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5 best UFC fights of March 2022

Alex Pereira at UFC Vegas 50 [Image via @espnmma on Twitter]
Alex Pereira at UFC Vegas 50 [Image via @espnmma on Twitter]
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C. Naik

The UFC delivered some stellar fight cards in March. Across three Fight Nights and one blockbuster pay-per-view, we saw some incredible barnbuners and back-and-forth slugfests, including some legitimate 'Fight of the Year' contenders.

The first event of the month was the UFC 272 pay-per-view, headlined by the highly-anticipated grudge match between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.

Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal at the T-Mobile Arena [Image via @GamebredFighter on Twitter]
Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal at the T-Mobile Arena [Image via @GamebredFighter on Twitter]

Seven days after the pay-per-view, an action-packed Fight Night went down at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, witnessing eight finishes across the fight card. The next two weeks saw the world's premier MMA organization finally return to Fight Nights in front of capacity crowds. The promotion visited London, England, and Columbus, Ohio, on back-to-back weekends. It was a refreshing change after almost 18 months at the Apex.

Across the aforementioned events, fans witnessed some outstanding and hugely memorable contests. Here are the five best UFC fights of March 2022.


#5. Kevin Holland vs. Alex Oliveira – UFC 272

Upon joining the UFC, Kevin Holland plied his trade in the 185-pound division for his first 13 fights. In 2020, 'Trailblazer' went on a scintillating 5-0 run and even broke into the middleweight rankings following his TKO victory over MMA veteran Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza.

Following back-to-back decision losses to top contenders Marvin Vettori and Derek Brunson, it became apparent that 185 pounds wasn't the ideal weight class for Holland. He fought just once more at middleweight before opting to drop down to his more natural weight class, welterweight.

At UFC 272, Holland took on Alex Oliveira in his promotional welterweight debut. He faced some early adversity in the first round as Oliveira repeatedly attacked the former middleweight's calf with devastating kicks. 'Cowboy' even landed a few takedowns and finished the first frame attempting a choke.

Holland seemed concerned with Oliveira's speed while in conversation with his cornermen after the first round. He struggled to find his range in the opening five minutes and barely landed any significant strikes.

Nevertheless, he bounced back in style in the second round. A little over 30 seconds in, Holland landed a crisp right hook, sending Oliveira crashing to the canvas. A couple of ground-and-pound strikes later, the referee called a halt to the action, handing 'Trailblazer' an encouraging first win at 170 pounds.

Kevin Holland is back ❗️TKO au 2eme round pour Big Mouth 🔥 #UFC272 https://t.co/5ldZ2dk9y0

#4. Terrence McKinney vs. Drew Dober – UFC Vegas 50

The jaw-dropping bout between Terrance McKinney and Drew Dober at UFC Vegas 50 was, strike-for-strike, the most action-packed fight we saw in March 2022. Unfortunately, it only lasted a little over three minutes, but was incredibly memorable nonetheless.

McKinney stepped in to fight Dober, who was originally scheduled to take on Ricky Glenn, on 10 days' notice. However, considering the young lightweight's style, this didn't really matter. 'T-wrecks' seemingly loves the first five minutes of a bout, with 11 out of 12 career wins coming by way of first-round stoppage.

He looked en route to bagging another first-round finish this time around. Dober, who had previously never been knocked down in the UFC despite facing some of the best fighters in the division, was floored less than a minute into the bout. McKinney then dropped him again moments later and many believed this was the beginning of the end.

TERRANCE MCKINNEY HATES SECOND ROUNDS. 😤 #UFCVegas50 https://t.co/1wbzKARzSr

However, Dober's experience shone through. The 33-year-old managed to survive the early onslaught and gained separation after the knockdown.

With McKinney clearly exhausted, Dober sensed his opportunity and closed in. He landed a powerful knee to the body, which saw 'T-wrecks' drop to the mat and ultimately succumb to a TKO finish.

WHAT. A. COMEBACK. 😱[ @DrewDober | #UFCVegas50 | We’re LIVE on @ESPNPlus ] https://t.co/9dE9iXx6tQ

#3. Jai Herbert vs. Ilia Topuria – UFC London

Ilia Topuria made quite a name for himself during his trip to England in March 2022. The rising featherweight was supposed to fight Charles Jourdain in a 145-pound clash in January, but was ultimately pulled off the card following weight-cutting issues. Desperate to return to action, Topuria subsequently accepted a fight against English lightweight Jai Herbert at UFC London.

This was an unusual situation to say the least. The Georgian is ranked No.15 in the featherweight division. He has never been beaten in his pro career and having that '0' in one's record tends to go a long way.

