Not many things make Hector Lombard smile, but violence seems to do the trick. | Photo: Keith Mills
2011 All-Violence Second Team
• Heavyweight: Frank Mir
• Light Heavyweight: Dan Henderson
• Middleweight: Hector Lombard
• Welterweight: Jake Ellenberger
• Lightweight: Frankie Edgar
• Featherweight: Pat Curran
• Bantamweight: Bibiano Fernandes
• Flyweight: Dustin Ortiz
Heavyweight: Few in MMA have ever shown off the kind of submission-oriented violence that Frank Mir has, and that was prior to his magnum opus in 2011. In May, Mir was solid if unspectacular in a one-sided beatup of Roy Nelson. However, in December, the former UFC champion got into the All-V pantheon once again as he came back in thrilling fashion not just to beat, not even just to submit, but to break the right humerus of legendary heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Mir is not only now the first man to knock out and to tap Nogueira in MMA competition, but he did both of them after flying off of his motorcycle seven years ago, an injury that once threatened his career.
Light Heavyweight: If not for the success of Jon Jones, Dan Henderson might’ve been a consensus Fighter of the Year. That notwithstanding, the 41-year-old Henderson turned in some sensational violence in 2011. Even if we ignore his heavyweight handling of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko -- the first man to stop Emelianenko in that kind of fashion -- his 205-pound accomplishments were sensational. Henderson started the year by blasting Brazilian Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante to the Strikeforce title, and ended it by beating the tar out of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for 15 minutes of their 25-minute slobberknocking war. Henderson’s right hand continues to be the very substance this list is made of.
Middleweight: Another year, another handful of hapless Hector Lombard foes. Lombard, first-team All-V in 2010, returns to the list after another vicious year. There’s no question that the Cuban ex-pat faced limited opposition, as his best foe was TUF 7 castoff Jesse Taylor, the rest a faded bunch of serviceable veterans. Nonetheless, the gruesome way in which Lombard was able to both absolutely destroy both Falaniko Vitale and Trevor Prangley is worth consideration, as well as giving Joe Doerksen a bloodbath, and his nifty heel hook on Taylor. In 2011, Lombard’s violence was as multi-faceted as it was brutal.
Welterweight: In February, Jake Ellenberger got some flak for a conservative decision over an unwieldy Carlos Eduardo Rocha. Unsatisfied, the nasty Nebraskan smashed Sean Pierson so bad in April that his opponent forgot to fall down for a moment. However, Ellenberger’s appearance on this list is largely due to the fact that he drove his kneecap into two-division standout and pound-for-pound entrant Jake Shields’ face in a mere 53 seconds. It was the first time in over 11 years and 30 fights that Shields had been stopped.
Lightweight: Frankie Edgar is one of 2011’s simultaneously most unlikely and most deserving All-V entrants. On the first day of the year, Jan. 1, Edgar made his second UFC lightweight title defense against Gray Maynard, and took an arguable 10-7 smashing for the ages before roaring back to a draw in one of the best fights in MMA history. Ten months later in Houston, he repeated his Rocky antics, except this time, he turned Gray Maynard’s lights out in shocking fashion. Edgar’s unparalleled resolve coupled with his thrilling surprise stoppage of Maynard made his appearance on this list a no-brainer.
Featherweight: He didn’t offer Eddie Alvarez much in April, but after dropping back down to 145, Pat Curran got nasty in the Bellator cage. Not unlike his undead Korean counterpart, the 24-year-old Curran also turned in one of 2011’s best submissions, as well as one of the year’s best knockouts. In June, Curran had a deliciously poetic Peruvian necktie submission over Peru native Luis Palomino, but excelled himself two months later with a decapitating head kick of former All-V first-teamer Marlon Sandro. Like Jung, Curran knew the violent flavor combination we so crave.
Bantamweight: Bibiano Fernandes was no pussycat prior to 2011, but the former Dream featherweight champion seriously wasn’t an offensive wizard. Dropping to bantamweight, the former BJJ world champion stepped up his offense big time, quickly choking out super-tough Takafumi Otsuka in 41 seconds. On Dec. 31, he busted up rock-solid Brazilian Rodolfo Marques Diniz before clearing out UFC vet Antonio Banuelos in 81 seconds with his hands to take the Dream bantamweight crown. Good on you, Bibi.
Flyweight: Dustin Ortiz proved himself to be the owner of some Tasmanian Devil-like offense and an indomitable spirit in 2011. Though he couldn’t top Ian McCall in May, Ortiz’s toughness was on vivid display and he never stopped landing licks. In December, Ortiz sealed the deal by having an insane action fight with Midwesterner Josh Rave. Although a ringside doctor saw to it that Rave was stopped unnecessarily with 22 seconds to fight, that does nothing to impeach the thrill and efficacy of Ortiz’s scrambling and scrapping at 125 pounds.
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