February was a loaded month of action dominated largely by the eight-hundred pound gorilla known as the Ultimate Fighting Championship who broke new ground returning to Japan for the first time since the new millennium.
As always lets take a look at the best knockout, submission and fight for the designated 29 days in February.
Knockout of the month:
Anthony Pettis will be immortalized in highlight reel packages until the end of time for his kick off the cage to current lightweight kingpin Benson Henderson but it was another foot to the face that got him this award.
Pettis had a lot to prove heading into his UFC 144 bout with submission magician Joe Lauzon after walking into the UFC with the world at his fingertips as the final WEC champion and failing to defeat Clay Guida in his promotional debut.
The Duke Roufus product might not have lit the world on fire with his decision over Jeremy Stephens but he did thrill the Japanese audience flooring Lauzon with a head kick that turned out his lights before following up with a series of punches.
Lauzon became just another notch in his belt with this impressive victory and places him firmly “in the mix” to steal a phrase.
Submission of the month:
Dustin Poirier has been as featherweight prospect to watch for quite some time, the once beaten submission artist was slated to face Erik Koch the plans changed to Ricardo Lamas and finally an opponent stuck facing previously unbeaten Max Hollaway.
Poirier was an overwhelming favorite for the bookmakers and there was reason why — The fight began as a competitive striking battle before Poirier took it into his wheelhouse on the floor.
“The Diamond” played with his pray before putting the nail in the coffin – He mounted him, tried an armbar, switched it to a triangle and then wound up getting the submission finish with a beautiful armbar from a topside triangle.
Credit where credits due, the 20-year-old prospect came to play and displayed some striking skills but was no match for this top-five featherweight.
Fight of the month:
Jake Ellenberger broke out of the middle of the pack with his obliteration of former title-challenger Jake Shields and had to impress again in his follow up fight against the original Ultimate Fighter Diego Sanchez if he wanted to continue his trek to welterweight gold.
Sanchez has a reputation of throwing caution to the wind, charging forward and throwing hay-makers praying that one lands on the button — Couple that with the counter striking of Ellenberger and you have the recipe for a great fight.
The NCAA Division II wrestler controlled the first two rounds of action countering his offence, mixing his shots with knees and punches and putting Sanchez on his back hammering him with strikes.
His cardiovascular fitness came into play as the fight wore on with Sanchez able to take the reigns taking Ellenberger down and reigning down a barrage of shots but it wasn’t enough to steal the fight on the judges cards.
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