Moreover, at 5'7" and with a reach of just 69 inches, he isn't even the largest of featherweights. The fact that Topuria took on Herbert, who stands 6'1" tall, has an eight-inch reach advantage and competes in a higher weight class, just goes to show how confident he is in his skills.

His gamble almost backfired in the first round. The size and reach disadvantage he was facing was clear as day and he was getting picked apart. Herbert landed a powerful knee and a thunderous headkick that dropped 'El Matador'. Topuria somehow managed to make it to the end of the first round, but was quite bloodied and battered by this point.

Knocked his mouthpiece to the ground AGAIN!🟠🐺 @JaiHerbert2 is putting in that WORK! #UFCLondon https://t.co/uUHX9oz0W7

Topuria came out fresh as a daisy in the second, surprising his opponent with relentless forward pressure. He backed his English counterpart into the fence, landing vicious combinations to keep Herbert on the back foot.

A little over a minute into the second round, Topuria landed a powerful left hook to the body, prompting Herbert to drop his hands. The undefeated Georgian then connected flush with an overhand right, putting 'The Black Country Banger' to sleep.

ILIA TOPURIA BY KNOCKOUT 🤯QUEL COMEBACK 🔥🇬🇪 #UFCLondon https://t.co/Dinc7EzmCj

#2. Alex Pereira vs. Bruno Silva – UFC Vegas 50

Alex Pereira is regarded by many as one of the few fighters who could potentially dethrone UFC middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya. The duo locked horns twice while they were competing in kickboxing, with Pereira emerging victorious on both occasions.

Since their kickboxing days, they have enjoyed hugely contrasting careers. Pereira opted to remain in kickboxing while Adesanya fully committed to MMA following his second loss to 'Po Atan'. 'The Last Stylebender' has since gone on to do wonderful things in MMA, becoming a dominant world champion.

Pereira subsequently made the switch to MMA as well and has been training with light heavyweight champion Glover Texeira as he looks to make a mark in another sport. The multi-time kickboxing world champion joined the UFC in 2021 and delivered a sensational knockout victory in his promotional debut. In his next bout, he was booked to fight fellow Brazilian striker Bruno Silva at UFC Vegas 50.

Back & forth action through 2️⃣. Who takes it in the third? 🤔 #UFCVegas50 https://t.co/fNLFvcKjfp

Many expected Pereira to breeze past Silva, who also prefers striking and is rarely seen attempting takedowns. However, the fight that ensued left fans shocked and thoroughly entertained.

Silva's toughness highlighted just how diverse Pereira's skillset is. 'Po Atan' was able to show just how good he is on the feet and he caught his compatriot with many powerful shots. Surprisingly, Silva managed to land some shots of his own during the fight, but was clearly outgunned in the matchup.

In particular, the third and final round was an absolute slugfest. Pereira was largely in control, but had to be wary of Silva, who was refusing to back down. They went the distance and 'Po Atan' came away with a unanimous decision victory.

Alex Pereira & Bruno Silva just left it all in the Octagon 🤜🤛 #UFCVegas50 https://t.co/OJVEyagbos

#1. Matt Brown vs. Bryan Barberena – UFC Columbus

The incredible bout between Matt Brown and Bryan Barberena at UFC Columbus can only be described as a brawl. The duo went toe-to-toe at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Brown's hometown.

Brown, who's been in the UFC since 2008, has always been an entertaining fighter to watch. Barberena also has a reputation for engaging in slugfests with his opponents, having won 'Fight of the Night' bonuses for his bout against Jason Witt and the memorable barnburner he had with Vicente Luque.

This matchup was expected to produce the goods and it delivered on its promise. Both fighters barely took a backward step and sustained quite a bit of damage courtesy of one another.

MY. GOODNESS. AS ADVERTISED. 👏 #UFCColumbus https://t.co/0zyTspIGAr

It seemed as though Brown clearly won the first round and Barberena won the third. The second was a very close affair and could've gone either way.

Ultimately, Barberena came away with a split-decision victory, much to the anger of the crowd in attendance. The judges scored the contest 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28 in favor of the eventual victor. Both fighters came away from UFC Columbus $50,000 richer as well, as their contest won the 'Fight of the Night' honors.

A fight for the ages 👏@Bryan_Barberena vs @IAmTheImmortal takes home FOTN honors 💰[ #UFCColumbus | B2YB @ToyoTires ] https://t.co/WFcrCuCIdz
Edited by Harvey Leonard
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