Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Top 30 Fights of 2008 Countdown 12/13 - #18 (Lytle vs. Taylor)

Originally posted on

Top 30 Fights of 2008: #18
Chris "Lights Out" Lytle vs. Paul "Relentless" Taylor
UFC 86: Jackson vs. Griffin – 10/18/2008

Hey, kiddo, you like to punch? I certainly like to punch. That's why I loved this fight. I got about a year's worth of sluggin' in after just fifteen short minutes of fighting. Hooks, jabs, crosses, uppercuts, combinations, hammer fists, dirty boxing, overhands, underhands, you name it, we got it.

As soon as this fight began, you just knew it was going to be a shot for shot twenty five course meal of knuckle sandwiches. It was one of those match ups where the competitors fought like they would in sparring, relentlessly bombarding one another with crazy combinations completely absent of any fear of injury. Only this time there was no gear, and the injury was hanging over their heads the entire time.

The amount of reckless abandon displayed by Lytle and Taylor was a thing of magic. Being a martial artist myself, I've had my fair share of gritty punch for punch meat mallet matches where me and my partner for the love of the art will just try to kill each other. Usually at the end of these sparring sessions, to quote Rocky Balboa, "you're just one big wound."

Needless to say, I can't even begin to fathom what fighting at the level of intensity void of any protective gear would feel like. The chasm of the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham literally echoed with the sounds of meat and bone colliding, crushing one another more and more with each shot.

As soon as the fight ended, it had already become a cult favorite. It will forever be the indie film of MMA, generating an underground appreciation and quietly reverberating it's timelessness. It was one of those fights where there wasn't a decision, just an opinion. Both men gave every ounce of heart and soul that they had, and upon the final bell, dropped their hands and hugged. This was easily the greatest display of sportsmanship in MMA this year.

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