When we reflect on the fights we've seen in 2010, it's evident that there has been a reckoning in MMA.
MMA fans have their favorite fighters, and then they have their idols.
Fanboys united in support of these proclaimed deities of fighting, and after exalting them to Herculean statuses, fans ironically learned of such "theandric" fighters' mortality.
These are a few of the unexpected events that have happened in MMA in 2010.
Even some situations, rather than the fights themselves, were unexpected. Take Paul Daley going from having the chance at a welterweight title shot, to being booted from the UFC altogether in the same night.
Then Kimbo Slice, the internet sensation, was yet again disproved, this time by Matt "Meathead" Mitrione, and consequently booted from the UFC.
Todd Duffee, the record KO time holder for the UFC, fought the underdog Mike Russow. After beating Russow senseless for three rounds, Duffee was abruptly knocked out by Russow's jab to lose the bout.
Cain Velasquez not only stood with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, he knocked Nogueira out in the first round, something that hadn't been achieved before.
Take Lyoto Machida—A great strategist, nobody before Mauricio "Shogun" Rua could figure out Machida's riddle.
Before their first fight, internet polls showed that Machida would easily handle Shogun, though what ended up being a back-and-forth point-scoring match was a huge upset, as clearly Shogun bested Machida in the exchanges.
Then, the Machida fans kicked into gear before Machida's second match with Shogun. Reasons why it was "certain" he would dominate Shogun this time around ranged from his conditioning to his strategy.
But, not only did Machida lose, he was knocked out in the first round.
He consequently lost the light heavyweight championship belt, and even Machida's biggest critics and haters never thought he would be put to sleep merely a few minutes into the fight.
Then came Fedor Emelianenko's fight against Fabricio Werdum. Werdum, a huge underdog going into the fight, was expected to be readily disabled and practically dismembered by "The Last Emperor."
Fedor fanboys spit-shined their Emelianenko altars before blasting internet forums, and even Fedor haters expected him to win quickly and decisively, though they maintained he would continue to dodge top tier fighters and Alistair Overeem like the plague.
But, what happened shocked the entire world of MMA. Not only did Fedor lose, he was submitted, losing a minute into round 1.
Emelianenko stated that all along he has been human and, aside from wanting a rematch with Werdum, he has gone back to being the quiet, humble Fedor that we all know.
Then came Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin. Lesnar had his entourage as did Carwin, but it's safe to say that few expected their fight to end as it did.
Before Carwin, nobody has ever man-handled Lesnar. He has been a force in MMA that few thought would ever be truly challenged, and he's given some severe beatdowns .
Carwin, on the other hand, was viewed to be the proverbial unstoppable force, and there was more than one high point in their meeting.
Carwin demonstrated what he's well known for—punching the hell out of people. He beat Lesnar up in round 1, though the toll was more than he expected as he gassed with a minute and a half left in the round.
In the first two minutes of round one, UFC fans were sure that Carwin would earn the TKO, but Lesnar, having showed that he too is human, took the beating and came back to win in round two by submission.
What have we learned from all this?
No matter what, even the toughest fighters have their weaknesses. No matter how perfect a record or how seemingly unbeatable a fighter is, there's always someone out there who can do the job better.
This is why MMA is the greatest sport in the world. We get to see the weaknesses of the most brutally powerful men in the world, but at the same time we get to see their heart which often soars above that of the average joe.
Ranks have been turned upside down and on their heads. Upcoming matches that may look extremely one side, indeed, may go a completely different way than expected.
Matches to Look Forward to Later this Year
Frankie Edgar vs. BJ Penn II, Alexander Shlemenko vs. Hector Lombard, Roy "Big Country" Nelson vs. Junior Dos Santos, and Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen.
As the aforementioned results indicate, although many may consider these fights to be 100% predictable, anything can happen in MMA. Let's hope the rest of the year is as exciting as the first part.
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