UFC Year in Review (Top 3)

Published on 22 December 2023 at 10:00

This year has been magnificent for the MMA community as we have seen plenty of moments. From epic title fights, intense rivalries, crazy knockouts and more. To see what the best moments were, the Top three will be seen as the greatest of that certain category.


Top 3 Knockouts

1. Justin Gaethje Head kick KO vs Dustin Poirier - UFC 291: Justin Gaethje became the BMF of the UFC after winning the belt with an incredible head kick. 'The Highlight' faked a double punch before setting up the kick as it would send Dustin Poirier crashing down to the canvas despite the fact that it looked like 'The Diamond' had blocked the kick.

2. Israel Adesanya KO vs Alex Pereira - UFC 287: Israel Adesanya would become a two-time UFC Middleweight champion and defeat Alex Pereira for the first time after hitting a counter punch before firing two more shots at the former champion. Pereira was out cold after dominating most of the second round during the fight.

3. Josh Emmett KO vs Bryce Mitchell - UFC 296: Josh Emmett made the crowd go crazy after getting his first win in 2023 when he knocked out Bryce Mitchell with an overhand punch. After being knocked clean out, Mitchell had a seizure which would be very worrying for the audience but thankfully he was okay. 


Top 3 Submissions

1. Da'Mon Blackshear Twister vs Jose Johnson - UFC Vegas 78: Da'Mon Blackshear gave everyone the surprise when he successfully submitted Jose Johnson with the third Twister submission in UFC history. He executed it perfectly in the first round to earn his second victory in the UFC.

2. Davey Grant Reverse Triangle Choke vs Raphael Assuncao - UFC Fight Night 221: Davey Grant pulled off an incredible win against UFC veteran, Raphael Assuncao, after submitting him with a Reverse Triangle Choke. This earned 'Dangerous' his first submission win in the UFC as he did it with a very unique style.

3. Alexander Volkov Ezekiel Choke vs Tai Tuivasa - UFC 293: Alexander Volkov proved to be a big Heavyweight contender after submitting Tai Tuivasa with a rare submission by using an Ezekiel Choke.  The Russian fighter definitely gave the crowd a surprise when he used this submission in the second round of the Co-Main Event.


Top 3 fights

1. Alexander Volkanovski vs Islam Makhachev - UFC 284: Alexander Volkanovski had the opportunity to become a simultaneous two-division champion in his home country as he went into a five-round war with UFC Lightweight champion. Both men would be impressive on the feet, hitting sublime strikes and combinations. Despite 'The Great' knocking down the Dagestan-born fighter in the fifth round, it would not be enough to secure the win as Makhachev would win by a close Unanimous Decision as the grappling helped him win the fight.

2. Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Geoff Neal - UFC 285: Pre-fight in this Welterweight Bout did not have a lot of hype or anticipation but would have the crowd standing with applause on their feet in the aftermath. Rakhmonov and Neal almost lasted all three rounds with a non-stop striking battle with men hurting each other with powerful punches. The fight would begin to end when 'Nomad' rocked Geoff Neal with a vicious punch before securing a standing rare-naked choke as the Kazakhstan fighter rose up the Welterweight rankings.

3. Dan Hooker vs Jalin Turner - UFC 290: The Lightweight division never fails with entertaining fights as Dan Hooker and Jalin Turner would be involved in an exciting three-round war. After a quiet first round, the second would begin to explode as Turner threw a ferocious head kick which somehow did not send Hooker to the ground. Minutes later, Hooker would take control of the fight as he stunned 'The Tarantula', almost won by submission and knocked him down in the third round to claim the Split Decision win.


Top 3 fighters

1. islam Makhachev - The current UFC Lightweight champion and #1 Pound-for-Pound fighter has proven to be the top fighter of 2023. With two fights and two wins, they both came against UFC Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski. His first victory ended with a decision win as he defeated the Lightweight title challenger in Volkanovski's home crowd. The second win was with an incredible knockout at UFC 294 in the first round with a brutal head kick and followed by some punches. 

