Sherdog.com’s 2021 Year-End Awards: The Complete List

Another eventful 12 months have somehow come and gone in the sport of mixed martial arts. Even as the coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc worldwide, Bellator MMA, the Professional Fighters League, One Championship and the Rizin Fighting Federation all pressed forward in one form or another. Fans returned to live-action venues, titles changed hands and MMA took the latest steps in its evolution. Through it all, the Ultimate Fighting Championship remained the industry standard bearer.

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What began on Jan. 16 with a rout for the ages at UFC on ABC 1 concluded on Dec. 18 with a record-setting performance by the knockout king at UFC Fight Night 199. Francis Ngannou, Glover Teixeira, Charles Oliveira, Aljamain Sterling, Brandon Moreno, Julianna Pena and Rose Namajunas all rose to the top of their respective weight classes, while Stipe Miocic, Jan Blachowicz, Petr Yan, Deiveson Figueiredo, Amanda Nunes and Weili Zhang all ceded power through what was, in retrospect, an unusually volatile campaign on the championship front.

The spaces in between were filled with fights that stretched the bounds of our collective imagination, devastating knockouts, bone-crunching submissions, customary judging controversies and the rise of new superstars like A.J. McKee, who will help carry the combat sports torch into a promising but unknown future.

A complete rundown of Sherdog.com’s 2021 Year-End Awards:

Fighter of the Year by Josh Gross
Fight of the Year by Tristen Critchfield
Knockout of the Year by Jay Pettry
Submission of the Year by Ben Duffy
Story of the Year by Tristen Critchfield
Beatdown of the Year by Tyler Treese
Event of the Year by Jay Pettry
Breakthrough Fighter of the Year by Ben Duffy
Robbery of the Year by Brian Knapp
Round of the Year by Lev Pisarsky
Comeback Fighter of the Year by Lev Pisarsky
Upset of the Year by Brian Knapp
Walkout Song of the Year by Jay Pettry

Sherdog’s Year-End Awards were voted upon by the following panel of staff members: John Branningan, Ian Robinson, Keith Shillan, Sean Sheehan, Tristen Critchfield, Jay Pettry, Jeff Villanueva, Tyler Treese, Graeme McDonnell, Harry Powell, Mike Fridley, Ben Duffy, Lev Pisarsky, Tom Feely, Tudor Leonte, Brian Knapp, Marcelo Alonso, Matthieu Leo and Patrick Auger.


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