When boredom descends, it’s worthwhile revisiting some of the best UFC fights of all time. Scroll to a random point in this article, click one of the links and I promise you will be entertained.
Gokhan Saki was renowned for his kickboxing pedigree, but it wasn’t clear how he’d perform in the UFC. From the opening bell, Saki landed thundering strikes on the tough but limited Brazilian slugger, Henrique Da Silva.
As the round went on, Saki started breathing heavily and Da Silva found success with knees and elbows in the clinch. Da Silva relentlessly pursued his foe, but left himself open to a gigantic left hook from the visibly exhausted Saki. The shot landed flush and sent the Brazilian crashing to the canvas.
Not many featherweights were queuing up to fight Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC 223, but Kyle Bochniak had no reservations. While the size, length and dynamic striking arsenal of Magomedsharipov was too much to overcome, Bochniak fought his heart out and gained plenty of fans.
There was no chance of a boring fight when Joe Lauzon faced Jim Miller at UFC 155. After three rounds of bludgeoning strikes, scrambles and submission attempts, blood was splattered everywhere like the scene of a horror film. It was superb!
Despite conceding takedowns in round one, Anthony Pettis scrambled back to his feet and got his striking going. From the southpaw stance, Pettis landed left kicks to the body of Charles Oliveira – which hurt him badly.
In round two, Oliveira pressured effectively, which prevented Pettis from setting up his kicks properly. The striking was close, but a takedown in the dying seconds for Oliveira likely won him the round.
We saw more exciting grappling transitions in round three, but Pettis eventually locked in a guillotine on Oliveira to punish a sloppy takedown attempt and win the fight.
This ferocious encounter between Irene Aldana and Lucie Pudilova was one of the best fights on a stacked UFC 228 card. Both women wore masks of blood at the end of the contest, which could’ve gone either way on the scorecards.
At the time, Brandon Thatch had won his last three fights by first round knockout and was one of the scariest prospects in the welterweight division. A natural lightweight, Benson Henderson was at a size and power disadvantage.
After letting the larger kickboxer wear himself out, Henderson leaned on his grappling. This led to a back take and rear-naked choke finish in round four.
This fight showed off Henderson’s complete mixed martial arts skills, but also highlighted Thatch’s questionable ground game, which would plague him for the rest of his career.
In round one, Dan Henderson was close to being finished by the heavy-handed Hector Lombard. Still hanging tough in round two, Henderson landed a head kick that was caught. Balancing on one leg, Henderson threw a vicious back elbow which immediately detached Lombard from his consciousness.
Rory Macdonald knew that in order to defeat Demian Maia, he’d have to keep the fight standing. This was easier said than done, since Maia had excellent entries into his takedowns and could chain wrestle like he had a college pedigree.
After spending the majority of round one on his back, Macdonald sprawled effectively in round two and lit Maia up on the feet. Macdonald started round three with more of the same, but was taken down two minutes into the round.
If Maia maintained top position for the rest of the round, he would’ve won the fight – but it wasn’t to be. With brilliant utilization of the butterfly guard, Macdonald created space and scrambled his way to his feet – where he dominated the rest of the contest.
Overcoming such a strong adversary allowed Macdonald to transition from prospect to contender, and he would continue his journey toward a welterweight title fight in the near future.
In this contest, Uriah Hall aimed to utilize his 7-inch reach advantage and keep the hard-hitting Paolo Costa at bay. For the first few minutes, Hall’s jab landed clean – but he didn’t follow it up with the right hand.
Costa backed Hall up against the fence, where he unloaded with power shots. Costa’s attacks to the body slowed Hall down – which led to a brutal stoppage.
After eating a barrage of heavy punches at the end of round two, Yoel Romero was out on his feet. In controversial fashion, Romero spent more than his allotted minute in between rounds recovering on his stool.
Once fully recharged, the Cuban violently clobbered and finished Tim Kennedy early in round three. Kennedy was not pleased and confronted Romero after the fight backstage.
It’s incredible how much damage Neil Magny absorbed without being finished in the first round of this contest. He was battered repeatedly while falling all over the cage, yet somehow survived.
By round two it was evident that Hector Lombard’s gas tank was empty, and this is when Magny staged a comeback.
The fight ended in round three with Magny in top position, hammering Lombard’s head into the canvas until the referee intervened.
