2014 MMA Awards – The Nominees

Throughout the year, the team at Fight News Australia keep track of the stand-out Australian fighters and performances on the domestic and international mixed martial arts circuits.

A short list is compiled for a number of categories at the end of the year by members of the Australian MMA media, with the winners to then be chosen by the fans. This year’s media panel comprised of Dave Mac and Nate Gielis from the This Week in MMA podcast, Neil Rooke from Combat Press, and Fight News Australia writers Michael Job, Chris and Mike.

Please note, that while we make it a priority to attend local shows and review video footage of events, it is impossible for us to be aware of all the great fights and fight stoppages on the local circuit throughout the year. 

On the topic of event coverage, it’s worth noting that Fight News Australia covered (not necessarily live) a total of 85 events in 2014, with 28 of those being internationals, 23 in Queensland, 15 in New South Wales, 7 in Victoria, 5 in Tasmania, 4 in Australian Capital Territory, and 0 in Western Australia with the cage now banned in the state.

A special thanks goes out to everyone who helped make this year’s awards possible including Mars Video Productions, and all the promotions who provided video footage throughout the year.

Once you’ve made your choices, head over to the 2014 MMA AWARDS – VOTE HERE Page and submit your votes!

AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL FIGHTER OF 2014 NOMINEES

Rob Whittaker (2-1 in 2014)

Following his loss to Stephen Thompson at UFC 170 in February, 24 year-old Robert Whittaker bounced back with a unanimous decision win over Mike Rhodes at New Zealand’s debut UFC event in June. He later made his middleweight debut against Clint Hester at UFC Fight Night 55 in Sydney and picked up an entertaining second round TKO win over the TUF 17 veteran, earning fight of the night honours in the process.

Jake Matthews (3-0 in 2014)

In what was his first fight removed from the TUF Nations house, twenty year-old Melbourne based lightweight Jake Matthews kicked off his 2014 campaign in April with a unanimous decision win over Stuart Dare on a local show in Melbourne. ‘The Celtic Kid’ later made a successful UFC debut in June, submitting Dashon Johnson in New Zealand. The youngster capped off the year with a submission win over Vagner Rocha in Sydney. Matthews was recently listed as the second best newcomer of 2014 by the UFC behind Corey Anderson.

Mark Hunt (1-1 in 2014)

Mark Hunt returned from injury in September and dismantled Roy Nelson with one of his trademark walk-away knock-outs, earning performance of the night honours for his handy work. Less then two months later, ‘The Super Samoan’ squared off with Fabricio Werdum for the UFC interim heavyweight title in Mexico, stepping up on just three weeks notice following the late withdrawal of champion Cain Velasquez. Despite the short preparation, shedding 20 kg, and the altitude issues associated with fighting in Mexico, Hunt, now 40 years-old, put in a strong showing against the Brazilian before going down in the second round to a brutal knee to the head.

Richard Walsh (1-1 in 2014)

Richy Walsh made his UFC debut in April at UFC Fight Night Bisping vs Kennedy. He faced his TUF Nations team mate Chris Indich and scored a dominant unanimous points decision over the West Australian. He went on to lose a controversial split points decision against Kiichi Kunimoto in Japan, with all media members at mmadecisions.com going against the official decision and scoring the bout for the Aussie.

Hector Lombard (1-0 in 2014)

Cuban-Australian Hector Lombard continued his welterweight campaign in 2013 by defeating former Strikeforce middleweight champion, and UFC welterweight title challenger, Jake Shields at UFC 171. Lombard dismantled the then number six ranked welterweight over 15 minutes to win a unanimous decision.

Rob Lisita (1-2 in 2014)

One FC signed Aussie Rob Lisita got off to a dominant start last year by knocking out Yusuke Kawanago in just 28 seconds at One FC: Rise of Heroes, which put himself well in line for a potential title shot. He faced Eric Kelly next in a featherweight title eliminator in July, and after a strong start to the clash, succumbed to a rear-naked choke in the second round. ‘Ruthless’ lost by rear-naked choke to undefeated Russian prospect Marat Gafurov in his final 2014 bout in October.

