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Five Ounces 2010 Year-End Awards: Surprises, Smackdowns, and Surging Starpower

The final week of 2010 has arrived, and though the year may not have delivered on the public’s long-standing dream of flying cars and laser-blasters it was certainly a period filled with memorable months from a Mixed Martial Arts viewpoint. We witnessed champions fall in dramatic fashion, rise from the ranks to become divisional kings, and in some cases emerge victorious by the skin of their teeth. We saw shocking signings and ridiculous releases; countless classics and numerous nod-offers; moves in the ring unlike any other before and some hopefully never seen again.

With the close of the year, Five Ounces of Pain is here to bring you our annual awards as we wind things down and get read for the adventures 2011 will undoubtedly bring. Over the next few days we will announce our winners in somewhat unique categories with a final batch of standard distinctions handed out on Friday, December 31.

As always, 5 Oz. invites our readers to offer their own opinions in the “Comments” section on who should have taken home the hardware (or in this case digital love). We would not be here without you, and rest assured the Staff not only appreciates your contributions from a “page view” standpoint, but genuinely enjoys reading our community’s take on topics. Have an incredibly fun, albeit safe, holiday week!

— The “Who Saw That Coming?” Award —

Fabricio Werdum submits Fedor Emelianenko: This was supposed to be another “tune up fight” for Fedor Emelianenko on his road to the Strikeforce heavyweight title. Werdum was looked at as a very good fighter with outstanding Jiu-Jitsu but most people’s lasting memory of him prior to this fight was seeing him get his clock cleaned by Junior dos Santos. Plus, Fedor is Fedor. He was practically undefeated, he was unstoppable, he was a robot, he was frickin’ Fedor! When the fight started, it looked like another cake walk for “The Last Emperor”. He immediately dropped Werdum and then pounced on him for the finish. Then it happened. Out of nowhere the Brazilian used Fedor’s aggressiveness and the cage to his advantage, locked on a triangle choke, and forced Fedor to give a single tap, but possibly the most memorable tap in MMA history. The once unbeatable had been beaten.

— Beatdown of the Year —

Josh Koscheck vs. Georges St. Pierre / UFC 124: Not to be confused with “Fight of the Year”. Though there were plenty of options to consider, including Roger Huerta’s loss to Eddie Alvarez and Cain Velasquez’s title-win over Brock Lesnar, in the end GSP’s rivalry-ending smackdown of Koscheck prevailed. For months upon months fans listened to Koscheck spew his venom at Georges St. Pierre, questioning everything from the welterweight champion’s ability to strike to his hushed demeanor and preference for spandex trunks. An entire season of the Ultimate Fighter was dedicated to the rivalry he seemed intent on creating even if GSP wasn’t interested in engaging outside of the cage. However, once the two met in the Octagon at UFC 124 it became clear the most important jabs in MMA are not of the verbal variety. Koscheck left the event having lost all five rounds, sporting a broken orbital bone, and undoubtedly reflecting on how much more he needs to learn before he’s on the same level as the French-Candian champ. He was completely out-classed for twenty-four of the twenty-five minutes he spent in the ring, and though he may not have been rendered unconscious he most certainly exited Montreal the victim of a “beatdown”. Whether or not Team St. Pierre’s “male nurse”, i.e. Brad Tate, sent him a “Get Well Soon” card after the action concluded is still unknown…

— Most Meteoric Rise —

Anthony Pettis: Over 3.5 million. That’s how many times videos of Pettis delivering his amazing kick off the cage have been viewed on YouTube. It’s crazy to think that just one year ago Pettis was coming off the lone loss of his career against Bart Palaszewski, and now he’s one of the most popular fighters in the world. Pettis was able to rack up several impressive wins over the course of 2010, but none was bigger than his WEC Lightweight Championship win over Ben Henderson a few weeks ago. Not only did he deliver a kick that will be on MMA highlight reels for all of eternity, he also managed to showcase excellent skills in all areas of the sport. He’s next in line for the UFC Lightweight Championship, and after his star-making performance at WEC 53 he can be sure that everyone will be watching his next fight very closely in the hopes of seeing his next mind-bending maneuver.

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