In this hilarious old school fight, neither Don Frye and Tank Abbott took a backwards step.
Frye came off second best when the fists started flying, but then capitalized when Abbott slipped over and fell on his buttocks. Abbott cleared hadn’t trained much jiu-jitsu, since Frye was able to lock in one of the sloppiest rear-naked chokes you’ll ever see.
Andrei Arlovski started strong and rocked Travis Browne repeatedly. While under heavy fire, Browne found an opening to land a huge right hook that sent Arlovski to the canvas. Browne was still wobbly, which prevented him from finishing a hurt opponent.
After getting back to his feet, Arlovski pressured forward in pursuit of the knockout. Arlovski landed a combination of punches in the dying seconds of round one and the referee stepped in to save Browne from further damage.
Headlining in front of the British fans in London, Michael Bisping took on legendary former champion, Anderson Silva.
The big talking point of this fight was at the end of round three, when Bisping was dropped by a huge flying knee while arguing with the referee. After returning from death’s door, Bisping soldiered on to win the fight 48-47 on the scorecards.
Not many fans gave Lando Vannata a chance when he entered the UFC on short notice to take on one of the most feared contenders in the division. However, his unorthodox attacks and unpredictable movement gave Tony Ferguson plenty of problems in round one.
Despite being badly rocked by a head kick, Ferguson rallied back and submitted Vannata with his trademark D’arce choke in round two. The fight was expected to be one-sided, but it was absolutely not.
At the start of the fight, Claudia Gadelha’s striking looked sharp and she left Jessica Andrade’s forehead leaking blood. In the closing stages of round one, Andrade solidified top position and momentum shifted her way for the rest of the fight.
In a gruesome war of attrition, Andrade’s cardio, tenaciousness and savagery proved to be the difference.
They say that power is the last thing to go with ageing fighters. At 46-years-of-age, Dan Henderson landed the “H-bomb” and put Michael Bisping on his back twice during this contest.
However, Bisping produced more consistent output over five rounds to win the decision.
If fights were scored by facial damage rather than rounds, Henderson would have retired as the middleweight champion.
Jamie Varner started to take over in the second round of this exciting lightweight bout. He unloaded with venom as Abel Trujillo was backed up against the fence.
However, when you swing wildly in search of the finish, you’re in danger of getting clipped yourself – and that’s exactly what happened. In the chaos, Trujillo found the opportunity to shut off Varner’s lights with a huge right hand.
This 2014 contest between Japan’s Michinori Tanaka and Korea’s Kyung Ho Kang was a magnificent grappling display. The fight was primarily a battle for positional dominance and there were many beautiful transitions to appreciate.
Matt “The Immortal” Brown had a reputation for being one of the toughest men to set foot inside the octagon, and this fight shows why. Brown was folded by a body kick in the early stages of the fight and then had to fend off submissions with a high level jiu-jitsu black belt riding his back.
After working his way back to his feet, Brown immediately went on the offense. He walked Erick Silva down and blasted him with an array of knees and elbows at close range. Despite being hurt several more times to the body, Brown’s indomitable will showed through and he put Silva away with ground strikes in round three.
The first time these two met, Spencer Fisher took the fight on short notice and had to drop a significant amount of weight. In the rematch, Fisher was much better prepared and put on a slick striking display to take the decision victory.
This short but brutal fight had multiple momentum swings.
Niko Price rocked Tim Means with a flurry of punches, but then got taken down and controlled. Once the fight was vertical again, Means tee’d off and his technical superiority was evident.
As Means marched forward in pursuit of the finish, he left his hands low and was knocked unconscious by a right hook out of nowhere.
This 2009 bout was an outrageous brawl. Both men got rocked and dropped throughout the contest, but it was Nate Quarry’s powerful right hand that disrupted Tim Credeur’s offensive groove and earned him the decision victory.
When you have two grapplers that pursue submissions over positions, you’re in for an exciting fight.
Paddy Holohan gave a good account of himself on home soil, but Louis Smolka was one step ahead all night.
Eventually, Smolka mounted Holohan and unloaded with punches until the Irishman gave up his back. This resulted in a quick and decisive rear-naked choke finish for the Hawaiian.