 

AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC MALE FIGHTER OF 2014 NOMINEES

Alex Volkanovski (5-0 in 2014)

Without a doubt, Alex Volkanovski had a standout 2014, going 5-0 against some of the country’s toughest. First to fall was Fightworld Cup lightweight champion Greg Atzori at Roshambo 2, with the hulk snatching the win by guillotine choke in the opening round. Following the win, AFC 9 saw him knock-out Melbourne based Brazilian veteran Rodolfo Marques in the first round and in brutal fashion. The stoppage also earned Volkanovski a KO of 2014 nomination. Volkanovski next faced CFC veteran Jai Bradney at Roshambo 3 and also ended that one in the opening period, this time by rear-naked choke. In October, the Aussie made his international debut against local favourite Kyle Reyes at Pacific Xtreme Combat 45 in Guam and won by unanimous decision. Volkanovski capped off a stellar 2014 with a second round TKO win over David Butt in his home town at Wollongong Wars 2.

Ben Nguyen (2-0 in 2014)

Ben Nguyen entered 2014 riding a four-fight win streak and by year’s end the Tiger Muay Thai product had made it six. In early March Nguyen knocked out Julian “Julz The Jackal” Rabaud in just 25 seconds to claim the Nitro bantamweight title. The stoppage is also one of six nominees for KO of the year. He continued his undefeated run with a hard fought, and closely contested decision win over Reece McLaren to successfully defend the title at Nitro 12.

Corey Nelson (3-1 in 2014)

Corey Nelson began 2014 with a first round TKO win, due to leg kicks, over Rick Alchin at AFC 8. In his first welterweight title defense at Nitro 11, ‘Major’ stepped up on short notice and suffered his first defeat in seven outings, losing a unanimous decision to 2014 breakthrough fighter nominee Anton Zafir. He returned at AFC 9 and knocked out Valor champion Callan Potter in the first round to win the promotion’s welterweight title. Nelson ended the year with a dominant first round TKO victory over the previously undefeated Steve Micallef to take out the 2014 Brace Championship Tournament. Following the win, the Sydney based fighter was offered a contract with One FC.

Jacob Mahony (3-0 in 2014)

Queensland’s Jacob Mahony had an undefeated 2014 going 3-0 in the XFC promotion. At XFC 20, ‘J-Money’ submitted Shantaram Maharaj in the opening round to capture the promotion’s bantamweight title. The 25 year-old went on to successfully defend the title at XFC 21, where he also scored a first round submission, this time over New Zealand’s Evander Agnew. Finally, at XFC 22, Mahony stopped Ritchie Ivory with punches.

Nick Patterson (3-0 in 2014)

Melbourne’s Nick Patterson had an unblemished 2014, which began with an upset decision win over former UFC veteran Bernardo “Trekko” Magalhaes at AFC 8. Following the victory, ‘Banjo’ stopped Dean Purdon in the third round with strikes at Moment of Truth. Patterson capped off the year with a one-sided, first round TKO win over American Steve Orosco at the debut Hex FS event.

Steve Kennedy (3-0 in 2014)

Steve Kennedy is currently riding a six fight win streak with three of those victories coming in 2014. ‘The Steamroller’ kick off the year by stepping up on short notice to face Daniel Way at AFC 9. Despite the short preparation, and a noticeable weight disadvantage, the Perth native earned a hard fought unanimous decision win. Kennedy vs Way also features in the 2014 fight of the year category. After submitting Irish veteran Dominic McConnell next on a local Perth show, Kennedy finally for the year outpointed American Ran Weathers at Hex FS 1.

 

AUSTRALIAN FEMALE FIGHTER OF 2014 NOMINEES

Jessy Rose-Clark (3-0 in 2014)

The highlight of Jessy Rose-Clark’s 2014 would have to be her signing with Invicta FC. However the bantamweight also went 3-0 in the 12 months, and with all three wins for local titles. Her year started with a first round submission win over Zoie Shreiweis to capture the Unarmed Combat Unleashed bantamweight crown. Next up the Integrated MMA product put away Kiwi Kate Da Silva with punches in the second round to claim the XFC title. Finally a unanimous decision win over Rhiannon Thompson earned Rose-Clark the Roshambo bantamweight strap.

