Jon Jones (right) | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
2010 All-Violence First Team
• Heavyweight: Cain Velasquez
• Light Heavyweight: Jon Jones
• Middleweight: Hector Lombard
• Welterweight: Chris Lytle
• Lightweight: Anthony Pettis
• Featherweight: Marlon Sandro
• Bantamweight: Eddie Wineland
• Flyweight: Mamoru Yamaguchi
Heavyweight: Velasquez succinctly smashed two elite heavyweights to win the UFC title. He fought just 6:32 total and scored three knockdowns. Crushing on the feet and on the ground, it seems almost unfathomable -- after looking at how he treated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brock Lesnar -- that many thought Velasquez was a weak offensive fighter after his June 2009 bout with Cheick Kongo.
Light Heavyweight: Jones is the runaway winner at 205 pounds. Among UFC fighters who won at least two fights during 2010, he did it the fastest, with an average of 2:36 in the cage per fight. His spectacular array of offense alone was enough to get him on the list, but his elbows, both for their speed (against Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC Live 2) and power (against Brandon Vera at UFC Live 1), cement his First Team status, heads and shoulders above his contemporaries in a division that did not feature a ton of high-level violence in 2010.
Middleweight: Lombard stopped three of his five 2010 foes and battered the other two who went the distance. His six-second knockout of Jay Silva and 38-second KO of Herbert Goodman were among the year’s most brutal. Even when he fails to secure a first-round stoppage, Lombard throws with ill intent until the final bell, on the feet or on the ground. Lombard is a fighter whose sensibilities are almost entirely in line with the spirit of the All-Violence list.
Welterweight: Lytle is MMA’s blood-and-guts warrior for a reason and poster boy for this list. Incredibly, he did it in 2010 without a knockout. His slick-and-nasty submission wins over Brian Foster and Matt Brown -- especially the kneebar on Foster at UFC 110 -- were tailor-made for this team. He finished the year by clubbing former welterweight champion Matt Serra in a fight that, according to FightMetric, saw Lytle land 153 significant strikes (think power punches in boxing) -- an all-time UFC record.
Lightweight: Pettis is the refutation of violence as thoughtless and brutish. A thoughtful, slick tactician in the cage, he finished three of his four foes in 2010, including a brutal head kick stoppage of Danny Castillo at WEC 47 in March. Still, it was his nick-of-time, off-the-wall head kick on Benson Henderson to earn the WEC lightweight title that crystalized him as a true purveyor of MMA-style highlight reel violence.
Featherweight: Sandro is not as well-known as his teammate and pound-for-pound star, Jose Aldo, but, at times, he is even more violent. In 2010, Sandro put both Tomonari Kanomata and Masanori Kanehara -- two quality featherweights -- on stretchers. It took him only a combined 47 seconds. His right uppercut is one of the most ferocious punches in MMA and single-handedly -- no pun intended -- landed him in this spot.
Bantamweight: With the division’s two most sensational stoppages of the year, Wineland is an easy choice as 135-pound representative. In June, he put away Will Campuzano with a crushing punch to the guts in a thrillingly violent affair at WEC 49. He followed up in December by slamming Ken Stone through the floor in one of the year’s most arresting moments. No bantamweight was even close to Wineland’s violent streak in 2010.
Flyweight: The flyweight division is developing faster than ever, and one can only hope future flyweights are cut from the same cloth as Yamaguchi. He delivered three stoppages in 2010, and all of them were suitably violent. He essentially KO’d Frank Baca with a wicked standing elbow before choking him out, mashed Greg Guzman with a torrent of elbows and kicked off Fumihiro Kitahara’s block. The unexpected throws, the head kicks, the elbows -- Yamaguchi’s offense is true V.
Continue Reading » Page Three: Second Team