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Best MMA Fight of 2009 (So Far)

The year is half over, so we're giving out some MMA half year awards. Today we'll discuss the best fight of the year so far.

My choice for the fight of the year is a recent one: Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida at last month's Ultimate Fighter Finale.

The start of the fight was intense, with Sanchez storming across the Octagon and landing a series of punches directly to Guida's face, opening up a cut and appearing to break Guida's nose. The fight at first looked like it might be over in mere seconds, as Sanchez poured on the punishment. But Guida survived, and even after Sanchez floored Guida with a vicious head kick later in the first round, Guida kept going.

But what really turned the fight into a classic was the second round when, unbelievably, Guida actually got the upper hand, taking Sanchez down and pounding on him. Sanchez did some damage from the bottom and some who watched the fight thought Sanchez won the second round, but the mere fact that Guida recovered and actually turned it into a close fight in the second was impressive.

In the third round, both fighters were drenched in sweat and blood, but neither one of them slowed down. Sanchez narrowly won the third, and he won the fight on a somewhat controversial split decision.

Here are some honorable mention choices for Fight of the Half Year:

Miguel Torres vs. Takeya Mizugaki
, a five-round brawl that Torres won by unanimous decision to retain the WEC bantamweight title.

Mike Brown vs. Urijah Faber
, a five-round brawl that Brown won by unanimous decision to retain the WEC featherweight title.

Kerry Vera vs. Leslie Smith, a Bellator battle that was the best women's fight of the year.

Tyson Griffin vs. Rafael dos Anjos, a battle in which dos Anjos appeared to have Griffin's knee in serious trouble in a compression lock, but which Griffin managed to survive and win.

Scott Smith vs. Benji Radach, a thoroughly entertaining Strikeforce fight that Smith won and Radach protested.