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January 5, 2013

David Estrada column: Handing out MMA 2012 awards

PORT ARTHUR — This week's column will look back at the unforgettable 2012 year of MMA and will be presented in the always fun awards format.

    Fight of the Year:   The Korean Zombie vs. Dustin Poirier, UFC on Fuel TV 3.  Chan Sung Jung, better known worldwide as "The Korean Zombie" has a penchant for putting on the exciting.  Even though he doesn't speak a lick of English, the featherweight is made for TV.  

    He does not own a title but he and Poirier headlined a show for a national television audience.  Fuel TV was quite impressed; their four-round bout was a spellbinding every minute of the way. The Korean Zombie and Poirier slugged it out until finally the Zombie cinched up a D'arce choke, putting his opponent unconscious.  

    Submission of the Year: Ronda Rousey's armbar on Miesha Tate, Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey."  Strikeforce's women's MMA division represents the best female fighters the world has to offer.  Reigning Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate and challenger Ronda Rousey headlined the entire event which is a rarity for women's MMA.  

    Tate had buzzsawed through the ranks with a complete standup and grappling game.  Rousey was the much ballyhooed Olympic bronze medalist in Judo starting an undefeated MMA streak which meant for a much anticipated matchup.  

    Rousey stuck with her bread and butter against Tate – the armbar.  She caught Tate's arm early and cranked it.  Surprisingly, Tate never tapped even after it was twisted backwards at the elbow. The referee stepped in stopping the bout, giving Rousey the Strikeforce championship.  

    The submission and bout was a watershed moment for MMA.  UFC president Dana White stood notice and instituted a women's MMA division in the UFC.  With Strikeforce closing its doors in 2013, Ronda Rousey was declared the UFC's women's bantamweight champion.  She'll be defending her title in the UFC's Octagon in February.

    Knockout of the Year: Edson Barboza's spinning wheel kick on Terry Etim, UFC 142.  This was the get out of your seat moment of the year.  In the third and final round of their lightweight bout, Brazilian Edson Barboza attempted and pulled off a strike for the ages in front of his home country crowd in Rio de Janeiro.  

    With perfect timing and precision Baroza launched a spinning wheel kick that landed the back of his heel to the jaw of Etim.  Etim went out instantly and with the momentum of the kick he landed flat and stiff like a tree.  

    Fighter of the Year:  Anderson "The Spider" Silva.  MMA's Michael Jordan added to his legacy with another banner year.  He was featured in the most anticipated fight of 2012 – his UFC 148 rematch with Chael Sonnen after pulling off the 11th hour "Immaculate Submission" in their first meeting.  

    He soundly defeated Sonnen, this time by strikes and a well-placed knee to the body.  This represented his record 10th consecutive UFC middleweight title defense.  

    Three months later he threw his hat in the Octagon to save the injury-plagued UFC 153 in Rio.  He met the challenge to move up a weight class to light heavyweight to face Stephan Bonnar.  The Brazilian superstar didn't disappoint his home crowd and put on a clinic with the larger fighter.  

    This weight class versatility beacons fights paring him against George St. Pierre and Jon Bones Jones.  Who knows what 2013 will hold.

    David Estrada Jr. is a Mixed Martial Arts columnist for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at

DavidEstrada@DavidEstrada.com

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