The Year 2013 In Review: The Best of January

By Raphael Garcia

2013 was an exciting year in the world of mixed martial arts. There were countless memorable moments and fights in the last 12 months. Looking back at this year in the sport, we at MMA Ratings are picking out particular moments from every month that stand out amongst them all. These are some of the highlights from the first 31 days of the year:

Fight of the Month: Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson

UFC on Fox 6 

2013 may be remembered as the year that the flyweight division gained strength as a weight class that should not be ignored by MMA fans. Demetrious Johnson ruled the weight class, but faced his toughest battle against one of the hardest-hitting 125-pound fighters on the planet in John Dodson. Their five-round affair headlined UFC on Fox 6 with a fight that was extremely close from start to finish.

Dodson displayed the power that has helped him earn seven knockout victories. “The Magician” would drop “Mighty Mouse” twice in the early goings of the contest, but could not finish the champion. Demetrious was able to weather the storm early and turned the tide from the third round on. He eventually wore Dodson down enough that he would begin to rack up enough points to earn the unanimous decision victory.

UFC on Fox 6

11. Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson (Flyweight Championship): Demetrious Johnson def. John Dodson via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)

Click the stars to rate this fight.

Knockout of the Month: Vitor Belfort head kicks “The Count” 

Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping, UFC on FX 7

2013 was a spectacular year for former champion Vitor Belfort, as he put on an impressive run towards another shot at the middleweight title. His streak started with Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7.

As soon as the fight started, it was apparent that Bisping was close to being outclassed by Belfort. The Brazilian was landing strikes willingly, and there wasn’t much that Bisping could do to stop him. At the end of the first round, Belfort would land a thudding head kick that foreshadowed the outcome that would come less than three minutes later. Another head kick would drop Bisping, as Vitor would follow up with punches to end the fight and earn his first of three stoppages this year.

UFC on FX 7

11. Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping: Vitor Belfort def. Michael Bisping via TKO (kick and punches) at 1:27 of Round 2.

Click the stars to rate this fight.

Submission of the Month: Gabriel Gonzaga taps Ben Rothwell 

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ben Rothwell, UFC on FX 7

Gabriel Gonzaga has flown under the radar in the heavyweight division, as he’s put together a 3-1 campaign this year. He started with a second round submission of Ben Rothwell at UFC on FX 7. Gonzaga used his underrated boxing skills to clip Rothwell, then clasped onto his neck to force the finish. While this was one of many submissions on that card, it is worth noting because Gonzaga should be considered a wild card in a heavyweight division that is in grave need of depth at this point in time.

UFC on FX 7

9. Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ben Rothwell: Gabriel Gonzaga def. Ben Rothwell via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:01 of Round 2.

Click the stars to rate this fight.

Robbery of the Month: Clay Guida is gifted win over Hatsu Hioki 

Clay Guida vs. Hatsu Hioki, UFC on Fox 6 

Clay Guida is known for his frenzied fight style that sees him bounce around the cage and move very frantically. Lately that style has caused some to turn against him, but in his fight against Hatsu Hioki, the judges still awarded him a fight that many believed he lost.

Guida scored one takedown per round and basically held the Japanese fighter down because he was unable to pass Hioki’s guard or deal with his dangerous submission game. Hioki also controlled the fight on the feet, as he scored more strikes in every round of the fight. However, two judges still gave Guida enough of the fight to win via a split decision in what was the first of many bad judging verdicts this year.

UFC on Fox 6

6. Clay Guida vs. Hatsu Hioki: Clay Guida def. Hatsu Hioki via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

Click the stars to rate this fight.

January was an exciting month to kick off mixed martial arts action, in what would be perhaps one of the best years in the sport to date.

Do you agree with these choices for January 2013? Rate these fights and others, and be sure to make your voice heard, so that your favorite fights can be considered for the 2013 Fans’ Choice Awards.

What Do You Think of This Fight/Event?