5 best UFC fights of September 2022
The UFC put on three events in September, with two regular Fight Night shows before and after a memorable UFC 279 pay-per-view.
The promotion kicked off the month with its inaugural event in France, which expectedly turned out to be a massive success. A week after a stellar night of MMA action in Paris, UFC 279: Diaz vs. Ferguson was underway in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas.
The Dana White-led organization returned to the Apex for its final Fight Night show of the month, UFC Vegas 60, which featured some incredible matchups, just like the two previous events.
On that note, here are the five best fights of September 2022.
#5. Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson – UFC 279
For the final fight of his contract, Nate Diaz was slated to lock horns with surging unbeaten phenom Khamzat Chimaev, and the promotion's intentions were quite clear. Diaz was a massive betting underdog going into the bout, with most fans, fighters and analysts predicting a dominant win for 'Borz'.
In the eleventh hour, Chimaev missed weight by a whopping 7.5 pounds, prompting the UFC to re-shuffle the fight card. Tony Ferguson stepped in to face Diaz in the main event, with the Stockton native now opening as a slight betting favorite.
The bout that ensued was quite a spectacle. Both Diaz and Ferguson have unorthodox striking styles, which collided to create an odd but memorable fight.
Tony Ferguson slammed numerous heavy leg kicks right from the get-go. By the end of the third round, it was clear that 'El Cucuy' was seemingly just a few more kicks away from halting his counterpart's forward pressure.
However, Nate Diaz appeared to find his boxing range in the third frame. His crisp combinations forced Ferguson to back-pedal and ultimately, in the fourth round, shoot in for an ill-advised takedown. Diaz locked in a guillotine choke with a little over two minutes remaining in the penultimate round, drawing a tap-out.
Diaz left the UFC on a high, and interestingly, promised to be back as well.
#4. Cory Sandhagen vs. Song Yadong – UFC Vegas 60
As soon as the Cory Sandhagen vs. Song Yadong bout was confirmed, MMA aficionados were all but certain that we'd get a spectacular display of high-level striking. Both Sandhagen and Yadong are never in a boring fight, making this headlining matchup a can't-miss.
The bantamweight duo featured in the main event of UFC Vegas 60, putting on a technical and bloody affair over four rounds.
Song Yadong's undeniable power was potent in the opening rounds and he appeared to catch his American foe with some decent shots early on. However, a perfectly placed elbow from Cory Sandhagen opened a nasty gash above his Yadong's left eye.
The deep cut and incessant stream of blood undoubtedly bothered Yadong over the next three rounds, while Sandhagen picked him apart from the outside. Before the start of the final frame, the on-duty doctor recommended that the referee call a halt to the action, prompting an anti-climactic finish to a great fight.
Both bantamweights showcased tremendous toughness and heart. Yadong delivered a great account of himself, fighting through adversity and showing commendable spirit to fight through extreme discomfort. Meanwhile, Sandhagen moved one step closer to a title shot with his impressive performance.
#3. Chris Barnett vs. Jake Collier – UFC 279
While fights in the lower weight classes are a treat to watch from a technical standpoint, there's nothing quite like a good old fashioned heavyweight slugfest. At UFC 279, all-action heavyweights Chris Barnett and Jake Collier delivered just that and then some, with Barnett ultimately stealing the show.
Collier started strong and even dropped Barnett twice in the very first round.
Going into the second round, Barnett was clearly banged up, with the doctor even stepping in to check on his swollen orbital. After being cleared to continue, 'BeastBoy' came out like a house on fire in the second round and pushed Collier onto the back-foot.
Out of desperation, Collier shot in for a takedown. Barnett sprawled, took his back and landed in full mount before raining down vicious ground-and-pound strikes. The referee was eventually forced to intervene, and fans got to witness the budding fan-favorite's signature celebration yet again.
#2. Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa – UFC Paris
In the first-ever UFC event on French soil, heavyweight juggernauts Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa duked it out in the main event. Gane was fresh off his championship loss to divisional kingpin Francis Ngannou, while Tuivasa was riding a five-fight win streak comprising just as many knockouts.
The first round was a tetchy affair as both fighters opted to get a feel for the range rather than engage in the pocket. The second round was more of the same, until Tuivasa stunned the French faithful in attendance at the Accor Arena as he floored Gane with a thunderous right hand.
'Bon Gamin' managed to compose himself and fired back multiple crippling body kicks which were clearly causing harrowing damage, evident in Tuivasa's facial expression.
Ciryl Gane rallied in the third round and was relentless with his body kicks. It reached a stage where Tai Tuivasa just couldn't take any more damage to the mid-section and the Australian was forced to drop his hands.
Gane capitalized and finished 'Bam Bam' via TKO in the third round.
Both Gane and Tuivasa's admirable performances served as the perfect finalé to the inaugural event in France. The crowd was on fire throughout the main event and fittingly got to witness a hometown win for 'Bon Gamin'.
Their bout rightfully won 'Fight of the Night' honors.
#1. Chidi Njokuani vs. Gregory Rodrigues – UFC Vegas 60
In the most action-packed fight of the month, unranked middleweights Chidi Njokuani and Gregory Rodrigues squared off in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 60. The 185-pound duo somehow managed to beat the Cory Sandhagen-Song Yadong headliner to 'Fight of the Night' honors, and deservedly so.
Njokuani started strong as he always does and landed some hard strikes on Rodrigues. 'Chidi Bang Bang' connected with a flush knee as his Brazilian counterpart darted in for a takedown, opening a horrendous cut between his eyes.
Despite the deep gash, Rodrigues lived up to his 'Robocop' moniker and powered through, making it to the end of the first round. In the second frame, he appeared completely unfazed by the cut and took Njokuani down to the mat en route to an incredible come-from-behind TKO victory.