2011 had its share of entertaining MMA fights, and the future of the sport keeps getting brighter. Here are the five most entertaining MMA fights of the year:
1. Frankie Edgar versus Gray Maynard II
The UFC started off the year with a bang, thanks to their entertaining five round battle. Edgar survived a brutal first round, coming back from behind and retaining his belt. The judges’ decision to call the fight a draw didn’t go well with some fans, but I personally felt they got it right.
2. Nick Diaz versus Paul Daley
Both men went back and forth in this entertaining one round encounter. Neither man bothered much with grappling during the fight, standing toe-to-toe and putting on one of the most entertaining fights in Strikeforce history. Both men hit the canvas a couple of times, before Diaz put Daley away with three seconds left in the first round.
3. Dominick Cruz versus Urijah Faber II
Faber gave the current UFC bantamweight champion serious fits in his first fight/title defense with the promotion. From start to finish, both men kept a relentless pace, constantly moving around and throwing vicious combos. Cruz managed to avenge his previous loss to Faber (only loss in his MMA career), walking away with the unanimous decision.
4. Ben Henderson versus Clay Guida
Probably the fight the UFC should have used for its Fox debut, Henderson and Guida put on a grappling exhibition when the two met inside the Octagon at “UFC on Fox 1.” Henderson was the more dominant fighter during the bout, but Guida refused to give up, making the crowd roar with a few close submissions. In the end, Henderson got the unanimous decision, and he’s set to face Edgar in 2012.
5. Diego Sanchez versus Martin Kampmann
Sanchez weathered Kampmann’s first round assault at “UFC Live 3.” Diego made up for what he lacked in technical striking skills with sheer aggression, constantly coming forward and going for takedowns. Diego took a lot of damage during the fight, but he managed to walk away with the unanimous decision.