Best of MMA in 2009

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 7:28 PM ET

You gotta love lists.

With the new year upon us, here are the Scrapyard's top fights, top MMA stories and best knockouts from 2009, and who to watch in 2010.

Top fights of 2009

1. Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez, TUF 9 finale, June 20 — An all-out war with Sanchez getting the decision over a beaten and bloodied Guida. Sanchez got a title shot as a result, but quickly learned champ B.J. Penn is a class above.

2. Ben Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone, WEC 43, Oct. 10 — A five-round war with great ground-to-stand-up transitions and enough energy to power a small city. Henderson eventually got the nod and the interim lightweight title.

3. Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir, UFC 100, July 1 — Lopsided contests don’t often make fight-of-the-year lists, but there was no other display of dominance like Lesnar’s pounding of Mir.

Top stories of 2009

1. Affliction calls it quits — This would set the stage for the UFC to pick up some decent fighters and free up Fedor Emelianenko to sign with Strikeforce.

2. The rise of Strikeforce — Picking up Emelianenko and Dan Henderson and getting a prime-time deal with CBS, Strikeforce is the only real contender for the UFC.

3. UFC 100 — The most stacked card in the sport’s history delivers with stunning knockouts and ground clinics.

Best knockouts of 2009

1. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski, Affliction: Day of Reckoning, Jan. 24 — Forced into the corner by Arlovski, Emelianenko timed it so that when Arlovski jumped up for a knee, he caught him in mid-air and dropped him like a sack of potatoes.

2. Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping, UFC 100, July 11 — There was much buildup with Bisping trash-talking Henderson. But it was Henderson’s one-punch KO of the Brit that shut him up for good and left him looking like a chalk circle on the mat. For good measure, Henderson landed an extra punch on the grounded Bisping.

3. Lyoto Machida vs. Rashad Evans, UFC 98, May 23 — A battle of undefeated fighters for the light-heavyweight crown. Machida the Karate Kid picked apart Evans, downing him with a flurry of punches, handing him his first loss in convincing fashion.

Who to watch in 2010

1. Gegard Mousasi, Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion — Riding a 14-fight win streak with a respectable 27-2-1 overall record, the 24-year-old has yet to go past the second round in any of his fights. With Strikeforce’s CBS deal, expect to see more of the Dutch/Armenian scrapper.

2. Jose Aldo, WEC featherweight champion — Lightning quick with knockout power, the Brazilian (16-1) never puts on a dull show and is quickly catching the

attention of fans and pundits everywhere.

3. Jon “Bones” Jones, UFC light-heavyweight — Perhaps the most creative fighter in MMA, he is not afraid to try moves normally reserved for action films. His only loss in 10 fights came via disqualification for a downward elbow strike. Easily the most interesting fighter to watch.

Hope you agree with the picks. Keep your chin tucked and have a great 2010.


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