UFC 150: Cerrone vs Guillard and the 5 Best One-Round Fights of 2012
Short, but sweet! It isn't an adjective commonly used to describe Fight of the Night candidates. In fact, the fights that are considered to be the best of the sport are typically lengthy affairs.
Griffin/Bonnar, Liddell/Silva and Shogun/Henderson all made their way to the scorecards, as did several other fights that immediately come to mind when thinking about outstanding MMA. However, that doesn't mean that quick bouts can't be thrilling engagements.
Here is a look at the five best one-round fights of 2012.
Dan Hardy vs Duane Ludwig
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UFC 146 was Dan Hardy's opportunity to show Joe Silva that he was worthy of a roster spot, despite losing his last four fights. Meeting Duane "Bang" Ludwig, fans knew that an entertaining slugfest was on its way, and the brawlers did not fail to meet our expectations.
In the early going, Hardy looked to be in trouble as an early flurry from Ludwig wobbled the Brit. Entering the clinch didn't seem to make things easier for him, as Bang would unload on some strong knees that found their mark.
With some even exchanges along the way, Hardy kept things competitive. Late in the first round, "The Outlaw" scored his signature left hook that sent Ludwig crashing to the canvas. Hardy believed his opponent to be unconscious and began to celebrate slightly prematurely.
When Ludwig attempted to get to his feet, Hardy responded quickly by diving into side control to land four vicious elbows that bounced a sleeping Bang off of the canvas. The official stoppage came three minutes and 51 seconds into the very first round.
The stoppage would earn Hardy his first win in over two years, and also earn him a KO of the Night bonus on a night that featured some nasty stoppages.
Pat Barry vs Christian Morecraft
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The ground game of Pat Barry has long been considered to be his Achilles heel. Submission losses to Mirko Cro Cop, Tim Hague and Stefan Struve have marred an otherwise highlight-filled career. So when enormous heavyweight Christian Morecraft mounted the kickboxer, the writing appeared to be on the wall.
Able to escape a choke attempt, and later an armbar, Barry looked like a brand new fighter. Who would have guessed that his submission defense would improve so much in only a few short months?
On his feet, Barry would light Morecraft up with stinging low kicks and jabs that would snap his head straight back. Although mostly blocked, "HD" caused some damage with a head kick before scoring a counter left hook that sent his opponent crashing into the canvas.
Not wasting an opportunity to finish, the DeathClutch fighter dove in and scored two crushing right hands to seal the deal. Herb Dean called the fight at 3:38 into the first round.
This bout won Fight of the Night at UFC on FX: Guillard vs Miller on January 20.
Ivan Menjivar vs John Albert
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Successful in his post-TUF debut, John Albert met longtime veteran Ivan Menjivar on the main card of the inaugural UFC on Fuel event. Displaying the best elements of mixed martial arts, fans were treated to an exhibition of submissions, ground and pound and brilliant striking.
Menjivar tripped Albert to the floor, but Albert wasn't willing to concede that the bottom position can't be dominant, as he threatened with two triangle chokes, an armbar and an omoplata.
During the exchange, Menjivar was able to land five or six hammerfists. After removing himself from an armbar, both men looked for a leglock to finish the fight as Menjivar attempted to secure a standing ankle lock while Albert fished for a heel hook.
Once the bout returned to the feet, Albert rocked Menjivar with a head kick and then swarmed with vicious punches and knees that would have undoubtedly finished a lesser man.
Menjivar survived the onslaught on the ground and was somehow able to wind up in top position. After feeling the wrath of his opponents' ground and pound, Albert rolled to his stomach and was caught in a rear-naked choke.
Sherdog.com identified the performance as an early contender for Round of the Year and it also picked up Submission of the Night honors.
Alan Belcher vs Rousimar Palhares
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Similar to Ronda Rousey and her armbars of destruction, Rousimar Palhares is known for his deadly leglocks. With the ability to finish a fight only moments after snatching a lower appendage, booking fights for the Brazilian has proved troublesome.
Alan Belcher was willing to accept a contest with "Toquinho", and he shocked many, including Dana White, by escaping a deep kneebar attempt.
I told him in there tonight, I knew for fact as soon as that fight went to the ground that fight was over; meaning the other way. I thought that he was gonna get submitted, especially when he was in that kneebar deep.
And not only did he get out of it and pull out, then when he stayed in his guard I'm like, 'What is he doing? Why is he staying in his guard? He should stand up!'
The Talent didn't need to stand up, as he was able to rock Palhares with big punches and elbows from guard a la Tito Ortiz. The stoppage came at 4:18 into the first round of their UFC on Fox 3 contest.
Because of the known dangers of fighting Palhares, this fight kept fans on the edge of their seats and sent Belcher's stock through the roof.
Donald Cerrone vs Melvin Guillard
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When Melvin Guillard hits you, it is a safe bet that you are going to feel it. At UFC 150, he nearly shocked 3-1 favorite Donald Cerrone after landing a counter-left within the contest's first 30 seconds.
Cowboy was clearly hurt by the punch, and he was able to survive by partially deflecting a knee strike and some followup punches.
Many were surprised that Cerrone would look past Guillard leading up to the bout, as Cowboy appeared to be more concerned on a future matchup with Anthony Pettis than his engagement with The Young Assassin.
After recovering, Cerrone surprised his opponent with a head kick that landed with full force. Guillard was on wobbly legs and Cowboy wasted no time rushing in for the kill. A vicious right hand was all it took to seal the deal and send Guillard crashing into the canvas in a heap of unconsciousness.
The 76 second affair would take home both Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night honors, even though there was heavy competition for both awards on the card.
Andrew Saunders is a syndicated writer and featured columnist with Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter because he wants you to.