Despite a global pandemic raging on, the UFC has put up some of the biggest PPV events in 2020.
Shifting pay-per-views from Las Vegas to Abu Dhabi and then back to Las Vegas, Dana White and team managed to deliver on their promise of hosting packed cards amid cancelled fights and medical emergencies.
Here are the top 5 highest selling UFC PPVs of the year.
#5 UFC 254: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje - 675K
Despite being one of the most hyped bouts of the year, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 could only bring in 675,000 PPV sales and ranks at #5 on this list. Nonetheless, it took nothing away from the show they put up.
After a second-round submission of 'The Highlight', Khabib Nurmagomedov went on to announce his retirement. It can be safely bet that if fans had known this would be his last fight in UFC, the PPV numbers would have certainly been much higher.
But it was a call taken in the moment, and Khabib cited the death of his father and long-time mentor, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, to be the reason behind his decision. However, as per Dana White, Khabib will be back to defend his Lightweight title again, and fight for the 30th win of his career.
#4 UFC 253: Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa - 700K
Middleweight king Israel Adesanya ended his heated rivalry with Paulo Costa in dominant display of performance in the headliner of UFC 253, which sold 700,000 PPVs amid the pandemic. With this pay-per-view, UFC returned to the Fight Island after July, having held events at UFC Apex in between.
Before Adesanya's successful title defense, the co-main event witnessed a terrific Light Heavyweight title bout between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz. The latter clinched a second-round knockout to become the new owner of the 205-pound belt vacated by Jon Jones.
#3 UFC 249: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje - 700K
Selling 700,000 PPVs, the first UFC event to be held within the lockdown period after five others were cancelled since March was special for more than one reason.
A brutal back-and-forth in the headliner ended with Gaethje knocking Ferguson out in the ultimate round, becoming the interim Champion and securing a fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov down the line.
The-then Bantamweight Champ Henry Cejudo defended his title against Dominick Cruz in the co-main event. A previously cancelled Heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik also took place, with the former winning via a vicious a 20-second knockout.
#2 UFC 251: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal - 1.3 million
Gilbert Burns was initially supposed to be Usman's opponent, but had to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. 'Gamebred' stepped in to challenge Usman and add another belt to his collection, but failed to do so.
The Featherweight Championship rematch between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway took place in the main-event, with the former picking up the decision. Before that, Petr Yan knocked out Jose Aldo to win the vacant Bantamweight title.
The rest of the main card saw two women's matches. Amanda Ribas submitted Paige VanZant in the first round, and Rose Namajunas put up a clinical performance against Jessica Andrade to pick up the decision.
#1 UFC 246: Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone - 1.35 million
UFC 246 was the highest grossing UFC pay-per-view of 2020. As is expected of 'The Notorious', his only outing in the year 2020 saw the highest PPV sales of the year.
Conor McGregor's 40-second knockout win over Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone saw a PPV sale of 1.35 million. The Irishman recently posted the specific PPV sale figures of UFC 246.
It was the first pay-per-view of the year, and the UFC could not break the numbers for the rest of the year that Conor McGregor set for the opening PPV main event. It was the Irishman's first UFC fight since he faced Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018 and lost via submission.
The entire MMA community was eagerly waiting for the comeback of the former two-division Champion, and Conor McGregor did not disappoint anybody with a superlative display of action.
In the co-main event of the card, Holly Holm defeated Raquel Pennington in a Women's Bantamweight fight. The rest of the main card saw Aleksei Oleinik, Brian Kelleher, and Carlos Diego Ferreira beat Maurice Greene, Ode Osbourne, and Anthony Pettis respectively.
Roxanne Modafferi won against 'The Future' Maycee Barber in the prelims.
Published 28 Dec 2020, 05:49 IST