Fight of the Year – Inside Fights Roundtable Discussion of 2013 in Combat Sports

We could’ve voted on it, of course, and discussed a list of some of the great fights of 2013. But instead we all had different opinions and what better way to discuss the year that was in 2013 for combat sports is to discuss our favorites of the year roundtable style.

Participating are:

Scott Sawitz
Daniel Sohn
Adam Keyes
Luke Cho-Yee

And now … the best of 2013:

Sohn: Alvarez vs. Chandler II

Because Gustafsson vs. Jones will undoubtedly be picked by many as the MMA Fight of the Year, and rightfully so, I’m going to throw a little love to Bellator. The rematch between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler had everything an MMA fight could possibly have. There were multiple submission attempts, momentum swings, rocking strikes and comebacks. It was an up and down roller coaster of a fight that showed the beauty of combat sports and what two fighters are capable of creating. Great fights that go the distance will many times be mired in a little controversy, because a lot of these fights are such a back-and-forth affair that it’s hard to determine who really won. That was the case between these two great warriors, who battled for five rounds with the lightweight title on the line. Alvarez got the split decision nod, but we’re very likely going to see these two go at it again sometime in the future.

Keyes: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson (UFC 165)

Having been spoilt for choice this year with such great fights as Hunt-Bigfoot, Bermudez-Grice and Melendez-Sanchez; my pick for Fight of the Year goes to Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Heading in to the fight few gave Gustafsson much of a chance and most were looking past this fight and to a possible move to the heavyweight division for Jones as it was a common belief that he had all but cleaned out the 205lbs division. However, after five rounds of closely fought and brutally competitive action Jon Jones took home the razor thin decision as well as his light heavyweight title. This fight finally showed how Jon Jones would react when faced with adversity with the champion’s heart, will and determination on full display and with the near-perfect performance executed by Alexander Gustafsson the light heavyweight division was awoken from its Jones-dominance induced slumber with the champ now having found an equal.

Of those still waiting to be signed, the rematch of Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson is the most anticipated of the lot with the first fight creating the kind of buzz around a rivalry that has not been seen since Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen. The fans are even so impatient to see their rematch that when an opposing fighter was needed to be selected alongside Jon Jones on the cover of the new UFC video game, Alexander Gustafsson triumphed over a number of bigger names to be placed alongside Jones. For all the action inside the cage, for all the significance of its proceedings and the universal clamouring for a rematch; Jones-Gustafsson was the Fight of the Year for 2013.

Sawitz: Mark Hunt vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, UFC Fight Night 33

Was it a technical masterpiece? No. Was it something that you could show off as the peak of the sport? Probably not. But did it make you realize why you’re a fan? ABSOLUTELY. Five rounds and two guys just laid everything they had out there. It was one of the rare fights where a draw was actually the preferred result; picking a winner was something I didn’t want to do. Some fights are technical marvels with two guys operating on every level of the game. This wasn’t one of those types of fights. This was a blood and guts brawl with two guys who pulled everything they had out, leaving it there for the world.

CY: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, UFC 165

There have been so many exceptional fights this year that it almost feels trite to pick just one but at a push I have to go with Jon Jones versus Alexander Gustafsson. The fight epitomized why MMA is such a fascinating and unpredictable sport and was an outstanding contest on every level, showcasing technique, precision and courage of the highest order.