At the time, Renan Barao was the most dangerous bantamweight on the planet and few gave TJ Dillashaw a chance at springing the upset. However, Dillashaw did his research and concluded that effective use of footwork and angles would give him an edge against Barao, who was much more flat-footed.
Dillashaw comprehensively outclassed the reigning champion and gained recognition as one of the world’s elite fighters.
Four years later, he tested positive for EPO – which casts a shadow over his previous wins.
Early in the fight, Jon Jones observed that Lyoto Machida was countering his low kicks with straight punches. Jones made the adjustment in round two. He faked the low kick and came over the top with an overhand.
Machida was severely rocked and this gave Jones the opportunity to secure a guillotine.
This was arguably the most brutal front choke submission of all time – Machida flopped to the canvas like a lifeless corpse!
The vast majority of this fight was a one-sided beatdown in favor of Mirsad Bektic. While completely outclassed in terms of skill, Darren “The Damage” Elkins relied on his toughness and eventually found the opportunity to finish his opponent with a head kick and subsequent punches.
Defense wasn’t a consideration in this lightweight slugfest between Damien Brown and Frank Camacho. Both men threw hammers at each other and by the end of the contest, the crowd were off their seats.
With an iron chin and crushing power, few wanted to stand and trade with John “Hands of Stone” Lineker. Despite possessing a height and reach advantage, Francisco Rivera opted to bang it out in the pocket with his shorter rival.
Both men ate clean shots, yet Rivera was the one who got staggered. In panic, Rivera shot a takedown and was immediately caught in a guillotine choke.
Yuri Alcantara cracked Cory Sandhagen early and dragged him to the canvas. Things got ugly as Alcantara was yanking on Sandhagen’s arm while he also had the triangle locked in from the side. Sandhagen’s face began to leak crimson – the result of hammerfists continually landing.
Somehow, Sandhagen squirmed free and then unloaded with elbows and punches from top position. The damage accumulated and Alcantara was a bloody disaster at the end of the round.
The onslaught continued at the start of round two and Sandhagen got his hand raised shortly after.
Leading up to this bantamweight title fight, it seemed Dominick Cruz would be able to use his superior footwork to dance circles around a one-dimensional boxer in Cody Garbrandt. However, Garbrandt’s speed enabled him to close the distance and beat Cruz to the punch all night.
Never count out a hungry young prospect’s ability to rise to the occasion.
Both men had their moments of success in this violent brawl. However, it was Jeremy Stephens who finished the fight with one of the nastiest flying knees you’ve ever seen.
Facing a heavy puncher, Travis Browne aimed to keep his opponent at kicking range. The plan worked effectively in round one and it appeared Derrick Lewis was badly hurt from kicks to the body.
The complexion of the fight changed in round two, when Lewis countered one of Browne’s high kicks with a flurry of punches.
Lewis didn’t let Browne off the hook – he battered him across the cage and then finished him from top position.
Known for his animalistic power and aggression, it’s easy to see why Lewis calls himself “The Black Beast”.
It’s rare you get two warriors willing to duke it out in a phone booth, but that’s exactly what happened when Bryan Barberena met Vicente Luque at UFC on ESPN 1. Down two rounds on the scorecards, Luque scored a barbaric TKO with ten seconds left in the fight.
There are plenty of technical battles on this list, but this isn’t one of them.
Sometimes you just want to see two meatheads go blow-for-blow, and this fight doesn’t disappoint. Be sure to check out this sloppy slugfest between Steve Bosse, a former ice hockey enforcer, and Sean O’Connell, a radio broadcaster.
When two free-flowing grapplers fight one another, there are usually lots of brilliant scrambles to enjoy. This contest was filled with takedowns, reversals and submission attempts on both sides.
If you have any uninformed friends that think grappling fights are boring, just show them this one.
Wild shootouts between two heavy punchers are always fun to watch! Thiago Santos was a little bit more fluid and technical throughout the contest, although Jimi Manuwa had moments of success himself.
This welterweight title bout between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson was intriguing from a stylistic perspective. You had an explosive wrestler with concussive power facing off against an elusive karate fighter.
Woodley caught a kick and controlled Thompson on the mat to win round one. The next two rounds, Thompson backed up Woodley and out-struck him against the fence. Woodley dropped Thompson and nearly choked him out in round four, then Thompson returned to land the cleaner strikes in round five.
