I believe it is fair to say that this year, and most definitely from a sporting standpoint, has been awful. One constant throughout all this has been MMA. Dana White delivered on his promise to keep bringing fights to fight fans during this pandemic, and boy did we get some good shows. We are going to be handing out the following awards: Male and Female Fighter of the Year, Fight of the Year, Breakout Star of the Year, Knockout of the Year, and Submission of the Year. Here are Vendetta Sports Media’s 2020 MMA Awards.
Submission of the Year: Aljamain Sterling taps Cory Sandhagen
This gets the nod for submission of the year based on the fact of the build-up to this fight. Two top-five bantamweights going toe to toe both claiming to have a resume built to earn them a shot at the title. Sterling went in like a machine and submitted Sanhagen in 88 seconds, showing why he is deserving of a championship fight next. So, what does this mean? Will he get one? That is to be determined.
Knockout of the Year: Joaquin Buckley kicks Impa Kasanganay’s head clean off
There is no debate on this. You can claim Cody Garbrandt’s one-shot KO of Raphael Assuncao deserves the spot, but come on. When was the last time you saw a man get his kick caught, and turns around and decapitates someone like that? You can’t tell me that didn’t instantly earn the top spot on this list. Bright things are on the horizon for Mr. Buckley.
Female Fighter of the Year: Amanda Nunes
This is another pick that I feel like needs no explanation. Amanda Nunes fought for, and won, the featherweight belt against Felecia Spencer making her a two-division champ again. Truth be told, the fact that she wants to fight Jake Paul is enough reason for me to give her Fighter of the Year. I hope that fight does happen in 2021 and she kills him. But I highly doubt it does.
Male Fighter of the Year: Deiveson Figueiredo
At the beginning of 2020, Figueiredo was in the middle of the pack at 125. He closed out 2020 with a Fight of the Year nominee with Brandon Moreno for the Bantamweight belt. Figueiredo propelled himself to the top of the division with wins over Joseph Benavidez (x2) and a dominant submission win over Alex Perez to win the belt in November. Because of this, our MMA Awards had to recognize Deiveson Figueiredo for Male Fighter of the Year.
Fight of the Year: Zhang Weili x Joanna Jedrzejczyk
2020 brought us a bounty of top tier fights: Moreno/Figueiredo, Poirier/Hooker, Emmett/Burgos just to name a few. But hands down, the best fight in 2020 came back in March, between Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejcyk. These two ladies went toe to toe for 25 hellacious minutes to determine the Strawweight Queen. And for my money, this is on the shortlist for the greatest fight of all time. If you have never seen this fight, please stop what you’re doing and YouTube it. We were truly blessed to have had this fight before the pandemic set in simply to have a crowd with this fight.
These have been Vendetta Sports Media’s 2020 MMA Awards!