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MMA Upset of the Half Year



We've been handing out our half-year MMA awards, so here's my take on the biggest upset of the last six months.

As is often the case in MMA, there were plenty of upsets to choose from. But at the end of the day, I had to go with Joe Warren defeating Kid Yamamoto via split decision at Dream.9 on May 26 (part one of the fight is above; part two is here.)

Warren entered the bout with a 1-0 professional MMA record. His opponent, Yamamoto, still considered one of the best featherweights in the world despite not fighting for almost 17 months due to a severe knee injury, had a record of 17-1 (with one no contest). His only loss came in 2002 via TKO due to a cut.

Of course, Warren is no slouch. He was a Greco-Roman world champion who could have been an Olympic gold medalist in Beijing had he not been banned for using marijuana, and he used his wrestling background to overpower Yamamoto in the clinch and on the ground.

The win helped Warren move to the semi-finals of DREAM's featherweight tournament on September 23, while Yamamoto looks to get back on the winning track when he competes for K-1 MAX on July 13.

Here are some honorable mention choices for upset of the year:

Paulo Thiago over Josh Koscheck at UFC 95. Controversial finish or not, few expected the undefeated Brazilian to finish one of the best fighters in the UFC's welterweight division.

Brett Rogers over Andrei Arlovski at Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields. 22 seconds. That's all it took for Rogers to dispose of Arlovski. Needless to say, 2009 has not been kind to "The Pitbull."

Vitor Belfort over Matt Lindland at Affliction: Day of Reckoning. Belfort could also argue that he deserves the knockout of the half year for this one.

Satoru Kitaoka over Takanori Gomi at Sengoku No Ran 2009. Gomi's loss to Sergei Golyaev was more shocking, but most expected him to rebound against Kitaoka.

Hayato Sakurai over Shinya Aoki at DREAM.8. Sure, Aoki was fighting as a welterweight, but still very surprising to see him lose in 27 seconds.

Did I miss your favorite upset of the half year? Let me know in the comments below.