Thompson landed with more consistency throughout the fight, whereas Woodley had the big moments. The result was a justified draw.
In 2012, Dustin Poirier and Chan Sung Jung were developing fighters. Both men would go on to reach much higher ceilings, but this contest was still immensely entertaining.
This fight had a bit of everything, from concussive striking exchanges to thrilling grappling transitions. The contest ended in round four when Poirier was rocked on the feet and then caught in a D’arce choke.
It’s incredible how many flush bombs Yancy Medeiros absorbed in round one without getting finished. After expending so much energy trying to secure the knockout, Alex Oliveira started slowing down – which allowed Medeiros back into the fight.
With legendary grit and determination, Medeiros stopped Oliveira in round three with a barrage of strikes against the fence.
Alistair Overeem was inches away from grasping the UFC heavyweight title when he dropped Stipe Miocic with a huge right hand. Unfortunately, his decision to go for a guillotine rather than follow up with ground strikes would come back to haunt him.
Once recovered, Miocic went on the attack. He dragged Overeem to the mat and pounded him out from top position.
Leading up to UFC 167, fans speculated that Johnny Hendricks could pose stylistic problems for the reigning welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre. Hendricks was a strong defensive wrestler and had the firepower to inflict damage on the feet.
Hendricks did more than hold his own – he left the champion bloodied and battered at the end of the five rounds. While the judges declined to reward Hendricks with the victory, this was still a superb title fight.
UFC 199 was a stacked card and not many fans were looking forward to the early prelim bout between Dong Hyun Ma and Marco Polo Reyes.
As it happened, these two unheralded lightweights stole the show. They beat the tar out of each other until Polo Reyes was the one man left standing.
At the time of his UFC debut at 25-years-of-age, Franke Edgar was already an incredibly well-rounded mixed martial artist. While he took some damage from the bigger and more powerful Tyson Griffin, Edgar’s sharp boxing and excellently timed takedowns allowed him to prevail in this competitive contest.
Heading into the fifth round of this all-action main event, “The Korean Zombie” already had three rounds in the bag – yet he was never one to play it safe. Still attacking as the clock ran down to zero, the Korean fighter was knocked unconscious by an outlandish no-look elbow.
When Yair Rodriguez landed the kill shot, there was one second left on the clock. This was one of the most phenomenal knockouts in UFC history.
Coming into the UFC, Alex Volkanovski was a highly athletic but unrefined wrestle-boxer. In this performance, he showcased his improvements as a technical striker.
While Chad Mendes had success throughout the fight, he wasn’t managing his energy intelligently. Volkanovski maintained composure, survived power shots and popped back to his feet whenever he was taken down.
As Mendes started to slow, Volkanovski turned up the pressure and melted his opponent with a furious onslaught against the fence.
It’s easy to see why Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva are both legends of the sport. In this classic encounter, both men landed on each other for fifteen minutes – but it was Liddell who had the cleaner boxing and superior accuracy.
This wasn’t a competitive fight, but it’s essential viewing if you want to see how destructive the Muay Thai clinch can be in MMA. After getting blasted with knees to the body and head, Rich Franklin collapsed to the canvas with his nose pointing in an unholy direction.
BJ Penn moved up from the lightweight division to fight for the welterweight title against a much larger champion.
Penn may have been undersized, but he overperformed. He landed clean punches on Matt Hughes and then took top position – where he used his jiu-jitsu skills to control and submit the decorated wrestler.
While this wasn’t the most skillful contest, it was certainly hilarious. Frank Mir and Todd Duffee came out swinging for the fences and neither men gave an inch. After trading looping shots, Duffee walked into a huge hook which left him face down on the canvas.
In 2015, it looked as if no contender would dethrone Cain Velasquez for the foreseeable future. An athletic wrestle-boxer with an endless gas tank, “Cardio Cain” was known for putting a pace on opponents and drowning them.
On paper, Fabricio Werdum presented some stylistic challenges for the champion. An elite jiu-jitsu black belt with a deadly guard game, Werdum could definitely hang on the mat. Furthermore, Werdum’s Muay Thai had steadily improved over the years.
The fight was in Mexico City, which has an altitude of 7,350 feet. Werdum had travelled there early to acclimatize, Velasquez had not.
