clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Event of 2014: UFC Fight Night 55 in Sydney, Australia

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

In a year where "event" was often an overblown euphemism for "ordinary fight card," it’s tempting to point out the UFC’s return to Ireland as truly something extraordinary. There was Conor McGregor, the UFC’s finest coxcomb, standing out as the pride of a country in his fight against Diego Brandao. In the weeks leading up, it felt like Elvis returning to do a little fireside ditty at Graceland for a small group of Memphians. He had been out with an ACL, and the UFC catered his return to take place in Dublin.

The thing really couldn’t have played out any more brilliantly, either. Not only did McGregor transcend the moment by downing Brando in the first round, but his countrymen on the card all won, too. There was Neil Seery, taking out Phil Harris. And Cathal Pendred, coming back from the lethargic depths of hell to beat Mike King. There was ol’ Patrick Holohan, Dublin’s own, shutting down Josh Sampo’s carotid factory with a rear-naked choke.

It was a grand celebration. Maybe the finest of the year.

But it takes a backseat to the festivities that took place in Sydney, Australia, nearly four months later. That was the card where Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold settled their very public, very personal beef in the main event. After walking out to "The Battle of New Orleans," Rockhold choked out Bisping and that was that. But it was much more than that.

Rockhold put an exclamation mark on a piece of history: The fact that UFC Fight Night 55 had no need for judges. Of the 11 fights on the card, none went the distance. The only one that even made it to the third round was the Louis Smolka-Richie Vaculik fight, and that was because Smolka took his sweet time delivering a coup de grâce (kick to the side). Everything else was urgent. It was as if each and every fighter had young kids waiting in the car while they took care of business.

Al Iaquinta not only chose to stand with the striker Ross Pearson, but he scored a TKO that way (punches). Robert Whittaker TKO’d Clint Hester, and Soa Palelei punches Hulk-sized holes through Walt Harris. Australia’s own ageless wonder Anthony Perosh tapped out Guto Innocente, and Sam Alvey knocked out Dylan Andrews. Poor Vik Grujic overate at the Chris Clements buffet of punches, and Dan Kelly twisted Luke Zachrich’s arm into unnatural configurations (kimura). To open the show, Marcus Brimage set the table by kicking Jumabieke Tuerxun’s head clean off his shoulders.*

Eleven fights, eleven finishes. The judges were just ornaments.

It may not have looked like the best card of the year on paper (though Bisping-Rockhold was always high-drama), but it played out as the can’t miss event of 2014.

(*This is a slight exaggeration -- Tuerxun’s head got whapped with a kick real good but, somehow, stayed intact).

Runners-up for Event of 2014: UFC Fight Night 46: McGregor vs. Brandao; UFC 175 on July 5; UFC 178 on September 27; Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier at UFC 178 press conference (a.k.a. "The Sholler Brawler")

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting