5 best fights in the UFC since 2019
- The talent in MMA has grown unprecedentedly as fighters nowadays have to be well rounded in all aspects of the game.
- Today we take a look at five of the best fights in the UFC since the start of last year.
Mixed Martial Arts has grown unprecedentedly in the past 27 years of the UFC’s existence.
Fighters nowadays have to develop in a well-rounded manner in all aspects of the game if they are to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
Perhaps having a database of hundreds of thousands of fights has also helped the fighters and coaches determine what works and what doesn’t inside the octagon.
Fighters transitioning from other sports like Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, etc. have also helped in raising the standards of fights we witness in the UFC today.
So, we look at five best fights in the UFC which have taken place since the start of 2019:-
5) Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje
The only fight on this list with no audience in attendance, this was one of the biggest upsets in the UFC in recent memory.
Tony Ferguson’s 12 fight win streak was enough for most of us at the time to see him as the favorite to win the fight against Gaethje.
Gaethje didn’t seem to have enough time to prepare for Ferguson’s unorthodox style but really laid it on him as he became the new interim lightweight champion.
Ferguson displayed his chin and toughness in that fight, which was stopped in the fifth round by referee Herb Dean after he deemed Tony to have taken too much punishment.
For Gaethje, this fight showed how much he has grown mentally as he could adjust to his coach’s instructions while not getting over-excited and being drawn into a brawl.
Gaethje’s accuracy of strikes was also a key factor in his win as he landed 72% of his strikes, an astonishing rate.
4) Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington
Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington had been rivals for a long time and would always be on a collision course against each other as top contenders in the welterweight division.
They finally met at UFC 245 after years of trash talk and dislike and their fight delivered even more than what we had expected of them.
Considering that both Colby and Usman predicate their game primarily on wrestling, their fight was a strike fest with a combined 318 total strikes thrown in the fight.
The momentum swung back and forth between rounds and as they entered the fifth; they seemed tied at 2-2 with Colby pushing the pace early in that last round.
Usman would display the heart of a champion though as he fought back and broke Colby’s jaw before a controversial stoppage by referee Mark Goddard.
3) Jon Jones vs Dominick Reyes
Jon Jones has had two tough fights since he came back from suspension. His fight against Thiago Santos was an exciting bout with Jones choosing to keep the fight standing, which gave the Brazilian a huge chance.
But the fight between Jones and Dominick Reyes was the tougher of the two bouts. Reyes gave Jones arguably his toughest fight since his first one against Alexander Gustafsson back at UFC 165. Reyes outstruck the incumbent champion and landed a dozen more significant strikes than Jones, who only won the fight on the judges' scorecard because of his two brief takedowns.
They will probably meet again considering how young Reyes is and the lack of quality contenders in the lightweight division.
Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk were supposed to be the appetizer for the main event of Adesanya vs Romero at UFC 248 but ended up stealing the show.
It also didn’t help that Adesanya and Romero combined to land just 88 strikes in five rounds in what was one of the most boring main events in the history of the UFC. But credit should go where it’s due as Zhang and Jedrzejczyk put up the best women’s title fight in UFC history in a fight that had everything.
Zhang was still an unproven commodity in front of most people’s eyes and many fans thought they had given her the chance to fight for the title as part of UFC’s marketing plans for China.
She proved all that to be false as she showed her power by giving Joanna a hematoma which no viewer will ever forget.
Although Joanna outstruck the champion, Zhang’s power seemed too much for her to handle at times in a match where momentum swung from one fighter to the other.
“The Last Style Bender’s” classic against Kelvin Gastelum for the interim UFC middleweight belt at UFC 236 remains the best fight in the UFC over the last two years and was voted as the 2019 fight of the year by many MMA media outlets, it was a sensational performance by both athletes as they showed immense heart and guts throughout.
Adesanya and Kelvin would both have their moments in the fight with Gastelum enjoying more of those in the early rounds. Adesanya would prevail in the later rounds, and his performance in the fifth round remains one of the most impressive in the title fight.
The Kiwi turned on the heat as he shut off Gastelum with feints and submission attempts while also earning three knockdowns during that round to ensure they would crown him as the new interim middleweight champion of the world.Published 10 Jun 2020, 03:27 IST