Arlene Blencowe (2-0 in 2014)

Pro boxer Arlene Blencowe is currently ridding a three-fight win streak in MMA with two of those victories coming in 2014. It was also announced last year that ‘Angerfist’ had signed with Bellator MMA to fight in the promotion’s featherweight division. Blencowe holds 2014 victories over Kenani Mangakahia and Faith Van Duin, ending both fights in the third round.

Megan Anderson (4-0 in 2014)

Megan Anderson made her pro debut in 2013 with a decision loss to Zoie Shreiweis at Fightworld Cup 16. In 2014 however, the Shindo New Breed product bounced back with an impressive four-fight win streak, which included a first round Submission win over Shreiweis to avenge the 2013 defeat. 2014 also saw Anderson get the better of Jodie Struzik, Kerry Barrett and Janay Harding.

Shauna Carew (2-0 in 2014)

Currently enjoying a three-fight win streak, Brisbane’s Shauna Carew went 2-0 in 2014 with both wins coming under the Roshambo banner. At Roshambo 2, the pinweight won a split decision over Sarah Lagerstrom to capture the promotion’s pinweight title. Carew later defended the crown against Ginny Connors at Roshambo 3.

Alex Chambers (0-1 in 2014)

Although Alex Chambers went win-less in 2014, losing by submission to Aisling Daly in December, the Sydney based fighter featured in the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter alongside the sport’s top female strawweights. ‘Astro Girl’ was ousted in the first round of the show by eventual finalist Rose Namajunas.

Bec Rawlings (0-1 in 2014)

Like Chambers, Bec Rawlings featured on The Ultimate fighter 20 before losing at the Finale event in December. There ‘Rowdy’ was outpointed by Heather Clark. Rawlings’s time on the show saw her drop her first round fight against Tecia Torres.

 

AUSTRALIAN BREAKTHROUGH FIGHTER OF 2014 NOMINEES

Rob Wilkinson (3-0 in 2014)

Training under Priscus Fogagnolo in Tasmania, Rob Wilkinson (8-0) took out the Brace Middleweight Championship Tournament last year, after stopping Kitt Campbell, Rick Alchin, and finally the Sinosic/Perosh trained Gerhard Voigt in the final. Wilkinson’s triangle choke submission of Kitt Campbell is also in the running for the 2014 submission of the year award. 

Jordan Lucas (3-0 in 2014)

Twenty year-old Melbourne based bantamweight Jordan ‘Showtime’ Lucas (7-0) kept his undefeated run alive in 2014, going 3-0 to take out the 2014 Brace Bantamweight Championship Tournament. Lucas began the year by outpointing Ritchie Ivory. He later submitted Edwin Arana then Storm Damage featherweight champ Stephen Reeks in the tournament final, both with first round rear-naked chokes. In early 2015 it was revealed that Lucas has signed a six-fight contract with leading Asian MMA promotion One Fighting Championship.

Anton Zafir (1-0 in 2014)

Although Anton Zafir only fought once in 2014, the Arlie Beach resident made it count by outpointing top welterweight Corey Nelson at Nitro 11. The upset victory also earned ‘The Professor’ the promotion’s welterweight title.

Luke Morris (3-0 in 2014)

With wins over Chris Morris and Edwin Arana, Luke Morris picked up the Nitro and Unarmed Combat Unleashed flyweight titles respectively in 2014. Morris also holds a 2014 win over Michael Roger, making it 3-0 in the 12 months.

Jamie Mullarkey (4-0 in 2014)

Twenty year-old Central Coast featherweight Jamie Mullarkey had a impressive 2014, going 4-0 in the 12 months, as well as winning the debut Brace Featherweight Tournament. The 2012 Pankration Junior World Champion opened his breakthrough fighter of the year account with a unanimous decision win over the more experienced David Greaves at Roshambo 2. Mullarkey went on to stop Joshua Pecastaing, Byron Cowell, and the previously undefeated J.J. Van Aswegen, to take out the Brace featherweight championship crown. Mullarkey’s third round TKO win over Joshua Pecastaing at Brace 26 is also in the running for the 2014 fight of the year award.

