Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Pav Says...

The Pav says… 2006 is behind us so I thought it would be appropriate to give out MMAagents awards for accomplishments throughout the year. So without further ado and fanfare, here they are…

Ring Entrance of the Year

The line starts and ends with Mayhem Miller. His ring entrances are often better than the rest of the card. Who needs a warmup when you get a five-minute dance into the ring?

Honorable mention to Razor for always having a matching and organized corner; Steve Byrnes, because, after all, who can’t help but cheer for a Marine that comes out in fatigues and the American flag; and Matt Wiman, for the arrogance he brought into the ring against Spencer Fisher despite long odds.

TKO of the Year

This was a close call, but we have to give it to Wes Sims for his victory in October against Kimo in Hawaii’s X-1. After turning on the blood faucet just seconds into the contest with a right, it appeared the fight was over when the doctor was looking at Kimo in the corner. Wes actually took off his gloves only to realize the fight was still on. After getting taken down and in danger of letting the victory slip away, Wes hit Kimo again in the face, and this time the blood rush was too great and the fight was stopped.

Honorable mention to Razor Rob for opening up a game Ryan Healy, who stood and banged with McCullough to his credit; Ricco Rodriguez for avenging his loss to Ron Waterman and boxing H2O so many times in the face during round one that it was over on the stool; and Ivan Salaverry for his textbook performance and perfectly executed game plan against Art Santore.

Comeback of the Year

Three years is a considerable layoff, even if you are pro wrestling in Japan, working as a stuntman and being Tito Ortiz’s primary training partner. Once back in the ring, Justin McCully did not miss a beat. He disposed of Derek Thornton in a little over two minutes at X-1 and three weeks later beat down Warpath in a little over three minutes at Valor Fighting. Neither fight was ever in doubt. Look for more from the “Insane One” in 2007.

Honorable mention to Chris Lyte for making it to the TUF finals before getting robbed of a decision in “The Comeback” season finale; UFC vet Zack Light for coming back better than ever after a four-year layoff, with an improved physique and conditioning; and Justin Levens for fighting back from a string of tough losses to win two fights in convincing fashion.

Sub of the Year

Mike Pyle’s triangle submission of Shonie Carter for the WEC belt takes the prize. Carter has only been subbed four times in 57 fights and Pyle pulled it off in two minutes of the first round.

Honorable mention to Marin Kampmann’s weathering the storm against Crafton Wallace, beating him on his feet, then taking him down and ending it quickly; Pyle for his 17 second guillotine against John Cole, and Mayhem for a huge sub of Robbie Lawler.

KO of the Year

Quite simply, Razor’s knockout over Olaf Alfonso is one of the best KO’s in MMA history. Olaf is known to have a good chin, but the Razor combo that sent Alfonso’s mouthpiece into orbit and put him to sleep was a thing of beauty.

Honorable mention to undefeated heavyweight Jake O’Brien ending Jay White’s career with a short left hook for a 14-second knockout in the WEC; Niko Vitale for his soccer-kick KO of Tim Williams; and Justin Levens’ big knockout over Justin Hawes.

Prospect of the Year

Heck, he is on the north side of 30, but at 170 look for huge things from Mike Pyle on Showtime. Now that he is back to his natural weight, he will be unstoppable.

Honorable mention to Martin Kampmann, who showed unbelievable potential in 2006 with three big wins; Anthony Torres, who remained undefeated and won his UFC debut, and Steve Byrnes, who made his UFC debut in December.

Fight of the Year

The Karo Parisyan fight with Diego Sanchez was probably the UFC fight of the year and could have gone either way. Karo actually spit his tooth out in the first round, and flipped Diego feet over head a number of times. This was stuff that legends are made of.

Honorable mention to Hector Ramirez for his fight with James Irvin that won UFC fight of the night; Karo’s fight with Drew Fickett, which also won UFC fight of the night; and Martin Kampmann handing Thales Leites his first defeat in 10 fights despite being knocked down in the first round.

Warrior Spirit of the Year

The award goes to Vince Lucero for his willingness to fight any opponent on any notice for virtually any purse, just for the opportunity to compete. Despite being little more than a wrestling coach during a two-year retirement, he stood toe to toe and traded with Eric Pele for three rounds in his comeback fight. He thought it would make for a more entertaining fight. Oh yeah, he took the fight on two weeks notice.

Honorable mention to Alex Stiebling for always answering the call; Zack Light for never saying no to an opponent or weight class; and Ricco Rodriguez for losing 80lbs to get back into fighting shape.

Fighter of the Year

It is hard to pass on Jake O’Brien, who went 6-0 at heavyweight with five finishes, but Razor Rob edges him out with a 4-0 record and three knockouts. Those victories include McCullough avenging his only loss in his last 12 fights with a unanimous decision victory over Harris Sarmiento.

Honorable mention to Jake, who went 2-0 in the UFC during the year; Mayhem for his dominant performances in Hawaii and the WFA; Chris Lytle for making the TUF finals; and Karo Parisyan for an entertaining year, despite fighting injuries throughout.

Best of luck to the boys in 2007, here is hoping that it will be as equally memorable as 2006.

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