5 Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio Rua I (UFC 104)
This fight was not a war but it was a great technical fight that true MMA fans can truly appreciate. Both fighters were effective with their respective styles and neither deserved to lose. The unanimous decision that was awarded to Machida was very controversial but he did fight effectively. He used his stick and move style nicely and landed some clear shots. Rua landed the heavier shots and was the aggressor throughout. Tough fight to judge, great fight to watch. Machida walked away with the decision on this one.
4 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Randy Couture (UFC 102)
This was a fight that was anticipated for years. Both of these well-respected veterans had already made their marks on the sport and the time came when they finally met in the cage. The fight lived up to everybody’s expectations and was worth the wait. Both men came out swinging in round one and they both had their moments of success. It was a highly competitive fight that featured two great technical, well-rounded fighters both doing what they do best. This fight wasn’t decided until the last round whenNoguiera started to dominate which led to his unanimous decision victory
3 Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski (Affliction: Day of Reckoning)
Although this fight lasted only one round, it had more action than most five round fights. And the momentum shift that occurred was one that will always be remembered by the MMA world. Arlovski came out completely ripped and ready to go. If you were using the “eyeball test” to judge these two guys you would of chose Arlovski’s chiseled physique over Emelianenko semi-pudgy figure. But Emelianenko is massive, not pudgy! He somehow puts every ounce of his body into his brutal strikes. Arlovski came out fast and was dominating Emelianenko from the outset in a way that had never been seen. Up to that point everybody thought that Emelianenko was unbeatable. Somehow Arlovski was making him look mortal! His hand speed and quickness looked like it was overwhelming Emelianenko. Then Arlovski got a little too confident and attempted an outrageous flying knee that he will regret for the rest of his life. Emelianenko caught Arlovski mid-air with a huge overhand right that completely put his lights out. It left Arlovski face down, ass up in what was easily the best knockout of 2009.
2 Ben Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone (WEC 43)
This fight was clearly the second best in 2009, and arguably the best. The decision could have gone either way as to who deserved the fight of the year but the extreme amount of blood loss in the Sanchez/Cerrone fight set it apart. But these two guys put on an amazing show for five full rounds. Henderson looked dominating in the first three rounds and it looked like Cerrone had no answers as Henderson cruised to an easy victory. But in a stunning turn of events Cerrone turned the tables and beat up on Henderson for the last two rounds. He clearly won the fourth and fifth rounds but it was a little late as Henderson won a unanimous decision. Both of these guys’ stock rose after this fight and it was so good that at the end of the night there was really no loser.
1 Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida (Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale)
These two fighters genuinely disliked eachother. Now that does not always translate into a great fight but in this case it certainly did. This battle won the World MMA Fight of the Year Award. Halfway through the fight both combatants were bleeding profusely in what was a testament to the violence involved. Sanchez’ strikes were taking a toll on Guida but he never let up. His heart and determination is what made this fight so memorable. After losing the first round and getting nailed with a lethal kick that would have knocked anyone else out, Guida came out aggressively in the second and won it by taking Sanchezdown. Sanchez had some success on his back by landing elbows, but Guida controlled the round and pounded Sanchez at every opportunity. Sanchez edged Guida in the third round and was awarded a bloody decision victory.
2009 was definitely one of MMAs high points. But it was only part of the beginning! These are the Top 5 MMA Fights of 2009. Wouldn’t you agree?