Maximo Blanco (top) | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
2010 All-Violence Second Team
• Heavyweight: Alistair Overeem
• Light Heavyweight: Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante
• Middleweight: Robbie Lawler
• Welterweight: Brian Foster
• Lightweight: Maximo Blanco
• Featherweight: Jose Aldo
• Bantamweight: Joseph Benavidez
• Flyweight: Darrell Montague
Heavyweight: Overeem’s greatest achievement in 2010 was his K-1 World Grand Prix win, but his two MMA bouts showed some serious violence, too. He was in MMA action for just 239 seconds in 2010, but according to FightMetric, he landed 44 significant strikes anyway and absorbed only three. That means he landed more than 11 significant strikes per minute and absorbed just 0.753 per minute. His plus-minus (10.297) was the highest FightMetric tracked all year, ahead of Cung Le (7.246), Cain Velasquez (6.433), Shane Carwin (5.580) and Junior dos Santos (5.334). Basically, “The Reem” kills an opponent while remaining unscathed.
Light Heavyweight: It was a light year for violence at 205 pounds, Jon Jones aside, but Cavalcante reaffirmed why people were excited about him as a prospect. Against Antwain Britt, he was stunned and swung for the fences, scoring a comeback in thrilling fashion. In his August title capture against Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, he showed more precision and technique in his violent game to earn the win.
Middleweight: Lawler, one of MMA’s most fearsome punchers, may do one specific thing better than anyone else in MMA: no one can drop a fighter with a punch and follow it immediately after with a laser-guided, diving bomb to the chin that seals the deal. Both of Lawler’s victims in 2010, Melvin Manhoef and Matt Lindland, can attest to it. Little flairs like that, in addition to his power, certify Lawler in the violence department.
Welterweight: Foster may never be a serious title contender in the UFC, but in every facet of MMA, he is cutthroat in his pursuit of violence. All three of Foster’s 2010 bouts, even his February loss to Chris Lytle, are a testament to the kind of violence this list espouses. Whether it is on the feet or on the ground, by knockout or submission, someone is getting hurt. Among UFC fighters who won at least two fights during 2010, Foster holds the third-fastest average fight time (3:20) behind only Jon Jones (2:36) and Cain Velasquez (3:16).
Lightweight: Those of you who have not seen Blanco before need to get to YouTube as fast as you can. A heaven-sent combination of a Tasmanian devil and TNT, he is an absolute storm in the ring, from the first punch until the last brutal kick. Blanco has emerged as perhaps the foremost rejection of the idea that high-level wrestlers make for boring MMA fighters. When he is in kill mode, his ferocity and bloodlust simply have no parallel in MMA. The last 10 seconds of his October bout with Kiuma Kunoku are what violence is all about.
Featherweight: With Anderson Silva’s turn for the taciturn, Aldo is MMA’s principal pound-for-pounder in terms of violence. No super-elite fighter mixes beating great opposition with the gruesome style points of Aldo. Sometimes, it is like the grind of sandpaper, as his 25-minute near-amputation of Urijah Faber’s leg in April. Sometimes, it is a shotgun blast to the face, like his September win over Manny Gamburyan. It is hard to imagine Aldo not racking up All-Violence status for years to come.
Bantamweight: Benavidez may not seem as ferocious as some of his contemporaries on this list, but in a division lacking in violence in 2010, his campaign stands out. The second round of his March win over Miguel Torres was as grotesque as any scene of the year, from the elbow that unzipped Torres’ forehead to the crushing guillotine that ended it. In November, on short notice no less, he guillotined another Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in Wagnney Fabiano. Between Torres’ cavernous cut and high-level neck wringing, Benavidez belongs here.
Flyweight: When Montague won his June 2008 debut against Dillion Croushorn with a brutal spinning back fist, it was a sign of what was to come. One of the 125-pound division’s most exciting up-and-comers, Montague’s striking skills are both flashy and fearsome. He showed a bit of both in 2010, as he stopped veteran Jeremy Bolt with a nasty roundhouse kick to the guts in May and then smashed Luis Gonzalez with his hands in September.
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