch it FREE!
In this clash for the interim WEC lightweight title, young guns Ben Henderson and Donald Cerrone ran the entire gamut of mixed martial arts brilliance, going back and forth for 25 minutes and barely taking a break for some air. Henderson in particular put himself through the ringer, battling out of countless submission attempts to earn a five round unanimous decision win in a fight that wasn’t just the WEC’s best of 2009, but perhaps the best in the organization’s history.

December 11, 2010 – Mark Bocek Wsub1 Dustin Hazelett - watch FREE Submission of the Week
A lot of times, if you match up two Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, a kickboxing match breaks out. Not this time, and Mark Bocek made sure that his UFC 124 bout with Dustin Hazelett went to the ground almost immediately. In pre-fight interviews, Hazelett said he was just fine with that prospect, but Bocek sapped the joy out from the Kentucky native quickly, finishing the bout via triangle choke just past the midway point of the first round, and establishing Bocek as one of the game’s top groundfighters.

March 4, 2006 - Georges St-Pierre W3 BJ Penn
- order the DVD
The big question about future welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre entering his UFC 58 fight with former 170-pound boss BJ Penn was how he would react if he had to face adversity.  The first time it happened against Matt Hughes, St. Pierre folded.  Against Penn, after a first round that saw him bloodied and battered, the Canadian bit down on his mouthpiece and went to war, winning the next two rounds to eke out a close decision and earn a rematch with Hughes.  It was stirring stuff from GSP in a bout that was tense from start to finish as two of the best 170 pounders in the world matched wits for 15 minutes.

June 20, 2010 – Mark Hominick TKO2 Yves Jabouin
The All-Canada battle between Mark Hominick and Yves Jabouin had been talked about for years, and when it was finally signed for WEC 49 in Edmonton, there was a fear that it couldn’t possibly live up to expectations after all the time that had passed. Luckily, those fears weren’t realized, and “The Machine” and the “Tiger” went to war for eight minutes and 21 seconds until Hominick finally emerged from the back-and-forth slugfest with a second round TKO victory.

January 31, 2009 – Lyoto Machida KO 1 Thiago Silva - order the DVD
Despite five straight UFC wins without a loss, Lyoto Machida still took heat from fans for only finishing off Rameau Sokoudjou and not being Wanderlei Silva in the Octagon. Machida stuck to his guns though, having the uncanny ability to make opponents fight his fight. And if they engaged or got overaggressive, he would make them pay. Fellow unbeaten countryman Thiago Silva did both, and Machida sent him packing with a crushing first round knockout. It was Machida’s biggest UFC win to date, and one that got him an ultimately successful shot at the light heavyweight title owned by Rashad Evans.

April 2, 2008 – Nate Diaz Wsub2 Kurt Pellegrino - watch on UFC.TV
This fight is here for a number of reasons. First is Kurt Pellegrino’s outstanding groundwork and control of much of the first round. This was one of the New Jersey native’s best performances, despite the loss. Second is the ground fighting of both men, which showed that you don’t need to have a standup war to be involved in an exciting fight. And while the action was fast-paced, the technique, both offensively and defensively, was solid. Finally, Nate Diaz showed that he can not only keep his cool and come back from adversity, but that he can do it in highlight reel fashion with a triangle choke that prompted him to thrust his fists in the air as if to say ‘I got it’ and then flex before the tap came. Great stuff, and it was also the day Diaz graduated from prospect to contender.

June 12, 2010 – Carlos Condit TKO3 Rory MacDonald - watch on UFC.TV
Going into their UFC 115 match, fight fans wondered whether 20-year old wunderkind Rory MacDonald had the experience to hang with former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit. Well, that answer came early and often against ‘The Natural Born Killer’, as MacDonald took the first two rounds of the bout thanks to a dynamic attack that kept the aggressive Condit off-balance. But in the third, Condit’s experience paid off as he got MacDonald to the mat and grounded and pounded his way to victory with seven seconds left. In the end, Condit got the victory, MacDonald got respect, and the fans got a fight to remember

December 11, 2010 – Sean Pierson W3 Matt Riddle - order the DVD
Sean Pierson had waited over ten years for his call to the UFC Octagon, and at UFC 124, in front of his home country fans in Canada, he made the most of it with a three round win over Matt Riddle that was fought at a blistering pace for 15 minutes. In earning the win, Pierson was just one step ahead all night, but to his credit, Riddle kept rushing his opponent, looking to turn the tide by any means necessary. This was one fighter who didn’t go down without a fight.

September 16, 2009 – Carlos Condit W3 Jake Ellenberger
Simply put, some referees wouldn’t have even let Carlos Condit get out of the first round with Jake Ellenberger, given how many times he rocked and then dropped the former WEC welterweight title holder. But Condit was a champion for a reason, and he reminded Ellenberger of that as he rebounded from his horrific start to come back and take a three round split decision win. And while the result may have had fans engaging in heated debate, they all could agree that they had just seen an action-packed, memorable fight.

December 12, 2007 – Charlie Valencia Wsub1 Ian McCall
In the great scheme of things, this was just another fight. No titles on the line, no hot prospects looking to go to the next level. It was just two bantamweights doing their thing when veteran Charlie Valencia delivered a 30 second sequence that I still consider one of the best ever in the sport. First, Valencia knocked McCall down with a vicious right to the jaw. McCall gamely rose, only to get locked up by Valencia, who proceeded to suplex his opponent to the mat behind his head. McCall, dazed, rose again, but this time Valencia locked in a guillotine choke that forced a tap out at 3:19 of the first round. Striking, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu - all in a neat little package that could serve as an advertisement for the beauty of this sport.

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