Voting is now live for the Ninth Annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards and no category this year is as tough to pick as ‘Coach of the Year’, with all five nominees enjoying stellar achievements in 2016. Here’s a reminder of what the final five pulled off last year to help you with your vote.
Having worked with Michal Bisping for so long, slowly adjusting Bisping’s striking to becoming a more effective counter puncher finally paid off when the Brit landed a big left hook, knocking out Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 to become the new UFC middleweight champion. Sandwich that in between Bisping’s ‘Comeback of the Year’ performance against Anderson Silva – when Parillo literally picked him up off the canvas – along with masterminding the revenge performance against Dan Henderson with his first title defense to close out the year too.
American Top Team is full of amazing coaches, but there had to be special mention to Din Thomas this year as he’s Tyron Woodley’s head coach in what has been an incredible year for the welterweight champion. Guiding Woodley to the UFC welterweight championship and then a successful first defense against Stephen Thompson tok Thomas from hugely respected gameplan specialist to legit championship head coach status.
When you have a two-weight champion and the biggest draw in the sport in your gym that usually means you’re doing something right. Head coach John Kavanagh was able to learn from the Nate Diaz loss at UFC 196, re-group, re-focus, make the adjustments to Conor McGregor’s gameplan and guide his student to revenge at UFC 202. Then the pair crowned the lot with the little bit of history making when KO’ing Eddie Alvarez to claim the lightweight title.
Head coach to the baddest man on the planet looks good on any business card, and should automatically ensure you make any ‘Coach of the Year’ shortlist. Marcus Marinelli helped UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic obtain and defend the belt in 2016 in a run of victories that included three first round knockouts over three heavyweight icons in Andre Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum (for the belt) and Alistair Overeem.
Currently no champions at the gym and no title victories in 2016, but that doesn’t mean Greg Jackson didn’t help carve out a stellar year for one the camps long time members. Donald Cerrone moved to welterweight in 2016 following his loss against Rafael Dos Anjos at the back end of 2015. Jackson helped Cerrone get four straight wins in the new weight class against Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote, Rick Story and Matt Brown sky rocketing him right into the upper echelon of the division.
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