Monday, January 05, 2009

The ten best fights of 2008

Originally posted on

Wrongful Conviction: Gina Carano vs. Kelly Kobold - EliteXC ‘Heat’
Gina Carano put herself on the map with a TKO destruction of Kaitlin Young at EliteXC ‘Primetime’ back in May. That performance had a lot of people paying attention to something they never had before: Women’s MMA. “Conviction” once again lived up to expectations and looked insanely hot during her three round clinic on the very game Kelly Kobold when she returned to television this past October. Make no mistake about it: This was a real test for Carano because the 16-2-1 Kobold was not a plant. She was a well-rounded mixed martial artist with an impressive resume. Carano rose to the challenge, showing both technique and style, and for the first time in history the expression “Fights like a girl” was used as a compliment.

Scrumbags: Chris Lytle vs. Paul Taylor - UFC 89.
I don’t think it’s an insult to say that Chris Lytle will never be the UFC welterweight champion. But by that same token, he’ll never be unemployed either. “Lights Out’ is either fearless or hard-up for cash, because his go-for-broke gameplan is the same for every fight. That includes his three round war with Paul Taylor at UFC 89, a battle good enough to earn ‘Fight of the Night’ honors and a place on my list of ten best. “Relentless” was just that, sticking it to Lytle at every turn, and the two hammered away at each other from one side of the Octagon to the other. With plenty of bombs and some very impressive dirty boxing, Lytle and Taylor shamed the main event between Chris Leben and Michael Bisping with a dizzying display of striking. Lytle’s next fight is against Marcus Davis at UFC 93, and no question we can expect him to pick up right where he left off.

Winner: Chris Lytle by unanimous decision. This was another close fight, but the judges gave it to Lytle. Despite a 2-3 record, Taylor brings his fight to each event and should be back sooner rather than later.

Cowboy Bebop: Donald Cerrone vs. Rob McCoullogh - WEC 36

The now 9-0 Donald Cerrone was on an absolute tear coming into his fight against “Razor” Rob, and both men were using the WEC 36 contest as a springboard into a title fight with lightweight champion Jamie Varner. “Cowboy” was electric right out of the gate, dropping the venerable McCullough twice in the opening stanza and once in the second before nearly finishing him with an armbar. Credit to Razor, who was not only able to weather the storm, but for also keeping it competitive through pure heart and determination, sweeping Cerrone on two occasions to stay alive. Cerrone took the contest in dominant fashion, but watching McCullough’s composure and never-say-die attitude was a testament to the kind of talent they have in the WEC. Anyone still think Donald Cerrone isn’t ready for a crack at Varner?

Winner: Cerrone by unanimous decision. Like most great fights, there are no losers here. I still don’t like that the UFC chose to eliminate weight classes in the WEC, but we can at least be grateful it wasn’t this one.

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