The 411 MMA Year-End Awards 1.09.14: Part Four - The Worst Fights of 2013
Posted by Larry Csonka on 01.09.2014
From Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156 and Attila Vegh vs. Christian M'Pumbu at Bellator 91 to Jake Shields vs. Tyron Woodley and more, the 411 staff continues their year-end awards by counting down the top 5 worst fights of the year!
Welcome back to the MMA Top 5, year-end awards edition! What we are going to is take a topic and all the writers here on 411 MMA will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, and the end, based on where all of these topics rank on people's list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…
1st - 5
2nd - 4
3rd - 3
4th - 2
5th - 1
At the end we tally the scores and get our overall top 5! It's highly non-official and final, like WAMMA. What we are going to do over the next few weeks is run the column twice a week to crown our best of 2012. From best and worst fight to best fighter and KO of the year, the staff will come together to share out best. Thanks for joining us, and lets get down to work.
The Worst Fights of 2013!
5. Chris Leben vs. Andrew Craig - UFC 162
4. Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira - UFC 156
3. Jake Shields vs. Tyron Woodley - UFC 161
2. Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger - UFC on Fox 8
1. Uriah Hall vs. John Howard - Fight Night 26 - This fight was truly awful. Howard was brought in as a replacement and this was his chance to prove something in his UFC return and for Uriah Hall, this was a chance to make good on his upset loss in the Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale. Both fought with absolutely no urgency and continued to smile and high-five each other throughout the fight, despite being showered with boos from the Boston crowd. Dana White said it best on Twitter shortly after the fight ended, "HORRIBLE!!!!!!! The high 5 fight of the night."
5. Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac - UFC 161
4. Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson - UFC 157
3. Uriah Hall vs. John Howard - Fight Night 26
2. Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira - UFC 156
1. Attila Vegh vs. Christian M'Pumbu - Bellator 91 - Ugh. This fight very nearly made me stop watching MMA altogether, and if not for St. Pierre/Diaz just two weeks later, I probably wouldn't even be doing this year-end stuff. When this fight was over, I was honestly angry that I'd spent twenty-five minutes watching two guys who apparently cared about the fight less than I did just absolutely waste the time of everyone involved - themselves, the officials, the announcers, and the fans.
5. Francis Carmont vs. Costa Philippou, UFC 165
4. Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson, UFC 157
3. Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie, UFC 162
2. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Rashad Evans, UFC 156
1. Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger UFC on Fox 8 - I try to go into most fights with realistic expectations regarding who is in the fight and how things should play out based on the quality of fighter. I tend to not consider smaller promotions for an award like this because I don't expect as much out of those fights as I do major fights in the big league promotions, i.e. the UFC. Sometimes it is difficult to keep things in a realistic perspective. That's the problem that comes with buying too much into the hype of a fight that ends up failing to live up to its promotion, which was the case with the UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Moraga co-main event. Both men were top welterweights on their way towards a title shot. In fact, the winner of the fight was likely to get the next shot at the welterweight belt, or they would have if they both didn't fight so poorly. Rory chose to throw jabs and stay on the outside the entire fight and Ellenberger didn't do much of anything, even when he was clearly down on the scorecards. He said after the fight that nerves got the better of him, which is surprising since he's a 4 year UFC veteran. He should have been ready for this moment but he wasn't and it ended up contributing to an extremely boring, extremely disappointing fight between two men who proved that they are not ready to handle the pressure of competing for, or becoming, a UFC champion. All that trash talk on Twitter for nothing. What a waste.
5. Emanuel Newton vs. Muhammed Lawal - Bellator 107
4. Daniel Cormier vs. Frank Mir - UFC on Fox 7
3. Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira - UFC 156
2. Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida - UFC 157
1. Attila Vegh vs. Christian M'Pumbu - Bellator 91 - Last February, this was the headliner one night as M'Pumbu defended the light heavyweight title for the first time. His challenger was Attila Vegh and if you tried to muster up the willpower to sit through all 25-minutes of this disaster, you showed more power than either fighter that night. To spit in the face of logic and make matters worse, the final scores from the judges read 50-45 (Richard Epinoza), 49-46 (Mark Sanchez) and 48-47 (Felix Rios), though maybe you can give them a pass because there was little action across the bored (misspelled on purpose). The only positive was that they did get the result correct as Vegh won the championship, officially ending the most lackluster title reign in recent memory.
5. Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira - UFC 156
4. Uriah Hall vs. John Howard - Fight Night 26
3. Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson - UFC 157
2. Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac - UFC 161
1. Attila Vegh vs. Christian M'Pumbu - Bellator 91 - I don't generally place Bellator fights on my worst of lists simply because I place a high value on expectation, and I rarely have loft expectations for Bellator fights. That isn't meant as an insult, simply an insight into how I approach these things. So why does this offering from Bellator not only make my list, but top it? Nothing. Five full rounds of nothing. Plenty of other fights this year were either lackluster or ugly as sin, but I don't think anything was this dull. For five rounds Attila Vegh and Christian M'Pumbu did nothing. That's not even much of an exaggeration, this was a horrible fight. There was a title on the line, and neither man did anything. I can appreciate a good tactical fight, not everything needs to be Roadhouse from start to finish, but there was nothing going on in this fight. Neither man wanted to engage, and we got one of the worst title fights in recent memory. While Vegh might have been healthy enough to fight on Bellator's almost PPV event, after this fight it's hard to really fault Bellator for not wanting the guy on the card.
Samer Kadi NOTE: Some of these fights are picked not because they were necessarily "the worst," but rather because of the discrepancy between the quality of the participants and the quality of the fight itself. For instance, Evans and Nogueira should be able to produce far better than their abomination, so they feature on the list.
5.Francis Carmont vs. Costa Philippou
4. Hector Lombard vs. Yushin Okami
3. Urijah Hall vs. John Howard
2. Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
1. Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger - Again, it is not likely that this is literally 2013's worst fight. But factoring in the potential, it sure was one of the most disappointing, and flat out irritating. Dubbed as "having more potential than Georges St-Pierre" by the ever astute and never hyperbolic Joe Rogan, Rory MacDonald was one of the most exciting talents in the spot. He was coming off an admittedly unspectacular win over BJ Penn, but one that showed his skills nonetheless. Paired with a talented welterweight with a knack for fireworks in Jake Ellenberger, the fight had huge promise...until it actually started. I don't care to recall the action, and do not want to put myself through this misery, but let's just say its spot is not undeserved.
5. Houston Alexander Vs Vladdy Matyushenko Bellator 99
4. Rashad Evans Vs Lil Nog
3. Brendan Schaub Vs Lavar Johnson
2. Andre Arlovski Vs Tim Sylvia ONE FC event
1. Jake Shields Vs Tyron Woodley - I put this match at my number one spot for many, many reasons. Firstly it was just a god awful scrap in general. 2ndly when it was announced the first thing to come to mind would be that it was going to be a grind and hump snoozefest, which it was. 3rdly I respect these athletes but never want to tune into there fights unless there opponents can drag something good out of them so pitting them against each other just made it a big pile of suck. But its easy for that to happen when Jake Shields plays his best impersonation of a boring zombie like corpse of Randy Couture fence boxing against a guy who looks like he works out at muscle beach.
5. Any Franics Carmont Fight
4. Rashad Evans vs Little Nog
3. Fabio Maldonado vs Roger Hollet
2. Rory MacDonald vs Jake Ellenberger
1. Vladimir Matyushenko vs Houston Alexander - I was glad when I heard the Janitor signed with Bellator. I figured he would be able to add on a few more wins before he retires against generally lesser competition in Bellator. His first fight with the company was against fellow veteran Houston Alexander. I didn't think this would be fight of the year or anything, but I figured it would at least have decent action and Matyushenko would finish him off fairly early on. Instead we got fifteen minutes of awfulness that completely justified the UFC releasing Matyushenko and reminded me why I don't watch Bellator on a regular basis. Matyushenko won by unanimous decision, but everyone that watched the fight lost that night.
5. BOB SAPP vs Edson Franca
4. Yushin Okami vs Hector Lombard
3. Rashad Evans Vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
2. Jake Shields Vs Tyron Woodley
1. Rory MacDonald vs Jake Ellenberger - There's a lot that's already been said about this fight, and the key is the wasted potential. Rory MacDonald is a really talented young welterweight who had been tearing through the competition at 170 lbs before picking up his biggest career win against the semi-retired BJ Penn. Jake Ellenberger, however, was an athlete in his prime, a very strong defensive wrestler with very aggressive striking and one-punch KO power. Ellenberger generally comes forward, MacDonald generally counters and doles out damage on the ground, so it looked like a perfect styles clash on paper. But, it wasn't to be - and UFC fans haven't forgiven Rory MacDonald since, primarily because he was the one actually able to land what little was actually, well, landed... one to avoid if you want to get your buddy into MMA...