Velasquez started strong, but became visibly tired in round two. By round three, Velasquez was getting beat up on the feet. This led him to shoot a sloppy double leg, which got him caught in a guillotine and finished.
The result was a gigantic upset.
On his journey toward this featherweight title bout, Brian Ortega had finished his last seven UFC opponents in a row. While he often lost exchanges and gave away rounds, “T-City” always managed to find the knockout or submission. On paper, it seemed that Ortega would eventually lose to a superior striker who could stuff his takedowns – yet he had an air of invincibility about him.
At UFC 231, Max Holloway’s attritive boxing was too much for Ortega. With his eye swollen shut and his face looking like abstract art, Ortega conceded defeat at the end of round four.
Just like the previous instalment of this trilogy, Frankie Edgar would have to battle through early adversity to emerge victorious. After surviving a horrendous beating in round one, Edgar’s superior boxing and footwork became evident – which ultimately culminated in a fourth round knockout for “The Answer”.
In 2012, Rousimar Palhares was one of the scariest leg lock specialists we’d seen in the UFC and he was expected to run through Alan Belcher. However, things did not go according to plan for the Brazilian.
After Belcher fended off numerous submissions, he established top position and rained down punches until the referee waved the fight off.
After a long layoff, it was intriguing to see how Georges St. Pierre would perform against the reigning middleweight champion, Michael Bisping. Questions about ring rust were immediately answered, as St. Pierre’s striking looked sharper than ever.
St. Pierre scored a takedown in round three, but had his face carved up by elbows from bottom position. When the fight was vertical again, St. Pierre looked like the victim of a knife attack and momentum swung in Bisping’s favor.
Out of the blue, St. Perre landed a stiff left hook which knocked his opponent to the canvas. St. Pierre followed up with a barrage of strikes and then sunk in a rear-naked choke to finish the contest.
In the first three rounds of this championship fight, Chris Weidman landed the cleaner strikes and racked up control time in top position. In round four, Lyoto Machida staged a comeback and landed a flurry of punches on Weidman against the fence.
Machida continued to fight valiantly, but also lost round five. The fight was competitive and entertaining, but Weidman was the clear winner.
Georges St. Pierre is often heralded for his high fight IQ, and this performance shows why.
In round one, BJ Penn lit St. Perre up with boxing combinations.
In rounds two and three, St. Pierre made adjustments and refused to trade in punching range. Instead, he entered the clinch and opted to wrestle the smaller opponent, which resulted in a hard-fought decision victory.
Jose Aldo met Chad Mendes for the second time at UFC 179 and the fight was an instant classic. While Aldo landed the cleaner strikes over five rounds, Mendes was a game opponent and had plenty of success himself.
The talking point of the fight was a huge punch landed by Aldo after the bell in round one – which badly rocked Mendes. There was no point deduction for this infringement.
Chris “The Crippler” Leben was not a defensively sound fighter. In fact, he often walked through fire and gambled on his durability.
Leben absorbed lots of flush head shots in this bout, yet persevered onward.
In the third round, Yoshihiro Akiyama solidified top position and was on his way to a decision victory – yet Leben threw up a triangle in the dying stages of the fight and secured the tap out.
Unlike other sports, fortunes can change within a blink of an eye in MMA.
The fans were treated to an insane barn burner when Antonio Nogueira fought Randy Couture at UFC 102. Both men had success from top position as well as on the feet in this back-and-forth brawl, but Nogueira was the more dominant combatant across fifteen minutes.
Wanderlei Silva wanted nothing more than an opponent who would stand right in front of him and trade bombs, and he got a willing dance partner in Brian Stann. Both men were dropped throughout the fight, but it was Silva who landed the finishing blows.
Leading up to UFC 69, Georges St. Pierre was an overwhelming favorite to defeat Matt Serra – but fights aren’t won on paper.
Out of nowhere, Serra connected with a huge right hook behind the ear of St. Pierre, which buckled his legs. Serra pursued the champion and landed a blitzkrieg of strikes before finishing him on the mat.
St. Pierre would subsequently reclaim the belt in emphatic fashion, but Serra will always have his place in the history books.
