2018 Caged Minds Awards

The calendar has rolled around once again. 2018 is over but not yet gone. Lets look back and honor some tremendous fights, fighters, events, and moments.

New Mexico Boxing Awards
NM Male Boxer of 2018: Angelo Leo (4-0 in 2018 defeating competition that had a combined 76-22 record)
NM Female Boxer of 2018: Ayana Vasquez (2-0 in 2018 & won ABF title)
NM Comeback Fighter of 2018: Brandi Montoya (Returned to the ring after serving the country in Armed Forces & having recently had a child)
Top Amateurs of 2018: Abraham Perez & Sharahya Moreu
NM Boxing Fight of 2018: Josh Torres vs. Cristian Cabral at Route to Glory 2 Bad Blood
NM Boxing KO of the Year: Matthew Griego left hook stopping Rondarius Hunter September 22 at Buffalo Thunder.
Biggest win of 2018: Jason Sanchez wining WBO Title by decision win over Jean Carlos Rivera

Boxing Event of 2018: Legacy Boxing Promotions Route to Glory from March

MMA Awards
Big Time MMA
UFC Male Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Daniel Cormier (3-0, won 3 title fights, defending the UFC Light Heavyweight title, winning and defending the Heavyweight Title)
UFC Female Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Amanda Nunes (2-0, successfully defended the women’s Bantamweight title and with a first round knockout of Cris Cyborg won UFC Women’s Featherweight title, become first women to hold two UFC titles simultaneously)
Breakthrough Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Israel Adesanya (4-0 in 2018, stopping Rob Wilkinson, decision wins over Marvin Vettori, Brad Tavares, & a top ten win over Derek Brunson)
Bellator Female Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (2-0 in 2018 twice successfully defending the Bellator Women’s Flyweight title submitting both Alejandra Lara & Valerie Letourneau)
Bellator Male Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Aaron Pico (3-0 in 2018 all first round knockouts. 5:06 of total fight time competition had 48-15 record)
LFA Male Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Damon Jackson (3-0 in 2018. Submitted Chris Pecero and Jeremy Spoon. Won interim LFA Featherweight title with KO of Nate Jennerman. Promoted to LFA Featherweight champion after Kevin Aguilar signed with the UFC.)
LFA Female Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Sabina Mazo (2-0 in 2018 won LFA women’s Flyweight title and defended. Decision wins over Shannon Sinn & Carol Yariwaki)
PFL Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Lance Palmer (5-0 in 2018, won his 2 regular season contests by rear naked choke, and then 3 decisions in the playoffs winning the Featherweight title and tournament)
Top Submission of 2018 & Come from behind win of 2018: Paul Craig submits Magomed Ankalaev by a triangle choke at UFC Fight Night 127 in London
Top Punch KO of 2018: Brian Ortega def. Frankie Edgar at UFC 222
Top Elbow KO of 2018: Yair Rodriguez def. Chan Sung Jung UFC Fight Night 139
Top Kick KO of 2018: Lyoto Machida def. Vitor Belfort at UFC 224
Top Knee KO of 2018: Curtis Millender def. Thiago Alves at UFC Fight Night 126
Best Fight of 2018: Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC on Fox 29

New Mexico MMA Awards
Male Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Andres Quintana (5-0 in 2018, 3 finishes, and won one-night 8-man Copa Combate Tournament)
Female Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Michele Waterson (2-0 in 2018 with decision wins over Cortney Casey & Felice Herrig.)
Breakthrough Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Jess Martinez (3-0 in 2018, all 3 wins came in the main event of a Jackson’s MMA Series Event at Buffalo Thunder. Martinez has found a way to win and with the growth in his striking game compounded with his grappling pedigree is poised to make waves in 2019.)
Male Amateur Mixed Martial Artist of 2018: Josiah Reyes (4-0 in 2018,)
Female Amateur Mixed Martial Artist of the Year: Kayla Yontef (4-0 in 2018, 2 TKO, 2 dec)
Pro Fight of 2018: Derek Perez vs. Nikko Nathan at King of the Cage Starbound II
Amateur Fight of 2018: Mark Matthew McDill vs. Michael Beals Jackson’s MMA Series XXVI
Pro Knockout of 2018: Enrique Gonzalez def. Cody Hoffstatter at Jackson’s MMA Series XXIV
Amateur Knockout of 2018: Jorge Kanankoquie def David Hudson by KO (head kick & knees) 0:12 R1
Pro Submission of 2018: Andy Varela def. Gerardo Chaparro by Inverted triangle choke at AFL: Southwest Brawl 7
Amateur Submission of 2018: Francisco Dominguez subs Alen Dudo with an Armbar in 0:21 at KOTC Starbound II
Bloodiest Fight of 2018: Steve Garcia Jr. def. Abel Cullum at Fight Night 4

Event of 2018: King of the Cage Starbound II, which had 18 fights, 14 finishes, and a KOTC title bout.

Biggest Balls of 2018 Derek Perez went 2-1-1 in the Boxing ring, 2-1 in MMA, winning a title from School of Hard Knocks, and 1-0 in Bare Knuckle Boxing and a Title from BKB. Fighting at different weight classes in 3 different combat sports and taking fights on all sorts of short notice must be recognized and respected.

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