I'll try to make this as simple as possible. The fights will be split into four categories: Most Impressive Display of Determination, Most Exciting, Least Impressive, and Most Overhyped. Each category will receive one winner, as well as one honorable mention.
Most Impressive Display of Determination
Jon Fitch vs. Georges St. Pierre
I don't normally buy it when a fighter claims that he possesses an "undying will" or something along those lines. I firmly believe that when you're knocked out, your will doesn't have a say.
This fight displayed the influence that a fighters' heart can have on a match. Almost anybody else would've been finished in the first round. Fitch took everything that St. Pierre gave him, and remained active throughout the fight.
Georges was clearly more proficient in almost every aspect of the fight, but Fitch held in and almost caught Georges numerous times. It was also great to see the actual "No. 1 vs. No.2" in a title fight.
Honorable Mention: Damian Maia vs. Jason MacDonald
Neither fighter possesses any sort of impressive stand-up fighting. They both throw sloppy punches and have mediocre take-downs and clinching abilities. On the ground though, they are both juggernauts.
With Maia having some of the most impressive BJJ techniques that I've ever seen, this fight was spelling disaster for MacDonald going in. In the early stages, MacDonald was caught in numerous "tight" submissions, and he found a way to continuously escape. He deserves all the credit in the world for lasting as long as he did.
Shinya Aoki vs. Gesias Cavalcante II
With the first fight ending in a no-contest, this rematch was an extremely desirable fight for "hardcore" MMA fans. Aoki cemented himself as one of the best fighters in the world, with some ridiculous techniques. Cavalcante did his best, but couldn't keep up. Aoki's standing body-triangles and "Crab Walk" attack put this fight into first place.
Honorable Mention: Andrei Arlovski vs. Ben Rothwell
The Affliction: Banned card was billed as the greatest heavyweight card in MMA history. Those of us who bought into the hype were beginning to be disappointed. With many lackluster finishes, this card was seemingly doomed for disaster.
This fight began slowly, but when the action picked up, we saw the Arlovski of old re-emerge as a serious heavyweight contender. Impressive combinations and flurries of punches injected excitement into this card. This pick may be biased due to my undying admiration for that wolverine of a man, as Pulver vs. Faber also deserves a honorable mention.
Many billed this as a potential "Fight of the Year" candidate. Its aura was increased due to the TUF show, and we were assured that it would not disappoint. Well, it did. This fight was surrounded with controversy, as many believed that Forrest's win was not "decisive enough," and apparently it was enough to also make Jackson lose his mind. This boring five-round decision definitely disappointed.
Honorable Mention: Fedor Emilianenko vs. Tim Sylvia
Just hear me out. I like to see Sylvia get demolished as much as the next guy, and it definitely was exciting. But I thought this fight would be a true test for Emelianenko? Isn't that what everyone was saying? I wanted to see Fedor get caught in some sticky situations and fight his way out of them. We all knew that he was the No. 1 heavyweight out there, but now who can truly test him?
Kalib Starnes vs. Nate Quarry
This gets No. 1, as it was probably the worst fight I've ever seen. Whether or not this fight was Starnes' way of rebelling against the UFC, or protesting his contract, it doesn't take away from the brutal fight that is easily the worst of the year. And is likely the last time that Kalib will see his name on top of any list.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Vera vs. Reese Andy
With Vera being often undersized in the Heavyweight division, this fight was his emergence into, what many believed to be, a weight class that he could dominate. He was slowly lowered into the waters, instead of being tossed into an already stacked weight class, with a match against a relatively unknown wrestler in Reese Andy.
Vera did everything but impress in this match, as he pulled off an unconvincing decision. This could be the beginning of the end of Brandon Vera at light heavyweight. The truth hurts, doesn't it?
Thanks for reading. I'd appreciate your input and contributions.