After losing the first two rounds, Carlos Condit knew he needed to finish Rory Macdonald in the third. After catching his adversary with a clean right hand, Condit established top position and then rained down punches and elbows for the majority of the round. With ten seconds remaining and Macdonald’s face looking like roadkill, the referee stepped in to call the fight.
After riding roughshod over the lightweight division in World Series of Fighting, it wasn’t clear how Justin Gaethje’s skills would stack up against the UFC’s finest athletes. Gaethje was thrown in at the deep end when he was set to face Michael Johnson in his debut.
The first round was back-and-forth, but Johnson landed a huge uppercut with thirty seconds remaining. Johnson followed up with a barrage of punches and knees to try and secure the finish, but Gaethje held strong and came back to win the fight by knockout in round two.
The UFC’s production quality may have been much worse in 2005, but the fight quality wasn’t.
This back-and-forth war between Nick Diaz and Diego Sanchez was full of crazy scrambles. Sanchez snatched the win primarily because of his wrestling advantage.
Early into the fight, it was evident that Antonio Nogueira needed to drag Tim Sylvia to the mat.
After he lost the first two rounds, Nogueira pulled guard and brought Sylvia to the ground with him. “Minotauro” then swept Sylvia and caught him in a guillotine as he tried to scramble to his feet.
The finishing sequence was beautiful to watch and it’s easy to see why “Big Nog” is heralded as one of the best jiu-jitsu players to compete in MMA.
This fight was a gruelling war. Both men showed inhuman toughness and determination.
By round three, Eddie Alvarez proved himself to be the more technical boxer, but the leg kicks from Justin Gaethje had caused damage. Alvarez could barely walk, yet he still mustered the power to land a destructive knee in the clinch – which left Gaethje crumpled on the canvas.
In his prime, Anderson Silva was compared to Neo in The Matrix. His ability to slip punches and capitalize on openings left by opponents was otherworldly.
Moving up to the light heavyweight division, Silva made a legitimate fighter like Forrest Griffin look like an amateur.
Conventional wisdom suggested that if Gabriel Gonzaga was to emerge victorious, he needed to utilize his jiu-jitsu skills. This wasn’t the case at all.
Gonzaga annihilated “Cro Cop” with a thunderous head kick – a move that “Cro Cop” himself was renowned for.
The first round of this contest was one-sided. Kendall Grove punished Mark Munoz for failed takedown attempts and nearly choked him out on two occasions.
Grove landed a hard knee at the start of round two, but conceded top position after a failed submission attempt. Munoz quickly took advantage and dropped nuclear missiles from above to get the stoppage victory.
This fight is one of the best examples of how cardio can be used as a weapon.
While both men looked evenly matched in terms of skill for the first two rounds, Jose Aldo put steam on every strike thrown whereas Max Holloway half-committed to his shots. In round three, Holloway shifted up a gear and overwhelmed Aldo – who had already expended a lot of energy earlier in the fight.
It was awesome to witness the pressure and savagery of Justin Gaethje versus the more nuanced boxing of Dustin Poirier. Throughout the first two rounds, Poirier landed the cleaner strikes, but Gaethje was still in the fight.
In round three, Gaethje beat up the lead leg of Poirier and successfully walked him down. In round four, Poirier countered a low kick with a blistering left hand. Gaethje was on wobbly legs and Poirier continued to land combinations until the referee stepped in.
This was a brilliant display of technical boxing in MMA.
Calvin Kattar controlled the first round with his jab, then Shane Burgos successfully ripped the body to win round two. In round three, Kattar caught Burgos with a clean right cross and then finished him with a bombardment of punches.
The first round of this contest was not competitive. Shane Carwin pulverized Brock Lesnar from top position for a long stretch.
It just goes to show that punching someone in the face is more exhausting than getting punched in the face, because Carwin looked exhausted as he entered round two. Fully recovered, Lesnar hit an easy double leg and submitted Carwin with an arm triangle choke.
There was absolutely no feeling out process in this heavyweight banger. As the fight progressed, Pedro Rizzo showcased his Muay Thai pedigree and flatlined Josh Barnett with a thudding right hand at the end of round two.
Barnett looked discombobulated on the canvas – a testament to Rizzo’s ferocious power.
When the two rematched in another promotion, Barnett would get his revenge.
