When it came to selecting who the fighter of the year was for 2016, the choice seemed rather cut-and-dry. While a lot of fighters had good years -- fighters like Superbon, Sitthichai, Rico Verhoeven and others, there was only one man who rose up to prominence in meteoric fashion and did so in a way where many didn't see it coming.
You have to admit -- Nieky Holzken seemed unbeatable for a long, long time at Welterweight. Sure, it seemed like Murthel Groenhart came dangerously close to defeating him before, but Nieky still knew exactly how to pull off the victory. His hands felt unparalleled in the sport and his fight IQ is off the charts. Yet. Yet.
Cedric Doumbe's greatness snuck up on a lot of people, but heading into the Holzken fight he was able to get inside of Nieky's head, then in the ring, he was able to avoid Nieky's hands while imposing his will. It felt like the end of an era, the changing of the guard and that Cedric Doumbe's era had arrived. In fact, it's difficult not to appreciate Doumbe for his personality, his skills and his sportsmanship.
He was the very clear 2016 Fighter of the Year.
The 2016 LiverKick Awards
For more, listen to our year-end podcast.