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Top 5 UFC fights of 2020

McGregor v Cerrone
McGregor v Cerrone
Anwesha Nag
ANALYST
Modified 26 Dec 2020, 06:25 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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Like every other sporting organization, the UFC had a difficult calendar year in 2020. However, the promotion did the unthinkable by pushing through the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, and hosting events for the most part.

In June, the UFC shifted to their home ground - the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. When that became a no-go, they went over to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

Despite several fighters testing positive for COVID-19 and multiple fights getting cancelled, the UFC still managed to put up some of the best contests fans have ever seen.

In a year which saw fights like the Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier trilogy, Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes, and Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Benavidez, there were some extraordinary bouts which managed to top the list.

Here are the top 5 UFC fights of 2020.


#5 Justin Gaethje vs. Tony Ferguson

UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje
UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje

Justin Gaethje vs. Tony Ferguson was a special fight, not only because it decided who would face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the Lightweight Championship but also because it was the first main event amid the pandemic.

Spirits were low and confidence was awash in the dire situation, but 'The Highlight' and 'El Cucuy' did not let anyone down.

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The original fight was supposed to be for the 155-pound belt between Khabib and Ferguson, but travel restrictions did not let that happen. Instead, the top two contenders of the division fought it at UFC 249 out for the interim belt, and Justin Gaethje came out victorious.

The brutal 5-round contest in an empty Jacksonville Arena saw Tony Ferguson outclassed for the first time in many years, as Gaethje landed one punch after another.

The fight lasted as long as it did only because it was Tony Ferguson at the other end, and even then 'El Cucuy' refused to back off.

The referee intervened before the fifth round could end, resulting in a TKO win for Justin Gaethje.

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#4 Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker

UFC Fight Night: Poirier v Hooker
UFC Fight Night: Poirier v Hooker

Dan Hooker is known for starting the action soon as the fight starts, and went in hot on Dustin Poirier. But 'The Diamond' did not let that continue for long.

The two engaged in quick and well-aimed shots, making the bout one of the most brilliant displays of striking in the year. The shots were strategic and calculated on both sides, bruising and cutting open each other.

It seemed like at any given point, either of them could have landed a big enough strike to secure a KO. That did not happen, as neither fighter buckled under the pressure.

At the end of Round 5, the decision came in Poirier's favor. But it did not take anything away from Dan Hooker's performance.

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#3 Dan Hooker vs. Paul Felder

UFC Fight Night: Felder v Hooker
UFC Fight Night: Felder v Hooker

Fans were not too convinced about this February 23 card despite Lightweight contenders Paul Felder and Dan Hooker facing each other in the main event.

But those who questioned were forced to eat their words later on, because these two ended up competing in one of the closest fights of the year.

Dan Hooker won via a narrow split decision, but the result could have definitely gone either way.

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A brilliant display of combinations, and some visible damage on Paul Felder early on like the Poirier fight, earned Dan Hooker the win. But Felder returned the favor as the fight drew to an end.

'The Irish Dragon' landed some vicious shots on 'The Hangman'. After this loss, Paul Felder went into an apparent retirement, till he accepted to fight Rafael dos Anjos on less than a week's notice in November.


#2 Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno - UFC Men's Flyweight title fight

UFC 256: Figueiredo v Moreno
UFC 256: Figueiredo v Moreno

The last pay-per-view of the year saw one of the most brutal wars inside the Octagon. Deiveson Figueiredo already had a vicious battle earlier in the year with Joseph Benavidez over the Flyweight belt.

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In the second defense of his title, 'Deus da Guerra' faced and retained his title against top contender Brandon Moreno at UFC 256. The bout rightfully ended in a majority draw, as neither fighter left even the slightest of space for each other throughout the duration of the fight.

According to some, this was the greatest Flyweight bout in UFC, even better than Henry Cejudo ending Demetrious Johnson's epic title reign couple of years ago.


#1 Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk - UFC Women's Strawweight title fight

Zhang Weili vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Zhang Weili vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk

In what became inarguably the greatest women's fight ever, Zhang Weili defended her UFC Strawweight title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 via a razor-thin split decision.

But the result was insignificant in front of the show the two fighters put up, which is worthy of any top UFC fights list of not only 2020 but in the promotion's history.

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Despite not being the main event of the night, what Weili and Jedrzejczyk put up that night inside the Octagon was nothing short of magic. Both the champion and the challenger attacked and counterattacked with planned-out, accurately-aimed strikes. If the Polish challenger landed a combination, the Chinese Champion countered with brutal punches.

Weili's well-aimed shots caused a very visible hematoma on Jedrzejczyk's forehead, and the Champ was cut up in places as well. But neither fighter backed away or dialled down the violence.

Zhang Weili was on the right end of 48-47 scorelines on two judges' cards to secure the split-decision win and retain the title.

Published 26 Dec 2020, 06:25 IST
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