The Knockout: Probably the most exciting thing to happen in a fight is for someone to get knocked the F**K out. Obviously knockouts happen in other sports, such as boxing, but what makes MMA knockouts so exciting is the variety of different KO's. From Gonzaga knocking out Cro Cop with a head kick, to Wanderlei Silva destroying Rampage with knees, to Fedor coming from behind to knock Rogers unconscious. Nothing gets the crowd more excited than a knockout and its usually discussed for days after. Sometimes the ground game is sacrificed in favour of a stand up battle due to crowds getting on the backs of fighters who take it to the ground. But can you blame them for wanting to see a Bispingesque KO?
The Upset: One of the greatest things about any sport is that you can never underestimate the underdog. MMA is no different. Upsets keep fighters on their toes. They know if they take a fighter lightly they could end up suffering a humiliating defeat. Just ask GSP. Matt Serra's upset over Georges St. Pierre sent shockwaves through the MMA universe. Serra had only earned a title shot by winning a T.V show, but about three minutes into the fight Serra was crowned the new UFC welterweight champion. Afterwards GSP got grief from the media and fans until he avenged that loss at UFC 83. Other upsets include Gonzaga beating Cro Cop, Couture beating Liddell and Pulver beating B.J Penn.
Jiu-Jitsu: If you like the ground game, then you probably like jiu-jitsu. Its a very skilled and very techinacal form of martial art. When you get two BJJ black belts in the octagon together, and it hits the ground the fight will become a chess match, to see who makes the first mistake. Most submissions come from jiu-jitsu, with a great amount of successful fighters having their base in jiu-jitsu. While most fans look to see a knockout in an MMA match, there is nothing better, in my opinion, than a well executed triangle-choke, armbar or gogoplata. Some of the best submission wins include B.J Penn's rear-naked choking of Joe Stevenson, Fedor's kimura sumbission of Randleman after being dropped on his head, and Antonio 'Minotauro' Nogueria's armbar on Mirko Cro Cop.
The Fedor Debate: Whether you're pro-Fedor or anti-Fedor, everyone has an opinion on the controversial Russian. Is he a hero for doing what so many other fighters fail to do and turn down Dana White and the UFC, or is he a coward for not joining the best and most popular MMA organisation in the world. All I can say is that he is great fighter, the best in the heavyweight division (although I would personally place him third behind Anderson Silva and GSP on pound-for-pound rankings) but I really hope, in the not too distant future that he finally joins the UFC.
The Ultimate Fighter: The show that brought MMA into the mainstream(although its not all the way there yet). It brought a whole new audience to the UFC and turned it into a million dollar company. It also had the added bonus of producing some of the best fighters in the sport today such as Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and Diego Sanchez. Although the talent level seems to have dropped in recent series, its popularity is as high as ever with the current series enjoying high ratings (at least until Kimbo Slice got beaten). Although some people have called for the show to be axed, I see no reason for the show to disappear so long as there is still a handful of quality fighters still coming through the show.
Randy Couture: The fighter that has provided me with more memorable moments than any other fighter in Mixed Martial Arts. The guy is 46 years old and still going strong, beating fighters half his age. From Couture upsetting Liddell, to him beating the Phenom, to giving Tito a spanking, there is no other fighter like The Natural and there never will be. Probably his most memorable moment from Randy was when he came out of retirement to destroy Tim Sylvia at 43 years of age. I think Joe Rogan summed it up best when he said "That guy is my hero." Here's hoping for one more memorable moment from Captain America by going on to capture the light heavyweight title. If he gets a title shot, I know I wont be betting against him.
Former WWE Stars Becoming MMA Stars: From being a kid who loved "fake wrestling", I really enjoy former WWE stars transitioning into MMA (although wrestling has gone down the toilet these days). A lot of people give them stick for their prior employment. That just makes it even better when they come in and do well where, supposedly, their not welcome. Fighters like Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley are great athletes and have already proved that they deserve to be accepted into the MMA community. Because he's going about becoming a Mixed Martial Artist the right way, Im particularly looking forward to seeing what Bobby Lashley can do. Hopefully one day he could become the UFC heavyweight champion, hopefully by beating Lesnar.
New Challengers To The UFC: It's widely known that the UFC is the premier organisation in the world of MMA. They have the majority of the best fighters, they have the best production, they have the most events and they bring MMA to new places that may never have had a UFC event before. But the UFC has always had competition. It used to be Pride, some even saying Pride was better than the UFC, but they got bought by the UFC. Next it was Afflicition but they went under because of Josh Barnett and his attempt to gain an advatage over Fedor. Now its Strikeforce with its acquisition of Fedor Emelianenko. Although Dana White doesn't want to see anyone try and compete with him and the UFC, a healthy competition motivates the UFC to put better shows and to constantly look out for top talent before Strikeforce is able to aquire them. Also the probability is, based on past events, that the UFC will eventually come out on top and will hopefully be able to aquire all of its top talent, including Fedor.
MMA Coming To Ireland: MMA is my favourite sport besides football/soccer. I love the fact that it is being embraced by so many of my countrymen. The UFC has already held two events in Ireland, UFC 72 in Belfast and UFC 93 in Dublin, and I hope that they can come again in 2010 and many more times after that. Who knows? Maybe Strikeforce may wish to expand outside of America and decide to put on a show in Ireland with Fedor headlining. That would be a dream come true. The number of MMA fighters is also growing in Ireland. I think its only a matter of time before an Irish fighter makes an impact in the MMA world.
Rich Franklin (A.K.A. Your Favourite Fighter): Everyone has a favourite fighter that they instantly liked from the first moment they saw them fight and destroy whomever they were fighting. Mine was Rich Franklin, and from the first time I saw him fight I instantly became a fan of his and still am to this day. The first fight I saw him in was when he beat Ken Shamrock (at the time I was fairly new to the UFC and seeing Rich destroy someone I saw in the WWF and heard was a fairly good fighter, I,ve since realised he's not that good, made me an instant fan). Im not saying that Rich is the greatest fighter ever, but I still love watching him fight. We all have that fighter that we will defend to the death no matter how many times he loses or how overated he might be. Im personally hoping that he can go on one more title run and win that light heavyweight belt. COME ON ACE.