This year has produced a few extremely entertaining fights.
Compiling this list is a reminder of the number of extraordinary seizures that have occurred in the past year. A completely different roster could have been created after the fights stopped, such as the great matches of Brandon Moreno-Deiveson Figueiredo and Calvin Kattar-Giga Chikadze from January, Arman Tsarukyan-Mateusz Gamrot from June, Charles Oliveira-Justin Gaethje from May. and Stephen Thompson-Kevin Holland earlier this month. Even without Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, and Stipe Miocic, there was no shortage of cage size throughout 2022.
The best fights of the year resonated with their intensity, physicality and high risk. Title matches have the advantage of two extra rounds that account for the last two spots on the roster. Even though there was only one title fight chosen, it was an incredible 25 minutes of fighting spirit.
Here are the five best fights of the year:
5. Matt Schnell vs. Su Mudaerji
UFC on ABC: July 16 at the UBS Arena in Elmont, New York
At the end of the fight, with the blood dripping canvas, this could easily have been mistaken for a crime scene. Matt Schnell used triangle choke to send Su Mudaerji deep into the second round, completing a pure violence fight of just nine minutes and 44 seconds.
Remarkably, Mudaerji competed with a torn ACL. His blows and elbows were brutal, and it clearly had an impact on Schnell, who in his post-fight interview – although he was definitely pierced with them – couldn’t remember being hit with an elbow. Along with one of the best fights of the year, Schnell had an incredible comeback after enduring such intense punishment.
4. Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa
UFC Fight Night: September 3 at the Accor Arena in Paris, France
This heavyweight fight came as announced. Tai Tuivasa unleashed his power early and had an immediate effect knocking Ciryl Gane down. Aware of Tuivsa’s impending attack, Gane fought to his feet and then began to hurl at Tuivasa.
Gane landed on the ground more consistently and the end was inevitable when he reached Tuivasa’s corpse. It was an unbroken, violent relationship between two men with extremely heavy hands, and a major test for Gane, who suffered his only flaw when he lost to Francis Ngannou.
3. Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gilbert Burns
UFC 273: April 9 at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida
Is this the only problem in the fight? Winning.
Gilbert Burns made a convincing argument that he won the second and third rounds of his game against Khamzat Chimaev, especially in the final minutes of the third. Chimaev won first place and controlled a healthy portion of third, but that could easily have been given to Burns.
It was a sight to behold when Burns dropped Chimaev with his right hand. This was shocking because for the first time it made Chimaev look human. Before and after, this was a rare sight.
Although he didn’t win the fight, Burns knocked Chimaev’s aura up a notch.
2. Michael Chandler vs. Dustin Poirier
UFC 281: November 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York
This fight was simply magnificent.
Michael Chandler put on an absolute show at Madison Square Garden for the second year in a row. Unfortunately for Chandler it was another loss. However, it was a sight to behold, with an extremely compelling opening lap.
This match highlighted the best of Chandler’s explosiveness and Poirier’s outstanding ability to finish off an opponent. MMA and pro wrestling in equal measure plus blood, fights and takedowns fell a little behind this year’s fight but incredibly close.
1. Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka
UFC 275: June 12 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore
Brutality, technique and honor were showcased as Jiri Prochazka defeated Glover Teixeira to win the light heavyweight title.
Losing the fight on the scorecards, Prochazka snatched the victory by forcing Teixeira to the button with only 28 seconds left in the fifth round. He entered the fifth and final round with a desperate need to finish, and that’s how it ended.
Teixeira ate wild shot after brutal shot, sacrificing his own jaw and body to prepare for his next takedown attempt. Constantly adding excitement with his mounts, he slammed Prochazka to the ground and punched him. A meaningful sequence also took place when the fifth round began, when Teixeira said he had earned Prochazka’s respect.
There were constant strikes and the stakes could not have been higher with the title on the line. It ended spectacularly when Prochazka locked his rear-naked choke, making history as the UFC’s first champion from the Czech Republic.