By TXMMA Staff // Emil Fischer // Photos – UFC.com, Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Looking back at the Top 10 UFC stories involving the lone star state in 2014
2014 was the UFC’s 21st year during which the UFC took many great strides. Throughout the year, fight fans got to see new champions crowned, long time champions have to step aside, and there were many opportunities for Texan fans to be proud!
Here are the top 10 events and individuals of 2014:
#1 – Johny Hendricks and the welterweight Title
After losing a close and controversial decision to GSP late in 2013, Big Rig fought for the vacant welterweight title in Las Vegas on March 15th, beating a game opponent in Robbie Lawler. This fight was a barn burner, and though it was close, it was a decisive victory for Hendricks. Unfortunately on December 6th Hendricks lost another controversial decision to Lawler, making a trilogy a near certainty. Bear in mind that no other title contender in UFC history has stripped the titled of the current champ by Split Decision. Johny Hendricks definitely has proven himself to be the top UFC fighter out of Texas in 2014.
#2 – UFC 181: The whole event…
Texans only headlined a few UFC events in 2014, and UFC 181 was by far the most impressive. A quick recap of the event (held in Las Vegas, NV): the only decision on the card was the explosive battle between previously mentioned Texan Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler, and there was only one decision on the prelim. All the other fights were stoppages and impressive ones at that. Unfortunately in this day of age, fight fans don’t always get what they want (which is fights that end decisively), this event gave the fans a real treat. Lots of explosive knockouts, lots of slick submissions, and a main event that, regardless of feelings on the outcome, was an impressive display.
#3 – Charles Oliveira’s entire year
2014 was great for Charles Oliveira. His last fight in July 2013 was a loss to Frankie Edgar. In 2014 the Brazilian Houston based fighter scored two back to back performance of the night victories on February 15th and June 28th submitting both opponents, and most recently on December 12th scored a Unanimous Decision victory over Jeremy Stevens. Moving forward he may want to consider going up to lightweight given that he keeps missing weight at featherweight.
#4 – Carlos Diego Ferreira’s triumphant entry to the UFC
Coming the UFC with a 9-0 record, and enjoying an impressive run through Legacy, Carlos Diego Ferreira has proven himself a force to be reckoned with. Ferreira fought three times in the Octagon in 2014, finishing two opponents and losing his most recent fight against Beneil Dariush by decision. Texan fight fans can rest assured that 2015 will give Ferreira an opportunity to reestablish himself as a top contender.
#5 – The Green Ranger’s call out of CM Punk
Love him or hate him, respect him or disregard him, CM Punk (AKA Phil Brooks) will be fighting in the UFC in the near future. Houstonian Jason David Frank (aka The Green Ranger/The White Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) called out Brooks immediately after the announcement of his signing to the UFC. The legitimacy of this callout is questionable as Frank is not signed to the UFC, but it garnered a LOT of attention and talk. For anyone who doesn’t know, Jason David Frank’s amateur mma record is 4-0 and he’s gone 1-0 as a pro. He could be a legitimate opponent for CM Punk and the marketing opportunities for the UFC would be enormous.
#6 – Tim Kennedy Vs. Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping is a polarizing character. He talks a lot of trash and that can be something that fans either love or abhor. Tim Kennedy’s approach to his fight with Bisping was to essentially mock Bisping and then use his superior techniques to beat Bisping in style. Also, in spite of losing by KO, Tim Kennedy put on a fight of the night performance against Yoel Romero at UFC 178, giving Romero a real fight. Expect Kennedy to put on more great shows in 2015.
#7 – Derrick Lewis’s entry to the UFC Heavyweight Ranks
4OZ Fighter Derrick Lewis has shown himself to be a fearsome finisher in his early professional career. Prior to his entry to the UFC he had 8 KO/TKO victories, 1 submission victory and zero decisions. Lewis entered the UFC in April and ran through his first two opponents with first round knockouts. Unfortunately for him though he suffered his first loss in the UFC to Matt Mitrione (also a first round knockout). Expect to see Lewis show his true potential in 2015, his ability to quickly end fights will continue to make him a fan favorite, especially amongst the huge Texan fan base.
#8 – Jared Rosholt’s showing in the Heavyweight Division
Team Takedown’s Jared Rosholt entered the UFC late in 2013, and in 2014 went 2-1, losing his most recent fight to Alexey Oleinik. Rosholt is a talented fighter and Texan fans can expect him to bounce back from his recent loss. The Arlingtonian had a high finishing rate prior to the UFC, fans can expect to see Rosholt come back with a vengeance in 2015.
#9 – UFC Fight Night: Edgar Vs. Swanson
Austin Texas had a great event on November 22nd. Frankie Edgar suffered a three loss streak when he lost his title back in 2012, UFC Fight Night Edgar vs. Swanson marked the culmination of a 3 fight win streak since his last loss. Far More impressive, the victory came by way of a submission with only four seconds left in the fight earning Edgar a performance on the night victory. Frankie Edgar took Cub Swanson off of a 6 fight win streak when he scored this submission victory. The rest of the fight card wasn’t bad, but the headline fight really put an exclamation point on the event.
#10 – Johnny Bedford Vs. Rani Yahya
DFW native Johnny Bedford and Rani Yahya faced off against each other on April 11th in Abu Dhabi at UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs Nelson. That fight ended when an accidental headbutt rendered Yahya unable to continue. Bedford felt that he should be awarded a TKO victory but the fight was ruled a no contest. The two were then supposed fight again on June 28th at UFC Fight Night: Edgar Vs. Swanson but instead Cody Gibson stepped in for Yahya and knocked Bedford out early in the first round. The Yahya/Bedford fight finally took place on September 13th and this time Yayha was victorious by way of a second round Kimura submission. This is likely to become a bit of a rivalry, and fans love rivalries!
2014 was great! 2015 will be starting off with a bang and fight fans can rest assured that the UFC will continue to provide the very best in MMA action.