It was yet another incredibly busy year for mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2022. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) alone staged a staggering 42 events, and between a constant stream of injuries and a roster whose depth can’t always match its breadth, things tended to be rather hit-or-miss.
When they hit, though, they hit hard. Here are MMAmania.com’s “Events of the Year” for 2022.
Several events this year were rendered comically short by late-notice misfortune, and this APEX show in August was no exception. With just 10 fights remaining on the final lineup, the fighters needed to do something special to make an impression.
Ten finishes did the trick.
While Mayra Bueno Silva’s 77-second submission in the opener produced some controversy, the rest of the stoppages were as definitive as they come. Cory McKenna’s Von Flue choke Bryan Battle’s 44-second head kick, Michal Oleksiecjzuk’s euthanasia of Sam Alvey, and Mohammed Usman’s shock one-hitter quitter were particular highlights. The main and co-main events delivered as well, both absolute wars with brutal finishes to cap them off.
When life gives you lemons and all that.
The card started with horrific violence courtesy of Roman Dolidze and Phil Hawes, and outside of one wonky split decision between Maria Oliveira and Gloria de Paula, it never really slowed down. We got to see Ricardo Ramos land his second spinning elbow KO and Jeremiah Wells melt Court McGee before we even reached the main card, which opened with Adrian Yanez delivering one of the most satisfying beatdowns of the year to Tony Kelley.
Then came Gregory “Robocop” bludgeoning Julian Marquez, a nip-and-tuck war between Lightweight danger men Damir Ismagulov and Guram Kutateladze, and two more finishes before the eagerly anticipated main event. While Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett didn’t end up brutalizing each other quite as much as we’d hope, it was still a solid capstone for a quality event.
The main event alone could have carried this card into year-end contention, but the supporting cast did a damn fine job of their own.
Things admittedly got off to a slow start outside of Silvana Gomez Juarez’s nasty knockout of Liang Na. Things soon picked up in a big way with a string of vicious knockouts and a back-and-forth war between Joshua Culibao and Seung Woo Choi. Zhang Weili’s second battle with Joanna Jedrzejczyk made up for the letdown that was Valentina Shevchenko vs. Taila Santos, and then Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira set the place on fire.
Even without recency bias, this was an incredible event from the get-go. Carlos Ulberg started proceedings with a vicious check hook knockout, and after an entertaining battle between Montel Jackson and Julio Arce, Mike Trizano and Seung Woo Choi put together a one-round slugfest that would have won Fight of the Night on any lesser card.
Two more entertaining decisions followed, sandwiching Matt Frevola’s war with Ottman Azaitar, and then the judges got to kick back and enjoy as the last eight fights ended inside the distance. Though Dan Hooker’s finish of Claudio Puelles was largely a stinker, the rest were banger after banger, from Chris Gutierrez’s perfect flying knee to Dustin Poirier’s RNC of Michael Chandler to the two dramatic finishes in two title fights.
Not the worst way to beat those post-Halloween blues.
What is there to say? Two sub-minute finishes, back-to-back Knockout of the Year contenders, another miracle submission from Paul Craig, Jack Shore and Timur Valiev going to war for 15 minutes, Arnold Allen beating the tar out of Dan Hooker, and an absolute masterclass from Tom Aspinall in the main event. This is how you do a Fight Night.
What Was The Best UFC/MMA Event of 2022?
This poll is closed
UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Hill
UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Emmett
UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs. Aspinall
Other (let us know in the comments!)