February was an interesting month in the world of mixed martial arts, Jon Jones went from being “in the mix” to top contender, Fedor Emelianenko suffered consecutive defeats for the first time in his storied career, Jon Fitch and BJ Penn fought to a draw and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In this series of articles I will select the best submission, knockout and fight for each month and at the end of the year you O-Sters will determine the best for the year.
Submission of The Month: Jon Jones
When UFC 126 rolled around Jon Jones was believed to be a great prospect with a bright future, by the end of the night his life would change when he was offered a chance to face the reigning UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Jones’ training partner Rashad Evans was slated to face Shogun for the title he held a year prior but 8 weeks before the fight sustained an injury which forced him to give up the opportunity.
But “Bones” Jones didn’t have an easy task ahead of him in Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader. Bader entered their light-heavyweight scrap putting his unblemished 12-0 record on the line coming off an impressive victory over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Leading into the bout many questioned whether Jones was able to deal with a high level wrestler the caliber of Bader, that question was answered seconds into their bout when Jones secured a strong double leg takedown to take the fight to the ground where he immediately started fishing for a north/south choke.
The dominance of the future Champion continued with him out-wrestling the NCAA Division I wrestler before securing a beautifully executed guillotine choke with seconds remaining in the second frame to earn a shot at the big time.
KO of the Month: Anderson Silva
Knockout of the month takes place on the same night as Jones’ dominate performance as Anderson Silva puts his ten pounds of gold on the line against UFC pioneer Vitor Belfort.
Belfort debuted inside the UFC in 1997 -- since then he has captured the UFC Light-Heavyweight Championship and collected numerous highlight knockouts from all over the globe.
Belfort walked into arguably the biggest fight of his career sporting a five year undefeated streak with four of the five victories coming by way of a knockout.
Unfortunately for him, he was facing Anderson Silva. Silva is unquestionably the best middleweight in the world holding the records for most consecutive title defenses of all time and most consecutive victories of all time.
The bout started slow in typical fashion of the lanky Champion before Silva faked with a leg kick before throwing a beautifully executed front kick to the face of the challenger and followed up with strikes to remain the UFC Middleweight kingpin and arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
Fight of The Month: Antonio Silva vs. Fedor Emelianenko
Strikeforce made the choice to mix up their heavyweight landscape in 2011 by holding an eight man, single elimination tournament with only the winners advancing.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker brought in a string of talented big men from all over the world with the odds on favorite to win the grand prix being the former consensus pound-for-pound king of MMA; Fedor Emelianenko.
Emelianenko signed a deal with Strikeforce in 2009 after negotiations with the UFC fell through, at the time Emelianenko was riding a 27 fight unbeaten streak and was widely considered to be the best heavyweight.
The streak of dominance continued inside the Strikeforce cage until he got matched up with two time ADCC World Submission Grappling Champion Fabricio Werdum who scored one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport when he caught the Russian in a triangle armbar to force him to tap.
Silva entered their quarter-final bout having only suffered one defeat since 2007, also to Fabricio Werdum and having the weight of the world on his shoulders. Both heavyweight stand outs came to leave with their hand raised and not leave it in the hands of the judges, both men exchanged in the opening round with a striking battle with Emelianenko getting the upper hand.
That all changed when the bell rang for the second round, Silva got the bout to the ground and used his massive size edge to maintain top position and do a lot of damage to Emelianenko who was unable to continue the bout into the third frame.
Once again, that’s all for this one O-Sters – be sure to watch out for the March and April editions coming shortly.