Michael Bisping recently down with co-host Luis J Gomez on his podcast to announce the long-awaited results of his Believe You Me 2019 awards.
Here are the former middleweight champ’s awards:
Breakout Fighter of The Year: Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Islam Makhachev, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Jared Cannonier and Alexander Volkanovski all were pedalled as Breakout Fighter nominees. Volkanovski had arguably the biggest year, having claimed the featherweight title from Max Holloway earlier this month. However, Bisping pointed out that the featherweight champion contradicts the definition “breakout fighter” as he has been making waves in the UFC since 2016. Bisping highlights Rozenstruik’s meteoric rise out of relative obscurity. With his infamous KO victory against Alistair Overeem and an upcoming bout against Francis Ngannou, 2019 was a top-notch year for the heavyweight. For that reason, Rozenstruik is awarded the BYM Breakout Fighter Of The Year Gold.
Worst Injury of the Year: Alistair Overeem’s Split Lip
MMA in 2019 had enough gruesome injuries and blood splatters to warrant it’s own Quentin Tarantino movie. Nate Diaz was nominated by Bisping for his shocking eye injury at the hands of Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244. Donald Cerrone’s mangled eye from Tony Ferguson, Alistair Overeem’s split lip and Mike Perry’s relocated nose at the hands of Vicente Luque all received nominations as well.
Bisping and Gomez presented a united front and awarded Alistair Overeem the Worst Injury Of The Year award. Rozenstruik starched Alistair Overeem at UFC Washington, splitting his lip wide open like the parting of the Read Sea. Overeem has had stitches to rectify the cut, but his wound will go down as one of the most gruesome-looking injuries in UFC history.
Hottest Female Fighter Of The Year: Rachael Ostovich
Maycee Barber, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Paige Van Zant and Rachael Ostovich are all celebrated for their good looks in addition to their fighting abilities. Whilst the nominees are all beautiful in their own right, Rachael Ostovich was crowned the Hottest Female Fighter Of The Year by Gomez and Bisping.
Hottest Male Fighter Of The Year: Paulo Costa
Pursuing a modelling career is another vocation for some UFC fighters including Luke Rockhold. However, only one of those fighters made the cut for 2019’s Hottest Male Fighter award.
Kron Gracie, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Paulo Costa and last but not least, Luke Rockhold were this year’s nominees. Possibly the first (and only time) Bisping has vouched for Rockhold, as “The Count” awarded his to his former opponent for his undeniable good looks. However, Costa won the majority decision and the BYM Hottest Male Fighter Of The Year Award.
Knockout of the Year: Jorge Masvidal KOs Ben Askren
First up, Jessica Andrade’s KO slamming of Rose Namajunas earned her the title and a KO Of The Year nomination. Anthony Pettis’ superman punch against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Valentina Shevchenko’s killer KO against Jessie Eye at UFC 238 were also up for KO Of The Year on Bisping’s podcast. Last but certainly not least was Jorge Masvidal’s infamous five-second KO against Ben Askren.
Unsurprisingly, the record-shattering flying knee that “Gamebred” administered to the face of Askren at UFC 239 was the unanimous winner for Knockout Of The Year.
Submission of the Year: Bryce Mitchell submits Matt Sayles
For this year’s top submission, Jack Hermansson made the cut for his guillotine choke victory against David Branch at UFC Philadelphia. Next up, grappling specialist Charles Oliveira got a vote for his anaconda choke against David Teymur, and Cory Sandhagen for armbar finish on Mario Bautista at UFC Brooklyn. Finally, Bryce Mitchell earned a nomination for the second Twister submission in UFC history which he executed on Matt Sayles.
The rare move has only been seen in the Octagon once before, when “The Korean Zombie” showcased it against Leonard Garcia in 2011. The rare submission earned Mitchell a $50,000 fight bonus and now, the award of Submission Of The Year.
Funniest Active Fighter of the Year: Derrick Lewis
The Funniest Fighter also known as “The Brendan Schaub” Award was a close call. 170-pound fighter Mike Perry was the first nominee. Despite his recent losses against Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal, the fighter has been keeping fans entertained with his Twitter antics. Another fighter whose social media comedy is on point is Derrick Lewis, who also made the list. Ben Askren and Darren Till’s banter was recognized as the pair concluded the final award nominations. Whilst Gomez believed “Funky’s” self-deprecating humour should have won the award, Bisping had the final say and Derrick Lewis won the Funniest Active Fighter Of The Year Award.
Best Translator of the Year: Yoel Romero’s Translator
One of the more unusual categories to grace this year’s BYM awards was the Best Translator for fighters in 2019. Two translators of Chinese fighter Weili Zhang made the list. Also, Brazilian translator Derek Kronig and Yoel Romero’s personal translator Ray were nominated for the contribution to the world of UFC translation.
Simply because he looks like Ronnie the Limo Driver and Mr. Lahey from Trailer Park Boys, Ray rules the day as 2019’s best translator.
The Michael Bisping Spirit Award: Thiago Santos
The final award goes to the fighter that embodies the fighting spirit of the Michael Bisping. Thiago Santos fought Jon Jones at UFC 239 with a torn ACL, PCL, and MCL. He soldiered through and went five rounds against arguably one of the greatest fighters of all time, earning him a nomination. The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung makes the cut after he admitted to fighting the past few years with double vision. Fellow Korean, Doo Ho Choi made the list for his UFC Busan fight against Charles Jourdain where he fought with a broken arm for two rounds. Finally, Colby Covington proved to fans he wasn’t all talk, after he battled 3 rounds with a broken jaw against Kamaru Usman at UFC 245.
As a fighter who is more than accustomed to fighting with injury, Michael Bisping had the final say. He gifted Thiago Santos the award for his valiant performance against Jon Jones, despite suffering one of the most restrictive and painful injuries possible.
Do you agree with the rulings for the BYM 2019 Awards from Michael Bisping and Luis G Gomez? Have your say in the comments below.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/31/2019.