The 2014 SevereMMA Irish and International Awards

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After a bumper year of action inside the cage it’s time to take a step back as we reach year’s end and have a look at the best (and worst) of what 2014 had to offer both nationally and internationally in the world of MMA. To do that, the crew here at SevereMMA got together and voted on the who we think stood out in each of the below categories. The awards were voted on by myself, Graeme, Andrew and Petesy. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

FIGHT OF THE YEAR

Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes – UFC 179

It wasn’t a historic year for quality fights but this featherweight title battle over five rounds was a beautiful symphony of MMA heart and technique.

 

KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR

Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis – UFC 175

Ronda Rousey is known as a submission artist but she added a new string to her bow with a sixteen second knockout of Alexis Davis the likes of which the UFC’s female division had never seen before.

 

SUBMISSION OF THE YEAR

Luke Rockhold Inverted triangle kimura on Tim Boetsch – UFC 172

In a year packed with great submissions, Rockhold’s destruction of Boetsch with two holds at the same time emerged as the best.

 

FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Robbie Lawler

After losing the vacant UFC welterweight title fight to Johny Hendricks at the start of the year, veteran Robbie Lawler beat Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown before taking the strap from Hendricks at UFC 181.

 

FEMALE FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey has been the best female fighter in the world since she debuted, but in 2014 she hugely improved her all around game and demolished every opponent put in her way.

 

IRISH PRO FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor still leads the Irish pro ranks in a year which saw four Irish fighters debut in the UFC. His first round knockouts of Diego Brandao and Dustin Poirier have elevated him up the rankings to within touching distance of the title shot.

 

IRISH AMATEUR FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Ayo Daly

Team Ryano’s Ayo Daly has been a stand-out member of a strong Irish amateur scene in 2014. His win over Kiefer Crosbie at Cage Warriors was a terrific performance in what looks like being his last outing before turning pro.

 

IRISH FEMALE FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Aisling Daly

In an ever improving WMMA scene in Ireland, Aisling Daly is still top of the pile and secured her position with a win in her UFC debut on the TUF finale.

 

EMERGING IRISH PROSPECT OF THE YEAR

Joseph Duffy

After three years away from the sport, Joseph Duffy returned this year, decimated both of his opponents and put himself right back in upper echelon of Irish fighters.

 

EMERGING PROSPECT OF THE YEAR

Kelvin Gastelum

After unexpectedly winning TUF, Kelvin Gastelum has continued to prove the doubters wrong. His win against Jake Ellenberger has put him within touching distance of a title.

 

UNDERDOG OF THE YEAR

TJ Dillashaw

Entering his fight with Renan Barao, you could have gotten upwards of 6/1 for TJ Dillashaw to pull off the win. That didn’t deter him, though, as he ripped the belt straight from the hands of the Brazilian.

 

COACH OF THE YEAR

Ricardo Liborio

American Top Team’s leading man had a wonderful 12 months with students like Tyron Woodley, Yoel Romero, Will Brooks and Hector Lombard which culminated in Robbie Lawler winning the UFC welterweight title.

 

UPSET OF THE YEAR

TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao – UFC 173

Dillashaw’s utter domination was not only the performance of this year, it may be the greatest ever in the UFC with very few people picking him to win.

 

COMEBACK OF THE YEAR (FIGHT)

Cathal Pendred vs. Mike King – UFC Dublin

This one really was a no-brainer after Pendred was almost stopped multiple times in the first round before recovering and putting King to sleep in the second before a raucous home crowd.

 

COMEBACK OF THE YEAR (CAREER)

Dominick Cruz

Even though Dominick Cruz tore his ACL again this weekend, he still made a tremendous comeback this year. His 61 second mauling of Takeya Mizugaki after three years out of the cage was utterly mind-blowing.

 

UNDERPERFORMER OF THE YEAR

Renan Barao

Renan Barao not only lost his belt to TJ Dillashaw but he lost the chance to regain it after failing to make it through fight week. He did return to winning ways against Mitch Gagnon but it was a pretty underwhelming display.

 

WORST DECISION OF THE YEAR

Diego Sanchez vs. Ross Pearson – UFC Fight Night 42

Nobody on earth, apart from Diego Sanchez himself, had him beating Ross Pearson after the Brit picked him apart with ease over three rounds.

 

WORST FIGHT OF THE YEAR

Brendan Schaub vs. Andrei Arlovski – UFC 174

For three rounds these two heavyweights lumbered around the Octagon seemingly afraid to fire until the judges were forced to pick who did less of nothing. Not one you ever want to see again.

 

NON-UFC FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Ben Askren

After being unable to reach a deal with the UFC this year, American wrestler Ben Askren signed with One FC, won two fights and picked up the promotional welterweight strap with a couple of first round finishes.

 

EVENT OF THE YEAR

UFC Dublin

9,500 people packed into the 02 Arena for UFC Dublin but it sounded more like 95,000 as the intense home crowd sang home five Irish fighters to victory.

 

SHOCKING MOMENT OF THE YEAR

UFC sign CM Punk

Even though the rumours were circulating, nobody expected the UFC to sign professional wrestler CM Punk. When it was announced on the UFC 181 broadcast, shock-waves were sent around the sporting world.

 

WALKOUT OF THE YEAR

Jon Jones vs. Glover Texeira (Ray Lewis dance) – UFC 172

In the home city of his brother Arthur’s then NFL franchise, Jon Jones did the dance of Baltimore’s favourite son and sent the crowd into raptures.

 

QUOTE OF THE YEAR

“Hey pussy, are you still there?” – Jon Jones

Lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Co-host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Tuesday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma