It’s a wrap. The Year 2009 is in the books for the Maximum Fighting Championship so it is time once again to review the very best of the campaign gone by with the Z-Files’ annual look at the Top 10 finishes and fights.
After scrolling through the Top 10 Submissions and Knockouts of the Year for 2009, it’s time to put a final stamp on the proceedings with a look back at the 10 best Fights of the Year. Already we’ve seen Ryan Machan get credit for the best submission of ’09 while Pete “The Secret Weapon” Spratt was duly awarded the year’s best knockout. A year ago, the welterweight title fight between Pat “Bam Bam” Healy and Ryan Ford took the honor as the MFC‘s Fight of the Year, and now it‘s come time to crown 2009’s best showdown.
As with the Top 10 Submissions and Knockouts, the Top Fights of the Year will include not just the MFC but also Heat XC, the top developmental organization for the Maximum Fighting Championship.
10. Solomon Hutcherson def. Dave Mewborn (Unanimous Decision, Round 3, MFC 20): Both fighters were hungry to show that they belonged in the MFC. Very good back-and-forth throughout, highlighted by moments in the third round where the pair stood toe-to-toe and fired off strikes. Hutcherson, ailing from a bad shoulder, controlled enough of the warfare to pull off the verdict.
9. Nick Thompson def. Paul Daley (Unanimous Decision, Round 3, MFC 20): Daley, a renown striker, had his moments, catching Thompson in a few exchanges that nearly had the American in trouble. But the Brit couldn’t hit it out of the park with that one finishing blow and found himself in trouble when Thompson got it to the ground. Strategic see-saw action for both guys but it was the domination on the ground that gave Thompson the slight edge.
8. Pat Healy def. Ryan Ford (Split Decision, Round 5, MFC 20): A rematch of their first encounter in the inaugural MFC welterweight title fight. Healy again carried the action when it went to the mat, surviving Ford’s slams, and then looking for the submission. The defending champ was never in trouble, though surprisingly, the judges’ totals made it a lot closer than it really was.
7. Diego Wilson def. Luis Huete (2:33, Round 1, Heat XC 3): It didn’t last long but the torrid pace these two put out for the short span was worthy of much attention. Fast, furious, and ferocious. Huete looked to have the fight locked with a nasty armbar/triangle attempt, but Wilson powered out and chalked up the win with ground-and-pound fury. Sometimes they don’t have to be long to be memorable.
6. Kajan Johnson def. Josh Russell (5:00, Round 2, Heat XC 4): Russell was on fire in the opening round, throwing Johnson over his hip and crashing him head first into the mat. Those first minutes were a clinic in submissions as Russell had Johnson tied up several times yet the scrappy “Rajin” escaped. In Round 2, Johnson’s stand-up took over and a vicious knee split Russell’s eyebrow wide open. An electric contrast in styles – jiu-jitsu vs. striker – ended at Round 2’s conclusion upon the advice of the doctor.
5. Jason Kuchera def. Taylor Bull (4:15, Round 2, Heat XC 4): It’s not who starts out strong, but who finishes strong. Bull couldn’t miss with his punches in Round 1. While not lethal, his precision shots busted open Kuchera whose face was a mess after just five minutes. But Round 2 was all Kuchera who finally found his spots with wild shots that connected with power. Bull stood in for a while, but Kuchera’s might ultimately won out and destructive ground-and-pound ended it.
4. Trevor Prangley def. Emanuel Newton (Unanimous Decision, Round 5, MFC 21): One of those fights that takes a little bit off the careers just from the overall damage done. Newton used rugged tactics throughout – knees and strikes in the clinches were his best attacks. Prangley, meanwhile, was sharper from the get-go and picked his spots. The last 10 seconds of the fight were wild particularly the final ticks as Prangley nearly scored the most-dramatic of knockouts with a well-timed head kick as the bell sounded that left both fights on their backs.
3. Nick Hrynchyshyn def. Jesse MacDougall (4:29, Round 2, MFC 22): It was the opening fight of the night and set the house on fire. By the time it ended the greyish blue of the canvas had been stained almost thoroughly red. “It looks like a crime scene in here,” touted ring announcer Brad Kelly. Hrynchynshyn was worse for wear early on but he caught MacDougall with a flurry late in Round 2 that dropped his opponent for good. Spectacular effort by two young guns who let guts and glory prevail over smarts and skill.
2. Bryan Baker def. Art Santore (Unanimous Decision, Round 3, MFC 23): Clash of fast-rising star versus old-guard veteran turned into an incredible battle from two guys who refused to give up. By the end of Round 2, Santore was a bloodied pulp but still was in it as he used crafty techniques and a die-hard attitude to keep Baker in check while drawing a standing ovation from the crowd. Still, Baker’s overall will was stronger as he beat Santore to the punch time and time again leaving his opponent looking like he’d hit a wall head-on. Deserved win for Baker, but an equally deserving pat on the back for Santore.
And the 2009 MFC Fight of the Year goes to …
1. Mike Nickels def. David Heath (4:02, Round 3, MFC 22): How many times can two fighters draw fans to their feet in appreciation? This one lost track but it was impressive to say the least. Nickels, a highly regarded jiu-jitsu practitioner, abandoned his forte and decided to slug it out with the pugilist Heath. The Oklahoman refused to give in on the stand-up, dropping his hands and encouraging Nickels to bring it, and they slugged it in the middle of the ring and with their backs against the ropes. Punch after punch connected and rattled skulls. Finally Nickels wised up, got an exhausted Heath down and slipped in the fight-ending rear-naked choke. An epic battle that left a sold-out crowd in awe.