Joe Lauzon’s 1-2 record in 2012 does not truly tell his tale. | Dave Mandel
2012 All-Violence Second Team
• Heavyweight: Fabricio Werdum
• Light Heavyweight: Glover Teixeira
• Middleweight: Brian Rogers
• Welterweight: Mike Pyle
• Lightweight: Joe Lauzon
• Featherweight: Dustin Poirier
• Bantamweight: Ronda Rousey
• Flyweight: John Lineker
Heavyweight: Werdum is not a name that normally springs to mind when discussing in-cage violence. In fact, he might be the first notable butt scooter to ever make this list. Nonetheless, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace crushed solid heavyweight opposition in lopsided fashion. Werdum is a true big-bodied heavyweight and, despite his lumbering tendencies, Rafael Cordeiro's tutelage has made him a legitimate threat to drive his knee into your mouth. Reputable puncher Roy Nelson caught a wealth of those knees, getting walloped 91-26 in the significant strike department over 15 minutes. He kept the knees up when he met Mike Russow in June before deciding to rip his head off with an uppercut and follow-up right hands.
Light Heavyweight: It is unusual to think about a fighter debuting with a domination of Kyle Kingsbury and, in turn, inspiring discussion of how he would fare against Jon Jones. Yet, that is exactly what Teixeira did in 2012. Long overdue for his time in the Octagon, the big-punching Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt smacked and strangled Kingsbury in less than two minutes, prompting a more appropriate date with Quinton Jackson. When the fight with “Rampage” fell apart due to injury, he wound up pulverizing countryman Fabio Maldonado while referee Mario Yamasaki inexplicably played bystander. Teixeira landed 117 strikes to Maldonado's 14 over two rounds before the ringside physician woke up from his nap. His competition lacked, but Teixeira hurt men standing, on the ground and with submissions in just two fights -- and quite badly at that. We prize this.
Middleweight: Rogers is a true kill-or-be-killed fighter, and he saw both sides of the violence spectrum in 2012. After blowing the doors off of Brazilian Vitor Vianna with a flying knee, he had Andreas Spang on the ropes, until a crisp left hook counter turned his lights out. However, “The Professional Predator” lived up to both seemingly contradictory parts of his nickname in his next outing, beating Dominique Steele around the cage for 15 lopsided minutes, smashing his nose and mouth bloody. Oh yeah, that was the first decision win of his career as a professional or amateur.
Welterweight: Here is to old dogs learning new tricks. More important than Pyle going 3-0 in the UFC in 2012 was the fact that all three wins came by way of knockout. Before the year, he had notched just two KOs in his entire 13-year professional career. The rangy Pyle has always been a swift technician on the mat, but the development of his clinch skills has allowed him to do big damage with knees and follow up with punches. To see a strong fight finisher expand his offensive game in this fashion at the age of 37 is truly heartening and, more importantly, exciting.
Lightweight: Lauzon was one of MMA’s most thrilling fighters in 2012, and for all the right reasons. Sure, he was 1-2. He fought good fighters and produced great fights that spoke to the essential nature of MMA combat in the sport’s best weight class. After getting head kicked by Anthony Pettis in just 81 seconds in February, Lauzon came back to steal three official UFC bonuses in two fights by tapping Jamie Varner in a wild “Fight of the Year” contender. He followed that up with another FOTY candidate at UFC 155 against Jim Miller, never backing down after sustaining a first-round beating and fighting to the final bell with a face that looked flayed. Arbitrary as the UFC’s bonus structure may be, Lauzon is now the all-time leader in the category, one ahead of Anderson Silva. That’s violent company.
Featherweight: After a slick mounted triangle armbar of Max Holloway, Poirier thrilled fans in his “Fight of the Year” with Chan Sung Jung in May. Though Poirier was tapped in the fourth round, he won heaps of fans with his fighting style. However, “The Diamond” was at his best in December, as he carved through the always-tough Jonathan Brookins. In a little more than four minutes, Poirier socked his foe with clean, hard strikes before willing his way to his preferred brabo choke for the win. Shine on, sir.
Bantamweight: Rousey was the "it" figure in 2012, as the sport's breakthrough personality and most-discussed athlete. However, an integral part of her appeal is undoubtedly the fact that through-and-through, Rousey is violent. Miesha Tate made it five times longer than anyone had ever made it with Rousey, and she got her arm gruesomely modified twice. Sarah Kaufman was luckier and took her armbar in just 54 ticks of the clock. Arguably the second and third best women in Rousey's weight class were disposed of as if they were garbage, and that is the dominance we covet. Also: bonus points for the death stares at television reporter Heidi Androl.
Flyweight: Brazilian bomber Lineker debuted in the Octagon with one of the most impressive losing efforts in recent memory. Despite being choked out cold by Louis Gaudinot, Lineker threw 240 strikes and landed 121 in a little less than 10 minutes; ninety-six of those were significant strikes by FightMetric count. Subsequently, he battered defensively savvy veteran Yasuhiro Urushitani all over the cage for 15 minutes. Lineker's insane pursuit of offense is comedic to watch at times, like "Mortal Kombat" button-mashing come to life. It is overwhelmingly unlikely that this is the 23-year-old's last All-Violence appearance.
Continue Reading » Page Four: Third Team