Last night Brisbane, Australia played host to UFC Fight Night 33 with Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva facing off with Mark Hunt in the main event. Having decided to sleep through and catch the fights in the morning on DVR, I was awoken by a Facebook notification from a friend. “Wow. Best fight I have seen in ages man. Bigfoot vs Mark Hunt what a fight!!! #bloodbath”, it’s safe to say that my interest had been piqued.
I shuffled downstairs, flicked the switch and settled in for what I had imagined to be an instant classic. However, up until the midway point of the third I was a tad underwhelmed. I was not bored by what I was seeing, as it was a solid showing with both men willing to engage, it was just not what I had in my mind on receiving the early morning hype alarm.
This soon changed.
When an increasingly exhausted Hunt had managed to shake off the debilitating leg kicks that Silva had been unloading in the first two stanzas in order to land a straight right that ploughed straight through Bigfoot’s guard, the big Brazilian was down and the fight was on.
What followed was a series of momentum shifts that rendered judging the fight nigh on impossible, with each man at times out on their feet with blood streaming from the many number of cuts that had been opened in the relentless action refusing to be broken. The fight was scored a majority draw with one judge ruling in Hunt’s favour.
For what it’s worth I scored the fight 3-2 for Bigfoot, with Silva taking the 1st, 2nd and 4th round, but if you want to see how the night’s judges scored it then simply click here. This was one of those rare occasions where you did not feel robbed by the chance to herald a victor, this was a satisfying outcome. For either man to have gone home defeated would have been too bitter a pill to swallow and would have verged on the unfair considering the Herculean efforts put in by both men.
This was a genuine fight of the year contender in a year where we have been spoilt for choice, which got me thinking. Is 2013 the greatest year of fights that MMA has experienced?
Here’s just a quick rundown of the other clashes that will likely feature heavily come award season:
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson – UFC 165
Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez II – Bellator 106
Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez – UFC 166
GSP vs. Johny Hendricks – UFC 167
Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice – UFC 157
Cat Zingano vs. Miesha Tate – TUF 17 Finale
Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann – UFC on Fuel TV 8
And to be honest, that’s selling the year short, I could have gone on for longer. Much longer. However, perhaps the greatest aspect of this list is that it is incomplete. We still have so many potentially great fights left with UFC on Fox 10 throwing up Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez II and Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown, as well as UFC 168 featuring Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate II and the most eagerly anticipated rematch for some time as Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva square off again.
The only other year that comes close for me is 2011, with its fair share of classics including Henderson vs. Shogun, Edgar vs. Maynard II, Diaz vs. Daley, Kongo vs. Barry and Chandler vs. Alvarez I. But still, only comes close to what 2013 has served up so far.
Here’s to the rest of the year, and good luck 2014.