“The modern artist must live by craft and violence. His gods are violent gods.” -- Ezra Pound | Photo: Dave Mandel
For those sick of mid-fight hugs and high fives, this is the list you waited all year for.
On the very first day of 2011, UFC 125 in Las Vegas featured Jeremy Stephens blowing Marcus Davis’ doors off in stark fashion, Dustin Poirier using Josh Grispi as a heavy bag, Thiago Silva using Brandon Vera as a bongo drum, and Brian Stann using Chris Leben as a tent peg.
Then, imagine our surprise then when Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard -- two fighters tabbed to have a blasé rematch of little note, title fight or not – went out and staged a 25-minute classic. Yet, it wasn’t even the most violent fight they would even have this year.
On Dec. 31, as the year came to a close, Shinya Aoki forced Satoru Kitaoka to respire the blood from his own mangled nose before heavyweight icon Fedor Emelianenko clobbered Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii before the stroke of midnight. 2011 was a year of particularly intense action, perfectly book-ended. This is the second annual All-Violence team, the roster of 2011’s MMA action heroes.
If you are unfamiliar with the mandate, read this. This is where we reward those exceptional athletes with a flair for the dramatic and jaw-dropping, those with the ecstatic fusion of technique, artistry and brutality, the prizefighters who keep us glued to Youtube, and stroking the Retweet button.
The nature of 2011’s All-V roster perhaps suggests something about how action-packed and dramatic the year was. This squad returns only four members from 2010’s All-Violence Team, with Jon Jones, Junior dos Santos, Hector Lombard and Alexander Shlemenko earning repeat honors. However, this year’s list features five divisional aces -- four of whom garnered First-Team status -- and many notable top challengers. Quite simply, in 2011, MMA’s alpha dogs showed off their offensive skills.
It was a year where flying front kick knockouts and broken arms became nearly passé. However, MMA’s violence landscape did have a notable departure, as longtime welterweight brawler and All-Violence inspiration Chris Lytle decided to call it a career this past August.
After 12 years and over 50 MMA bouts, Lytle went out in a befitting fashion: he went out with integrity and dignity, tapping Dan Hardy out in the third round, but not before landing 127 significant strikes by FightMetric.com count. With that performance, Lytle recorded his fourth bout with over 100 significant strikes landed, a categorical lead that he now shares with Nick Diaz. An All-Violence first-team entrant in 2010, few men were as generous with their public offerings of violence as Lytle, and for that, we’re indebted.
Now, here’s 24 athletes that not unlike Chris Lytle, know exactly how to get into an animated .gif.
Continue Reading » Page Two: First Team