31 Dec Five Best MMA Fights Of 2015
The past year is another great one for MMA, but don’t tell that to the former UFC champions. Exactly six belts changed hands in 2015, three in the months of November and December alone.
Other than the exciting championship fights across the UFC and other promotions, there were still a number of head-turners from places we least expect. Here are five of the best MMA fights of 2015, in no particular order:
Justin Gaethje vs Luis Palomino 1, WSOF 19
Could be the most memorable fight in World Series of Fighting history, Gaethje vs Palomino is the very reason why you just couldn’t tell when a truly great fight pops out.
In March 2015, where no UFC cards and PPV’s in sight, the WSOF 155-pound champion and the veteran challenger engaged in a total war. (Check out that Gaethje kick at the end of Round 1.) Palomino had his moments early, even bloodying Gaethje in the second round. But the pace the champ pushes proved too much for the 34-year-old Palomino, who succumbed to a barrage of hammer punches to the ground at the 1:03 mark of the 3rd round.
(Full fight here.)
Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald 2, UFC 189
Definitely not for the feint of heart, Lawler-Macdonald 2 is the model fight for an MMA championship. Bloody, unpredictable, and violent, this is one of those brawls that makes you respect and cheer for both men.
Lawler almost had his upper lip completely busted up by Macdonald, but in typical Lawler fashion, the champion smiled it off and went on a barrage of his own that broke the challenger’s nose. Macdonald crumpled to the mat one minute into the fifth round, allowing “Ruthless” to defend his belt after wrangling it off the hands of Johny Hendricks in December 2014.
Cormier vs Gustafsson, UFC 192
A sign that you have just watched an awesome Fight of the Year candidate is that everyone– including the judges– couldn’t even decide unanimously who won the fight.
At UFC 192, Cormier and Gustafsson gave each other the worst beatings of their lives, going back and forth for Cormier’s light heavyweight title. Gustafsson almost ended DC with a perfectly-placed knee in the third round, but the AKA standout withstood the storm and eked out a split decision victory to keep the belt on his waist.
Hideo Tokoro vs L.C. Davis, Bellator 135
A barnburner to say the least, Tokoro and Davis had little to no disregard for each other’s safety, nailing each other with hard, creative strikes and submission attempts. Tokoro, for his part, answered doubts about his chin, absorbing the best of Davis’ blows while the latter also answered questions about his grappling, stopping heel hooks after heel hooks from the Japanese and squeezing a tight guillotine of his own.
In the end, the judges gave Davis a razor-thin split decision in a fight which could literally go either way. But as a consolation of sorts, Tokoro forced Davis to have a little appointment with his dentist.
Thomas Almeida vs Brad Pickett, UFC 189
(Click here to watch full fight.)
Almeida is undefeated but as a 35-fight veteran, there’s little that Pickett hasn’t seen in a fight. The experience began to show for the American, knocking down Almeida twice in the first round, about a minute apart. But then out of nowhere, the Brazilian Terminator unleashed a vicious flying knee that rolled Pickett’s eyes backwards and ended the night quickly for Once Punch Brad.
Alexa Grasso vs Mizuki Inoue, Invicta FC 11 (Watch here.)
Andrei Arlovski vs Travis Browne, UFC 191 (Watch here.)
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