Let us start off by thanking you all for following the website and Facebook page. We have had quite a ride locally, regionally and nationally following fighters and their performances. We have busted our butts (and wallets) in trying to provide you the coverage over the past year. We pride ourselves in our content and professionalism.
The results for our 2012 awards are simply the thoughts of three individuals. Please do not take our nominations and winners as the end all be all; there is room for discussion and in fact we encourage it, it will help the combat sports community we love grow.
Without further ado here are our 2012 nominees and winners for the first ever SouthWest Fight News Awards…
(Criteria: Fighters have to be a native New Mexican/El Pasoan, be announced as representing the area or they have to have had a meal at Frontier, Chicos or Chopes…)
Boxer Of the Year
Austin Trout- After being criticized by the mainstream for a “lackluster” performance against Delvin Rodriguez in June (a fight which he dominated), he came back to easily outpoint the legendary Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden. The victory catapulted Trout to top tier of the 154-lb division along with several pound for pound lists. Let us hope a fight with Canelo awaits him in 2013.
Other nominees: Holly Holm, Abraham Han, Tony Valdez, Brandi Montoya.
MMA Figher Of the Year (TIE)
Carlos Condit – Jackson’s/Winkeljohn’s
Despite losing a unification title match against Georges St. Pierre, Condit became the first native New Mexican to claim a UFC title by defeating Nick Diaz in February.
He will look to get back into title contention as he faces top prospect Rory McDonald in a rematch of a fight that was mostly dominated by McDonald before Condit pulled an epic comback.
Brenda Gonzales- FIT NHB
It was a break through year for Gonzales. She claimed the KOTC Junior Flyweight title by defeating Sarah Alpar. Less than two months after capturing the belt she defended it against Elsie Zwicker, ending the latter’s 6-0 undefeated streak at home.
Tim Means, Joby Sanchez, John Dodson, Cub Swanson, Érik Pérez
BJJ Fighter of the Year
Roberto ‘Tussa’ Alencar (Gracie Barra NM) –
After bringing home a bronze medal from the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in June, November would see Alencar capture a gold medal in the heavyweight division at the 2012 IBJJF NoGi Wolds.
Other Nominees: Tammy Griego, Rafael ‘Barata‘ Freitas
Robbery of the Year
Boxing– Michael Perez def. Fidel Maldonado Jr.
Maybe Maldonado’s reluctancy to engage in the first third of the fight cost him the bout with one of the judges. While scoring it at home we had Maldonado up by two points going into the 10th round. What is even stranger is that both fighters are promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, someone forgot to tell Bernard Hopkins that, as he spent all of pre-fight and post-fight with Perez.
Other Nominees: Boxing- Raul Carillo def. Josh Torres
MMA– Russel Doane def. Frank, MMA- Matt Riddle def. Henry Martinez,
Boxing: Nathaniel Hicks def. Nazareth Rojas
Boxing KO of the Year
–Antonio Escalante def. Leonilo Miranda (Right Hook) Just click the link and see why this was a no-brainer. The El Pasoan would go on and lose his next fight to Rocky Juarez.
-Raymond Montes def. Jaime Gutierrez (Right cross)
-Tony Valdez def. Raymond Montes II (Referee/Corner Stoppage)
-Jose Luis Sanchez def. Guy Youell (Body Shot)
MMA KO of the Year
Jerry Sano (Bushido MMA) def. George Clynes – MMA Summer Showdown (Right Uppercut)- The bout was never supposed to take place. Clynes was originally scheduled to face another fighter for the New Mexico Extreme 155lb title. It was when the fighter claimed to not be able to get off of work the day of the event that Sano, gladly jumped in to take his place and take advantage of the opportunity.
