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2008 was definitely an interesting year in the MMA world. There were so many interracial wars! Asian versus Latin, African-American versus Caucasian, Latin versus Caucasian, Caucasian versus Asian, etc. MMA was becoming extremely diverse and that diversity was a huge success as the events that were being put on were reflecting the sports prosperity. With that said, all of the fights chosen in this list reverberate that distinction. These are the Top 5 MMA Fights of 2008:
5 Rampage Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin (UFC 86)
This fight had high expectations. It’s always good to have an African-American and a Caucasian in the cage at UFC and usually results in a good fight and this was no exception as both of these men put on an amazing show. Griffin landed more punches but Jackson landed the harder punches, though Griffin appeared to dictate the action throughout the match. This was Griffin’s coming out party as he weathered Jackson’s notorious attack and came out with a decision victory.
4 Cung Le vs. Frank Shamrock (Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Le)
In the lead-up to this fight Shamrock boasted about his plan of standing with Le and showing his striking superiority. While the MMA world laughed at those comments Shamrock was surprisingly serious. He stood and fought with the San Shou kickboxing champion. Le was getting the best of the fight which was fought in style that benefited his skill set. Then in the third round Shamrock landed a haymaker right hand! With Le clearly hurt and everyone watching in awe, Shamrock attempted to finish him with a flurry. Le landed two devastating high kicks that were blocked during this melee but one of the broke Shamrocks arm. He could not continue and Le got the TKO win after three rounds.
3 Eddie Alvarez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (DREAM 5)
Alvarez is back! He had a great 2008! This battle only went one round, if it would have lasted any longer it would be number one on this list. Kawajiri came out throwing low kicks and Alvarez was quickly countering with lightning fast left-right punch combinations. Kawajiri quickly decided that he was not willing to take two punches to land one low kick. After tying up Alvarez briefly near the ropes the referee broke them up and that is when the party started. Punching, kicking, knees, body shots and plenty of toe-to-toe action in this fight, but Alvarez would eventually TKO Kawajiri at the 7:35 mark of the first round.
2 Eddie Alvarez vs. Joachim Hansen (DREAM 3)
From the opening bell you could just feel the tension in this fight. Before there was even a strike attempted you could just sense the aggression. 35 seconds into the fight Alvarez landed a crushing right hand that dropped Hansen on his butt. It was a punch that would have been the end for almost any other fighter but in this war it was just the beginning. From that point on it was mayhem as both men found success with their strikes. Alvarez landed huge rights and Hansen landed big lefts from his southpaw stance. When it was all said and done it was almost impossible to judge who won the fight. That was because as a result of the effort put forth by both men, they both deserved to win. Alvarez was rewarded the unanimous decision in this classic fight.
1 Miguel Torres vs. Yoshira Maeda (WEC 34)
Maeda came out aggressively in his southpaw stance and unorthodox style. Torres welcomed the aggressiveness and matched it in an all-action first round that lacked a dull moment. The majority of the round was fought standing up with countless kicks landing on both sides. The pace was furious for both men and it seemed like it would be impossible to keep it up. Round two turned out to be one of the greatest rounds in history! Both men maintained their torrid pace but every strike thrown was thrown with intentions to finish the fight. It was interracial warfare at its finest! Asians versus Latinos, crazy! All you need to do is watch this round and you will understand why this fight is number on this list. Torres took almost everything out of Maeda in that round and dominated round three. The fight was stopped after the third round because Maeda’s eye was completely shut.One for the books!
Wow! What a year! These fights all produced amazing action and results as well as some racial conflict in the audience. It was a thing of beauty and it proved that MMA was going in the right direction. These are the Top 5 MMA Fights of 2008. Wouldn’t you agree?