This is a list of the best five mixed martial arts bouts in the past five years. It’s simple, it’s highly controversial, but above all else – it’s violent! To be clear, this is MY list and MY list only. As you’ll be able to tell by the way I rank these fights, I’m always down for a good old fashion slobber knocker. If you’ve got questions, comments, or your own list feel free to leave them in the comment section below.
Number 5: Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 – September 21, 2013
The Result – Jones defeats Gustafsson via unanimous decision
You knew this fight had to be on the list, but bet you didn’t expect to see it so low? Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely loved this fight. It was technical, it was gritty and it was extremely competitive. Close right up until the final bell, you couldn’t be sure who’d come out the victor. But, when the judge’s scorecards where read, it was Jones walking away with the decision. This fight pushed both men to their limits and they’re both better fighters because of it. Hopefully we do get to see a rematch sometime down the road!
Number 4: Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman at UFC 162 – July 6, 2013
The Result – Weidman defeats Silva via KO at 1:18 of round 2
This fight makes the list more for the result than the fight itself. Anderson Silva had seemed unstoppable until he came across the “All-American”, Chris Weidman. Silva had spent the past few years clowning his opponents and toying with their emotions, until they’d get careless and let their guard down. That’s when Silva would strike – landing precision shots and dropping opponents where they stood. However, on that fateful night, Anderson Silva finally met his match. A minute into the second round Weidman caught Silva with the left hook heard around the world. Silva dropped to the floor and Weidman pounced on him, rendering him unconscious. The middleweight division’s had a new champion ever since, and frankly they’re better off that way.
Number 3: Mark Hunt vs Antonio Silva at UFC Fight Night Hunt vs Silva – December 7, 2013
The Result – Hunt and Silva fight to a Majority Draw
Another fight from the year 2013, another gem. The result may sour a few people, as nobody likes a draw, but the fight itself was absolutely astonishing. Thanks to a little help from good ol’ Testosterone Replacement Therapy (Silva was flagged for elevated testosterone levels, which earned him a 9-month suspension) Silva and Hunt where able to go all five rounds – a feat rarely seen in today’s heavyweight division. Even better yet, the fight was exciting up until the final bell. The judge’s scored the bout 47-47, 47-47 and 48-47 Hunt, declaring it a majority draw, and rightfully so, as both men were truly winners that night. A back and forth, knock em down, drag em out, brawl for it all – this is the best fight in heavyweight MMA history. Both men gave it everything they had and it showed, as they had their ups and downs and both men could have finished the fight on many different occasions. They truly brought out the best in each other, and for that I’m eternally thankful.
Number 2: Matt Brown vs Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night Brown vs Silva – May 10, 2014
The Result – Brown defeats Slva via TKO at 2:11 of round 3
This is, in my opinion, the absolute best fight in 2014 and an instant classic. This fight had grueling body shots, slick submission attempts, and tremendous resilience and heart shown by both men. This is a fight a will sit my kids down and watch with them when the time comes – it was that good. Brown looked to be out of it early on, as he was caught with a body shot by Silva and Silva went in for the kill. Unable to finish the fight and unable to get a tap on the ground, the tide eventually turned and Brown ended the round on top. When the second round began it seemed like only a matter of time before Brown put Silva away, but what happened in the next round and a half was nothing short of amazing. Brown’s pressure and constant attack, coupled with Silva’s heart and refusal to give up made for one of the most entertaining fights EVER. Love them or hate them – this was a brawl everyone can enjoy.
Number 1: Michael Chandler vs Eddie Alvarez at Bellator 58 – November 19, 2011
The Result: Chandler defeats Alvarez via submission at 3:06 of round 4
No doubt in my mind – this is the greatest MMA fight ever, and likely will be for quite some time. Largely overshadowed by UFC 139, this fight never got the credit it fully deserves. A back and forth fight, it seemed like neither of these men took their foot off the gas pedal from the word go. This is one of the best rivalries in MMA and this fight shows it. Almost unknown at the time, Michael Chandler announced his presence in a big way that night. Eddie Alvarez was considered a top 5 Lightweight at the time of this fight and nobody gave Chandler a chance. However, with a relentless and aggressive style, Chandler was able to execute his game plan perfectly. The first three rounds were very close, but in the fourth round Chandler ended the fight with an impressive rear-naked choke finish. This fight is the most watched Bellator bout of all time (with over 3.2 million views online) and for good reason. Nothing I can do to describe the fight will ever do it justice. So why not see for yourself – click on the link below and it will take you to Bellator’s official Youtube page, where you can see the fight in its entirety!
Follow Nate Grotenhuis on Twitter @BurgersMMA