2019 MMA Sucka Awards

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 06: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria prepares to fight Robert Whittaker of New Zealand in their UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 243 event at Marvel Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The MMA Sucka 2019 Awards are here! 2019 is over and done with and what a year it was. The MMA Sucka Awards will showcase some of that action. We saw some fantastic fights and the emergence of some amazing new talent. We witnessed a host of new champions, the return of Conor McGregor, and much more.

Fighters moved around from the UFC, Bellator and PFL and we were captivated by Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz. Masvidal gave us a stunning 5-second knockout as well as a three-piece with a soda. It was quite a year and we can only imagine 2020 will be even more incredible.

We saw the emergence of Bare Knuckle Boxing and submission grappling took the next step onto the mainstage. It was a year of highs, lows and moments that last a lifetime.

Let’s take a look back at the year that was, with our 2019 Sucka awards. Take a glimpse back at the 2018 MMA Sucka Awards if you’d like to compare.

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Fighter of the Year

Winner: Israel Adesanya 

Adesanya
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 06: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria poses for a portrait backstage after defeating Robert Whittaker of New Zealand in their UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 243 event at Marvel Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

There were plenty of fighters who had tremendous years in 2019, but Israel Adesanya was selected. The MMA Sucka staff were somewhat spread out, overall, the new UFC Middleweight champion earned the vote.

Adesanya started the year out by defeating legend Anderson Silva at UFC 234. It was a hard-fought battle, but we saw some of the gifts that The Last Stylebender possessed and anytime you’re able to get the victory over Anderson Silva, it’s a night to remember. It wouldn’t be the last memorable performance of the year.

In his next fight, Adesanya met Kelvin Gastelum in a fight for the interim middleweight championship. What followed was five rounds of fighting that brought fans everywhere to their feet. It’s on the shortlist for the fight of the year, and it was a star confirming victory for Adesanya, who left Atlanta with a new belt and a solidified reputation.

Israel Adesanya closed out the year by travelling to Australia and taking out Robert Whittaker via knockout in the second round. He became the undisputed middleweight champion and wins the 2019 MMA Sucka Awards fighter of the year.

Jeremy Brand – Henry Cedjudo
Mike Skytte – Alexander Volkanovski
Michael DeSantis – Israel Adesanya 
Mitchell Banuelos – Israel Adesanya 
Ed Gallo – Alexander Volkanovski
Matt Bricker – Scott Askham
Connor Deitrich – Henry Cejudo 
Ash Camyab – Israel Adesanya
Andrew Benjamin – Israel Adesanya
Frazer Krohn – Israel Adesanya
McKenzie Guardiero – Israel Adesanya
Dan Rose – Jorge Masvidal
Wesley Riddle – Alexander Volkanovski
Ashwin Viswanathan – Israel Adesanya

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Fight of the Year

Winner:  Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 13: (L-R) Israel Adesanya lands a spinning reverse elbow against Kelvin Gastelum in their interim middleweight championship bout during the UFC 236 event at State Farm Arena on April 13, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Five crazy rounds, and when it was all said and done, Israel Adesanya was the middleweight champion. Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya threw down! The first three rounds of this fight were crazy. It was a back and forth clash where neither fighter giving any quarter. Both men had a ton of success and it was truly an unbelievable test of wills. The final two rounds saw Adesanya pull ahead and secure the victory. It was an unbelievable night, with back to back fight of the year candidates.

The amazing night also featured fight of the year runner up Dustin Porier and Max Holloway II. It was back to back battles and for fifty minutes, we witnessed the best that sport has to offer.

Jeremy Brand – Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway II
Mike Skytte – Hiromasa Ogikubu vs. Yuki Motoya
Michael DeSantis – Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway II
Mitchell Banuelos – Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Ed Gallo – Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway II
Matt Bricker – Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway II
Connor Deitrich – Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway II
Ash Camyab – Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Andrew Benjamin – Hiromasa Ogikubu vs. Yuki Motoya
Frazer Krohn – Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum
McKenzie Guardiero – Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Dan Rose – Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Wesley Riddle – Vincente Luque vs. Bryan Barberena
Ashwin Viswanathan – Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum

2019 MMA Sucka Awards KO Of the Year:

Winner: Jorge Masvidal over Ben Askren

LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 06: Jorge Masvidal knees Ben Askren in their welterweight fight during the UFC 239 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 6, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)

It took Jorge Masvidal only five seconds to set the MMA world on fire. He stood across the cage from Ben Askren smirking, like he had a secret. He did. Five seconds later, with a flying knee, he let the rest of the world in on it. It was undoubtedly the knockout of the year as well as the moment of the year in the sport of MMA. He uncorked the knee on Askren and followed it up with some ‘super-necessary’ and violent shots on the canvas. It was a moment that had the world abuzz.

There are always some crazy knockouts in the sport of MMA, but none could touch this year’s MMA Sucka KO of the Year winner. Congrats, Gamebread! You’ve got yourself a shiny new 2019 MMA Sucka Award.

Jeremy Brand – Jorge Masvidal over Ben Askren
Mike Skytte – Jorge Masvidal over Ben Askren
Michael DeSantis – Jorge Masvidal over Ben Askren
Mitchell Banuelos – Jorge Masvidal over Ben Askren
Ed Gallo – Israel Adesanya over Robert Whittaker
Matt Bricker – Aleksandar Ilić over Damian Janikowski 
Connor Deitrich – Jorge Masvidal over Ben Askren
Ash Camyab – Jorge Masvidal over Ben Askren
Andrew Benjamin – Kal Asakura over Kyoji Horiguchi
Frazer Krohn – Steven Peterson over Martin Bravo
McKenzie Guardiero – Jorge Masvidal over Ben Askren
Dan Rose – Jorge Masvidal over Ben Askren
Wesley Riddle – Kevin Lee over Gregor Gilespie 
Ashwin Viswanathan – Jorge Masvidal over Ben Askren

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Submission of the Year:

Winner: Bryce Mitchell (Twister) over Matt Sayles

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 07: (L-R) Bryce Mitchell grapples with Matt Sayles in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Capital One Arena on December 07, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

MMA Sucka was pretty split when it comes to the submission of the year. That said, when it was all counted up, Thug Nasty’s Twister submission over Matt Sayles earned the top spot. The Twister is just one of those rare subs that look so amazing, it always shocks audiences. Mitchell was able to pull it off perfectly and in doing so, locked down the award this year.

Jeremy Brand – Bryce Mitchell (Twister) over Matt Sayles
Mike Skytte – Brent Primus (Gogoplata) over Tim Wilde
Michael DeSantis – Bryce Mitchell (Twister) over Matt Sayles
Mitchell Banuelos – Bryce Mitchell Twister over Matt Sayles
Ed Gallo – Rafael Dos Anjos (Arm Triangle) over Kevin Lee
Matt Bricker – Borys Mankowski (Anaconda Choke) over Vaso Bakočević
Connor Deitrich – Bryce Mitchell (Twister) over Matt Sayles
Ash Camyab – Beneil Dariush (Armbar) over Drew Dober
Andrew Benjamin – Patrick Mix (Suloev Stretch) over Isaiah Chapman
Frazer Krohn – Bryce Mitchell (Twister) over Matt Sayles
McKenzie Guardiero – Bryce Mitchell (Twister) over Matt Sayles
Dan Rose – Bryce Mitchell (Twister) over Matt Sayles
Wesley Riddle – Brent Primus (Gogoplata) over Tim Wilde
Ashwin Viswanathan – Misha Cirkunov (Peruvian Necktie) over Jimmy Crute

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Comeback of the Year:

Winner: Stipe Miocic over Daniel Cormier II

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 17: (R-L) Stipe Miocic punches Daniel Cormier in their heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 241 event at the Honda Center on August 17, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Daniel Cormier had defeated Stipe Miocic back in July of 2018, shocking the world. He didn’t just dethrone the champion, he knocked him out. After a successful title defence against Derrick Lewis, it was time for DC and Miocic to run it back. It looked early on like we were going to see more of the same as Cormier took control and won the early part of the fight.

Stipe Miocic wasn’t to be denied though, and he returned the favour, knocking out DC in the fourth round to reclaim his World Title. It was quite a comeback and it once again put Miocic on top of the MMA world. The two will hopefully meet for the third time and its anyone’s guess as to what will go down.

Jeremy Brand – Stipe Miocic over Daniel Cormier II
Mike Skytte – Jairzinho Rozenstruik over Alistair Overeem
Michael DeSantis – Stipe Miocic over Daniel Cormier II
Mitchell Banuelos – Stipe Miocic over Daniel Cormier II
Ed Gallo – Henry Cedjudo over Marlon Moraes
Matt Bricker – Stipe Miocic over Daniel Cormier II
Connor Deitrich – Stipe Miocic over Daniel Cormier II
Ash Camyab – Henry Cedjudo over Marlon Moraes
Andrew Benjamin – Jairzinho Rozenstruik over Alistair Overeem
Frazer Krohn – Stipe Miocic over Daniel Cormier II
McKenzie Guardiero – Henry Cedjudo over Marlon Moraes
Dan Rose – Stipe Miocic over Daniel Cormier II
Wesley Riddle – Jairzinho Rozenstruik over Alistair Overeem
Ashwin Viswanathan – Jairzinho Rozenstruik over Alistair Overeem

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Comeback Fighter of the Year:

Winner: Jorge Masvidal

LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 06: Jorge Masvidal celebrates his win over Ben Askren in their welterweight fight during the UFC 239 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 6, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)

Whether it was dealing out three pieces with a soda, or five-second knockouts, nobody had a comeback year like Jorge Masvidal. After taking the entirety of 2018 off, Masvidal came back in a big, big way. He stopped Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz. He also smacked Leon Edwards backstage in an unsanctioned altercation.

Masvidal didn’t just emerge as a megastar in the cage, he became a superstar outside of it. One of the biggest fan favourites in the sport, fans love his no-nonsense approach and his smack first, ask questions later persona. He’s the modern-day Scarface, and if you doubt that for a second, you’re making a dangerous mistake. He’ll catch you at Whole Foods and give you a fantom smack if you’re not careful.

Jeremy Brand – Jorge Masvidal
Mike Skytte – Jorge Masvidal
Michael DeSantis – Jorge Masvidal
Mitchell Banuelos – Jorge Masvidal
Ed Gallo – Jorge Masvidal
Matt Bricker – Jorge Masvidal
Connor Deitrich – Jorge Masvidal
Ash Camyab – Jorge Masvidal
Andrew Benjamin – Shintaro Ishiwatari
Frazer Krohn – Jorge Masvidal
McKenzie Guardiero – Jorge Masvidal
Dan Rose – Jorge Masvidal
Wesley Riddle – Chan Sung Jung
Ashwin Viswanathan – Jorge Masvidal

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Upset of the Year:

Winner: Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi

(© RIZIN FF)

Since leaving the UFC, Kyoji Horiguchi has been on an incredible roll. He had won 13 of his previous 14 fights as he was slated to take on Kai Asakura at Rizin 18. Asakura was highly regarded but many felt Horiguchi was too experienced and talented for the youngster. They’d soon find out that wasn’t the case.

It took Kai Asakura just over sixty seconds to dispatch of Kyoji Horiguchi and send him to the land of nod. He knocked out the champion in dramatic, jaw-dropping fashion. The bout was a non-title fight, but Horiguchi put the belt on Asakura post-fight and declared him the rightful champion. The two were set to meet again last night, but an ACL injury forced Horiguchi to postpone. They will undoubtedly meet again at some point.

Jeremy Brand – Anthony Pettis vs. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson
Mike Skytte – Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Michael DeSantis – Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Mitchell Banuelos – Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Ed Gallo – Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Matt Bricker – Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Connor Deitrich – Khama Worthy vs. Devonte Smith
Ash Camyab – Allen Crowder vs. Greg Hardy
Andrew Benjamin – Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Frazer Krohn – Jorge Masvidal vs. Darren Till
McKenzie Guardiero – Anthony Pettis vs. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson
Dan Rose – Anthony Pettis vs. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson
Wesley Riddle – Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Ashwin Viswanathan – Douglas Lima vs Michael Page

2019 MMA Sucka Awards UFC Breakout Star of the Year:

Winner: Petr Yan

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 14: Petr Yan celebrates his victory over Urijah Faber in bantamweight fight during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena on December 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yan won the fight with a third-round knockout. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Petr Yan had a breakout year to be sure. In 2019 he defeated three big names in John Dodson, Jimmy Rivera and Urijah Faber. He now finds himself ranked number three in the UFC’s Bantamweight division and a world title fight could well be in his near future. An elimination fight against Aljamain Sterling or Marlon Moraes could be next on his agenda. He’s no longer under the radar, as everyone is perfectly clear on how dangerous he is.

Jeremy Brand – Petr Yan
Mike Skytte – Petr Yan
Michael DeSantis – Petr Yan
Mitchell Banuelos – Petr Yan
Ed Gallo – Petr Yan
Matt Bricker – Petr Yan
Connor Deitrich – Petr Yan
Ash Camyab – Jack Hermansson
Andrew Benjamin – Irene Aldana
Frazer Krohn – Ciryl Gane
McKenzie Guardiero – Petr Yan
Dan Rose – Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Wesley Riddle – Petr Yan
Ashwin Viswanathan –

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Non-UFC Breakout Star of the Year:

Winner: Kai Asakura

(© RIZIN FF)

Kai Asakura has blossomed into a full-on Rizin superstar. Asakura defeated Kyoji Horiguchi in what was voted as the Upset of the Year. Although he lost on New Year’s Eve to Manel Kape, that shouldn’t keep him down long.

He followed up his shocking knockout of Horiguchi by breaking his next opponent’s jaw in the first round at Rizin 19. Asakura blasted Ulka Sasaki in under a minute and seemed to be poised for superstardom. Losing to Kape for the Rizin Bantamweight title is a setback, despite fighting on three consecutive cards, he could use a break. He’ll work his way back into title contention in 2020. He’s an absolute blast to watch.

Jeremy Brand – Kai Asakura
Mike Skytte – Kai Asakura
Michael DeSantis – Kai Asakura
Mitchell Banuelos – Kai Asakura
Ed Gallo – Kai Asakura
Matt Bricker – Salahdine Parnasse
Connor Deitrich – Kai Asakura
Ash Camyab – Kai Asakura
Andrew Benjamin – Kai Asakura
Frazer Krohn – Keifer Crosbie
McKenzie Guardiero – David Michaud
Dan Rose – Kai Asakura
Wesley Riddle – Kai Asakura
Ashwin Viswanathan – Patrick Mix

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Promotion of the Year:

Winner: Ultimate Fighting Championship

(© UFC)

This was a landslide victory by the UFC. The fact is, they promote the biggest fighters and the biggest fights. They are the number one promotion by a wide margin. We might not always love what they do or how they treat the fighters, but they never fail to deliver the amazing action. Rizin and Bellator are a distant competitor with One and PFL even further down the line.

Jeremy Brand – UFC
Mike Skytte – Rizin
Michael DeSantis – UFC
Mitchell Banuelos – UFC 
Ed Gallo – UFC
Matt Bricker – UFC
Connor Deitrich – UFC
Ash Camyab – UFC
Ryan Hobbs –
Andrew Benjamin – Rizin
Frazer Krohn – UFC
McKenzie Guardiero – UFC
Tanner Russ –
Dan Rose – UFC
Mike Lynch –
Wesley Riddle – UFC
Ashwin Viswanathan – UFC

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Analyst of the Year:

Winner: Michael Bisping

OTTAWA, ON – MAY 04: UFC commentator Michael Bisping anchors the broadcast during the UFC Fight Night event at Canadian Tire Centre on May 4, 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

This is one of those things that is subjective. It’s tough to say who is the best, it comes down to who is your cup of tea and what you look for in an analyst. Michael Bisping is a talented fighter and he transitioned seamlessly into the commentary booth. He brings first-hand knowledge of what he’s talking about and a style that is less polished and more honest.

Daniel Cormier got some votes as well, and if he could keep himself from constantly taunting Dominick Cruz, he might have gotten a few more. Paul Felder is in his prime as a fighter and does a great job bringing his insights into the booth as well. It does come down to what you specifically look for.

This is the second year in a row that the Sucka staff have voted Bisping as the Analyst of the year.

Jeremy Brand – Daniel Cormier
Mike Skytte – Michael Bisping 
Michael DeSantis – Michael Bisping 
Mitchell Banuelos – Michael Bisping
Ed Gallo – Daniel Martin
Matt Bricker – Will Vanders
Connor Deitrich – Michael Bisping
Ash Camyab – Dan Hardy
Andrew Benjamin – Chael Sonnen
Frazer Krohn – Paul Felder
McKenzie Guardiero – Paul Felder
Dan Rose – Michael Bisping
Wesley Riddle – Mitch Chilson
Ashwin Viswanathan –

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Event of the Year:

Winner: UFC 236

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 1: A general view of the UFC 236 Press Conference inside T-Mobile Arena on March 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

This one was close, but in the end, UFC 236 took home the trophy. It’s hard to argue with a co-main event and the main event that delivered the two fights of the year. In the feature bout, Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier went to war and fans were treated to 25 minutes of classic action. It was an instant classic and solidified Dustin Poirier as a megastar.

The co-main event gave us our Fight of the Year as Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum went full-on psycho for 25 minutes. You were hard-pressed to find a more entertaining hour of combat sports action this decade than in those back to back fights.

UFC 236 also gave us a wonderful striking clinic put on by Khalil Rountree as he battered Eryk Anders.

Jeremy Brand – UFC 236
Mike Skytte – Rizin 20
Michael DeSantis – UFC 239
Mitchell Banuelos – UFC 247
Ed Gallo – UFC 238
Matt Bricker – KSW 50
Connor Deitrich – UFC 238
Ash Camyab – UFC 239
Ryan Hobbs –
Andrew Benjamin – Rizin 19
Frazer Krohn – UFC 244
McKenzie Guardiero – UFC 244
Tanner Russ –
Dan Rose – UFC 236
Mike Lynch –
Wesley Riddle – Rizin 20
Ashwin Viswanathan – UFC 236

2019 MMA Sucka Awards Gym of the Year:

Winner: City Kickboxing

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 13: Israel Adesanya poses for a post fight portrait with his teammates backstage during the UFC 236 event at State Farm Arena on April 13, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

City Kickboxing has emerged as the top training facility in the world. It bested American Top Team by a score of ten to two. The New Zealand facility exploded onto the scene as it produced multiple UFC champions. Some of the fighters that call City Kickboxing home are Israel Adesanya, Alexander Volkanovski, Dan Hooker and Kai Kara-France. Of course, Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski are both UFC champions.

Head coach Eugene Bareman has found something special and is producing some of the best fighters on earth. In 2018 the gym went 12-1 in the UFC. This year they added two champions. Seems the sky is the limit for City Kickboxing. We’ll see what 2020 brings.

Jeremy Brand – City Kickboxing
Mike Skytte – City Kickboxing
Michael DeSantis – City Kickboxing
Mitchell Banuelos – City Kickboxing
Ed Gallo – City Kickboxing
Matt Bricker – American Top Team
Connor Deitrich – City Kickboxing
Ash Camyab – City Kickboxing
Andrew Benjamin – American Top Team
Frazer Krohn – City Kickboxing
McKenzie Guardiero – City Kickboxing
Dan Rose – City Kickboxing
Wesley Riddle – City Kickboxing
Ashwin Viswanathan – City Kickboxing

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