I think everybody can agree that Saturday night’s UFC 139 was historic. Not only was the card stacked from head to toe on paper, but the night delivered from start to finish. As a recovering Pride fanboy, I couldn’t have been happier watching three household names from that Japanese era go into the Octagon to perform on what has become possibly the best event of the year.
We still have three more cards before 2011 closes.
UFC 139 in San Jose was so memorable, I nearly forgot about all the non-Zuffa MMA action going down this weekend. Longtime Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez misplaced his title strap around the waist of Michael Chandler, ending a two-year reign, and let's not forget that one Russian guy, who topped many peoples’ pound-for-pound list just a few years ago. He laid waste to Jeff Monson Sunday morning in Moscow under the M-1 Global banner.
Needless to say, those events are headline worth under normal circumstances. I feel sorry for those knucklehead writers venturing outside the UFC 139 realm the day after—ballsy but futile. Listen up fight fans: after last night, there's no turning back. Particularly after this successful year, it’s a UFC world and we’re just living in it.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m all for the idea of competition between promotions, battling it out for their slice of the market pie, putting on the best fights in order to attract the most eyeballs. It even gives fighters more leverage and options when fishing around for the best contractual deals.
But, after the year the UFC is having, don’t expect the current Zuffa-dominated landscape to change anytime soon. Frankly, they deserve it. UFC 139, as a whole, really reflects the marque matchmaking Joe Silva puts together, the unmatched leadership by Dana White and the financial commitment to production value and fighter salaries by the Fertittas.
In particular, the headlining fight between legendary warriors Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua really put the UFC’s success into perspective.
Last night’s main event was one of many amazing top billings from 2011—arguably one of the greatest, period.
As the year stands right now, with three more events waiting to unfold, what are the top five main-event bouts from 2011 thus far?
Let’s attempt to answer that question in the next five slides.