Érik Pérez def. Ken Stone- UFC 155
Jessie Jaramillo def. Dorian Dixon – Jackson’s MMA Series IX
Tim Means def Justin Salas – UFC on FX 3 – Johnson vs. McCall
Clint Roberts def. Geronimo Gonzalez- Mescalero Warrior Challenge II
Eric Dodson def. Fernie Garcia – Jackson’s MMA Series IX
Submission of the Year
Henry Martinez (Jackson’s MMA) def. Ali Hanjani (Reverse Triangle)
Joby Sanchez def. Christopher Dunn (Triangle) – XFC 20
Hunter Tuck def. Nate Patterson (Rear Naked Choke) – Jackson’s MMA Series IX
Nick Urso def. Paco Castillo (RNC) Mescalero Warrior Challenge II
MMA Fight of the Year (TIE)
Armando Rivas (Bushido MMA) vs. Daniel Martinez (LA Boxing)- MMA Summer Showdown (Amateur)- It was a back and forth match that showcased incredible technical skill and will from both men. Rivas was competing in his second fight while Martinez was making his debut. The fight however saw talent that would have drawn praise by fighters at any level and experience.
Julie Kedzie (Jackson’s) vs. Meisha Tate – Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman
Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc vs. Angelica Chavez – Invicta FC 2
Frank Baca vs. Isaac Colon- KOTC Final Countdown
Adrian Cruz vs. Jesus Urbina- KOTC Ignite
Boxing – Fight of the Year
Tony Valdez vs Raymond Montes II– Breathtaking to say the least. The desire and will to win displayed by the two fighters cannot even be rivaled by anything we have seen this year. Greatest fight in SWFight.com history. The bout would mark an end to Montes’ career and a rebirth of sorts for Valdez.
Raul Carrillo vs Josh Torres- Longmont, Colorado
Cristian Cabral vs. Michael Coca Gallegos
Tony Valdez vs Raymond Montes I
Angelo Sanchez vs Antonio Martinez (draw)
Boxing Debut of the Year
Siju Shabazz- On a local-level Shabazz had taken the New Mexico State Golden Gloves seven times. In 2007, he won gold at the US National Tournament and the National Golden Gloves. The following year he took the same honor at the National PAL Championships– it was a long awaited pro-debut and as expected he did not disappoint.
Jose Luis Sanchez
Jesus Correa Jr.
Recently he took a fight on short notice at 166-lbs and after draining the weight, he was told that his opponent had pulled out of the fight. Rather than sitting idle Rivas agreed to take a fight at 180-lbs that same night… and won.
Falon Ring- Mean1 MMA:
Dude won two fights in one night at the MMA Summer Showdown. After a fighter backed out of the New Mexico Extreme 125lb bout Ring, was asked if he would step in to fill in the spot an hour after competing in another fight earlier that evening which he easily won. He took both matches via first round submission (kimura and armbar).
Tim Sosa- FIT NHB
Andrew Tenneson- Jackson’s/Winkeljohn’s
Ricky Esquibel- Jackson’s/Winkeljohn’s
Boxing: Amateur Fighters of the Year: Endless list to be honest. The following are just a few of the amateur standouts that New Mexico is producing:
Matthew Griego (pictured)
Upset of the Year (TIE)
MMA- Isaac Vallie-Flagg (Jackson’s MMA) def. Gesias “GZ” Calvacante
Boxing- Austin Trout def. Miguel Cotto
Boxing- Fernando Carcamo def. Fidel Maldonado Jr.
MMA- Travis Marx def. Masakatsu Ueda
MMA- Gene Perez def. Grant Hobbs
Breakthrough Gym of the Year
Bushido MMA– The gym went 26-2 in 2012 ammy and pro records combined. They got their best fighter back in Hugo Sida (owner of Bushido) after a couple of years of inactivity due to injury. Another pro-standout in their stable, Ricky McCall also captured a regional title in Oklahoma.
In just over a year with Bushido trainer Shane Schuman, has helped build a very talented group of young fighters many of them which have military experience.
Prospects of the Year
BJJ- Jesse Martinez
Boxing- Abraham Han
MMA- Hunter Tucker
Most Improved Fighter
BJJ- Tammy Griego
Boxing- Brandi Montoya
MMA- Joby Sanchez