Best of Canada 2012: Rookie of the Year
There were relatively few fighters nominated for this award and those that were nominated fought primarily in Alberta. Alberta has always been a hot bed of activity and a breeding ground for new and exciting fighters and 2012 was no different as MMA fans were treated to a few exciting new entrants to the sport.
Top MMA News Top 3 Rookies for 2012
1. Smealinho Rama
The Canadian MMA Rookie of the Year was an easy choice as Smealinho Rama has come out of nowhere and helped breathe life into the once stagnant Canadian Heavyweight division. Rama has gone a perfect 5-0 in his first year of professional competition, taking out the likes of Lee Mein, Craig Hudson and most recently Ryan Fortin. All five of Rama’s victories have come by way of first round TKO or Submission and his impressive rookie campaign has earned him the #2 spot on the Canadian rankings as well as a number one contender bout against the #1 ranked Mike Hackert at MFC 36 in February. Check out his biggest win in 2012 against Ryan Fortin HERE.
2. Derek Parker
Derek Parker may be a rookie in terms of mixed martial arts but he’s no stranger to the fisticuffs. The Regina native has close to 300 hockey fights on record and he estimates the real number is closer to 350. Parker currently patrols the ice for the Saguenay Marquis of the Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey, a league that holds the reputation for being the toughest in the world, averaging 3.2 fights per game compared to the NHL’s 0.6. Inside the ring, Parker has proved to be an exciting competitor amassing a 3-1-1 record since making his pro debut. Parker has picked up wins over the likes of Dave Bedard, Paul Grandbois and Jared McComb. Its a good chance that when you see a Derek Parker fight, you will be seeing that card’s Fight of the Night! Check out Derek Parker vs Jared McComb I HERE.
3. KB Bhullar
KB Bhullar picked up his first pro win after a successful amateur début in 2011. Bhullar picked up a TKO victory in his profession début over Simon Shirt at Aggression FC 9 and since then, Bhullar’s highlight reel and fan base continue to grow. Bhullar followed up his first pro win with a head kick knockout of Ben Snyder and a huge knockout of the night over Jason Gorny. Bhullar recently signed a new exclusive three fight deal with Aggression FC and is expected to be back in the cage at AFC 16 in March.
- Wolfgang Janssen: Janssen was having a quiet rookie year picking up a pair of quick submission victories under the Hard Knocks banner defeating Jesse Arnett and Jesse Veltri. Fast forward to December when Janssen took a huge step up in competition and rose to the occasion. With Janssen down on the judges’ scorecards he pulled an incredible flying reverse triangle out of nowhere and submitted a tough Aaron Armstrong and became a YouTube sensation, appearing on Inside MMA and even getting a retweet by grappling sensation Eddie Bravo. He also was awarded the Top MMA News Submission of the Year award!