2. Leon Edwards - The King of the Welterweights showed that he could maintain his fighting status as champion. With two fights and two wins, they came against former UFC champions Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. Leon needed to prove that his knockout title win was not a fluke as he faced 'The Nigerian Nightmare' in a rematch in his home country, winning the fight by Majority Decision. His second title defence victory ended after a dominant performance against Covington and winning a clear Unanimous Decision to be seen as one of the best fighters in this day and age.

3. Sean Strickland - The current UFC Middleweight champion did not disappoint this year as he remained active with three fights and three wins. The first two Middleweight Bouts were hosted in the UFC APEX as Strickland was triumphant against Nassourdine Imavov, winning by Unanimous Decision, and successful against Abus Magomedov, winning by second-round TKO. Sean would headline the UFC 293 event as he fought against Israel Adesanya for the 185-pound belt. The Californian fighter completely shocked the Australian crowd as he defeated the former champion in dominant fashion to finally hold UFC gold.


Top 3 debut fighters

1. Bo Nickal - Despite having very few fights, Bo Nickal has been the real deal as he proved at UFC 285 when he made his debut in the MMA promotion. Nickal won in the first round after submitting Jamie Pickett with an Arm Triangle Choke and beginning a possible legacy in the company. 

2. Ikram Aliskerov - Russian fighters usually impress in the UFC but very rarely on their debut as Ikram Aliserkov completely took the crowd by surprise. At UFC 288, Aliskerov could not have had a better debut in the company when he knocked out Phil Hawes in the first round which would son make him a future prospect for UFC gold.

3. Gabriel Bonfim - Fighting in his home country of Brazil for his UFC debut, Gabriel Bonfim showed why he is such an impressive fighter and has stopped every opponent he has faced. Bonfim shined at UFC 283, submitting Mounir Lazzez with a Guillotine Choke in just 49 seconds of the first round and putting the Welterweight division on notice.


Top 3 events

1. UFC 285: Jones vs Gane - The most eye-catching event of 2023 as many incredible moments happened at UFC 285. Future stars such as Ian Garry, Dricus Du Plessis and Bo Nickal shined with stoppage wins. An entertaining fight between Shavkat Rakhmonov and Geoff Neal. A surprising ending in the Co-Main Event when Alexa Grasso submitted Valentina Shevchenko to become UFC Women's Flyweight champion. Plus, Jon Jones cementing his G.O.A.T status in the UFC with a first round submission win against Ciryl Gane to receive the vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship.

2. UFC 290: Volkanovski vs Rodriguez - An event that's seen as a crowd pleaser as quick first-round stoppages happened in the Preliminary Card and the Early Prelims. A happy retirement for Robbie Lawler as he won his last-ever MMA fight by knockout in the first round. A crazy three-round war between Dan Hooker and Jalin Turner. A new title contender in the Middleweight division when Du Plessis defeated Robert Whittaker by second-round TKO. A new UFC Flyweight champion after Alexandre Pantoja earned a Split Decision win. Finally, Alexandre Volkanovski retaining his Featherweight belt with dominance, defeating Yair Rodriguez in the third round by TKO.

3. UFC 291: Gaethje vs Poirier - An unmissable event to watch as the fight card was full of knockouts and submissions. The UFC witnessed crazy potential fighters with the likes of Roman Kopylov and Gabriel Bonfim getting impressive stoppage wins. A big redemption win for Derrick Lewis when he hit a flying knee before winning by TKO in just 33 seconds. UFC 291 saw a new Light Heavyweight title contender as Alex Pereira claimed a Split Decision win over Jan Blachowicz. The Main Event saw one of the greatest knockouts of the year as Justin Gaethje became the BMF of the UFC after an extraordinary head kick KO against Dustin Poirier.


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


Instagram: charlie_oxtoby

MMA Instagram: undisputed._.mma

Twitter: Charlie_Oxtoby1

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