Ryan Heketa (3-0 in 2014)

Ryan Heketa had an undefeated 2014, going 3-0, and with all three wins coming by first round stoppages. Nitro 11 saw him TKO Ali Kocak. Next at Roshambo 3, he submitted Simon Clough. Heketa capped off the year by submitting Joe Beerepoot with a heel hook at Nitro 12.

 

AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC FIGHT OF 2014 NOMINEES

Jamie Mullarkey vs Joshua Pecastaing Highlights – Brace 26, March 15, Sydney NSW

{youtube}QwBnVmr69rw{/youtube}

 

Adrian Rodriguez vs Shane Young – XFC 20, February 15, Brisbane QLD

Note that Shane Young went on to defeat Adrian Rodriguez by TKO in a rematch at XFC 22 on November 1.

{youtube}r6Gvn2-R35o{/youtube}

 

Jessy Rose-Clark vs Rhiannon Thompson – Roshambo 3, July 26, Chandler QLD

{youtube}qNwqtSjxrBU{/youtube}

 

Steven Kennedy vs Daniel Way – AFC 9, May 17, Albury, NSW – Fight highlights start at 8:00.

{youtube}2VLBK_9ZKqc{/youtube}

 

Adam Cook vs David Butt – Valor 8, June 14, Launceston, TAS – Fight highlights start at 2:00.

{youtube}SVHpcWBmBSw{/youtube}

 

Jack Johns vs Randall Rayment Highlights – Roshambo 2, February 1, Chandler QLD

{youtube}NbTVUH7DAqg{/youtube}

 

AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC KNOCKOUT OF 2014 NOMINEES

Luke Wright def Matt Eland via TKO (Punches), Rd 1, 0:40 – Fightworld Cup 18

{youtube}iWuhScMf3vc{/youtube}

 

Isaac Tisdell def Gokhan Turkyilmaz via KO (spinning back fist), Rd 1, 0:08 – Nitro 12, October 11, Logan QLD

{youtube}wZzrEExtw28{/youtube}

 

Jordan Cameron def Luke Catubig via KO (Spinning Back Elbow), Rd 1 – Hex FS 1, December 6, Melbourne VIC

{youtube}bZtgKMXzJTA{/youtube}

 

Ben Nguyen def Julian Rabaud via KO (Punch), Rd 1, 0:25 – Nitro 11, March 8, Logan QLD

{youtube}C2DqzYcS7V4{/youtube}

 

Gerhard Voigt def Mohammed Naim via KO (Punch), Rd 1, 1:30 – Brace 26, March 15, Sydney NSW

{youtube}FVKAqLowz0s{/youtube}

 

Alex Volkanovski def Rodolfo Marques via KO (Punch), Rd 1, 3:41 – AFC 9, May 17, Albury, NSW

 

.

 

AUSTRALIAN DOMESTIC SUBMISSION OF 2014 NOMINEES

Ben Quarmby def James Klingner via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 1, 0:33 – XFC 21, June 14, Brisbane QLD

{youtube}eCVDRJbhw3A{/youtube}

 

Michael Tobin def Johnny Mendez-Walker via Submission (Toe Hold), Rd 1, 4:18 – Eternal MMA 7, September 27, Coolangatta QLD

{youtube}jP5-_NbyFPg{/youtube}

 

Gustavo Falciroli def Kai Kara-France via Submission (Brabo Choke), Rd 1, 4:55 – AFC 9, May 17, Albury, NSW

{youtube}9oE4mlZS7WY{/youtube}

 

Aaron Blackie def Jai Marshall via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 1, 4:22 – XFC 22, November 1, Brisbane QLD

{youtube}HCnBqHyYG9c&feature=youtu.be{/youtube}

 

Rob Wilkinson def Kitt Campbell via Submission (Triangle Choke), Rd 1, 1:32 – Brace 27, May 17, Canberra ACT – Video Footage HERE via Tenplay

J.J Van Aswegen def Gokhan Turkyilmaz via Submission (Triangle Choke), Rd 1 – Brace 29, August 9, Cammeray NSW – Video Footage HERE via Tenplay

Once you’ve made your choices, head over to the 2014 MMA AWARDS – VOTE HERE Page and submit your votes!