In this eagerly anticipated rematch, Chuck Liddell took on an opponent that he’d emphatically finished a few years prior. Tito Ortiz had won five fights in a row since the first contest, so deserved his shot at the light heavyweight title.
Lidell dropped Ortiz in round one and came close to finishing him. However, Ortiz got comfortable in round two and landed a takedown to finish the round strongly. In round three, Liddell punished Ortiz for a failed takedown attempt and rained down strikes until the referee intervened.
This was one of the UFC’s most lucrative events at the time. It propelled both fighters into the mainstream spotlight.
In the first round, Conor McGregor beat the brakes off Nate Diaz. However, McGregor expended so much energy trying to finish a tough and durable opponent that he started to slow down – which allowed Diaz to gain momentum.
Under heavy fire, the Irishman shot a takedown on the decorated jiu-jitsu black belt. This quickly resulted in him getting choked out.
Be sure to watch the classic post-fight interview from Diaz.
This main event in Auckland, New Zealand, was both a chess match and war of attrition.
Dan Hooker looked to fight long and utilize his 5-inch reach advantage, whereas Felder sought to chop down his opponent’s lead leg and land combinations on the inside. Both men were successful at different stages of this highly competitive battle.
This all-action 2006 fight was packed with awesome grappling exchanges. Both men landed takedowns and swept one another across fifteen minutes. Diego Sanchez had the superior conditioning and was able to put his foot in the gas in round three, which earned him the decision victory.
Having lost to Dustin Poirier early in his career, many thought Max Holloway had made the necessary improvements to snatch the win the second time they met. However, the power differential turned out to be significant.
Every time Holloway entered an offensive flow, he got caught with a huge shot that immediately broke his rhythm. You can’t fault Holloway’s performance, Poirier was just the better man on the night.
Frank Mir took an early beating and was perilously close to being finished with ground strikes. Instead, “Minotauro” opted to go for a guillotine – which gave Mir the opportunity to create a scramble.
When Mir locked in a Kimura, the Brazilian attempted to roll his way to safety. However, Mir stayed with him and secured the submission which unfortunately broke Nogueira’s shoulder.
These are some of the most beautiful grappling transitions you’ll ever see in a heavyweight fight!
After he dropped Cheick Kongo with a huge overhand, Pat Barry swarmed in search of the finish. Kongo stood up and got dropped again – the fight appeared to be wrapped.
Miraculously, Kongo stood up yet again and staggered backwards. Barry pursued recklessly, then Kongo annihilated him with a hook and an uppercut.
A fight isn’t over until it’s over! This goes down as one of the wildest comebacks in UFC history.
There was barely a dull moment in this high octane brawl between Roger Huerta and Clay Guida.
Huerta dropped the first two rounds, so needed a finish with five minutes remaining. At the beginning of round three, Huerta landed a huge knee and combination of punches, which forced Guida to become a panic wrestler. After spinning out of a single leg attempt, Huerta took Guida’s back and promptly strangled him.
This fight had so many twists and turns, it’s as if it was scripted by a writer to keep the audience in perpetual excitement.
Conor McGregor’s power, precision and hand speed won him the first round. Known for his endurance, Nate Diaz worked his way back into the fight at the end of round two. Diaz dominated round three.
It looked as if the Irishman was fading, yet he caught a second wind and edged out the striking exchanges in the fourth round. Diaz came back in the fifth round and secured a takedown in the dying stages of the fight.
While McGregor won the fight 48-47 on the scorecards, some fans felt it should have been a 47-47 draw. The bout was a timeless classic and it sets the stage for an epic third encounter in the future.
This welterweight title fight was primarily a striking affair.
We saw Robbie Lawler’s boxing-centric style come up against the more dynamic arsenal of Carlos Condit – and the result was electrifying. While Condit probably should have won three rounds on the scorecards, both men performed exceptionally.
At 43-years-of-age, Randy Couture moved up to the heavyweight division to take on a champion in Tim Sylvia who not only towered over him, but was thirteen years younger. Couture was out-matched on paper, but approached the fight strategically.
In order to negate the huge height and reach disadvantage, Couture bobbed and weaved at distance, then countered with overhands and hooks at every opportunity. Every time Sylvia became comfortable in a striking battle, Couture shot a double leg and then dominated from top position.
In a fight that he was expected to lose, Couture won every single round to claim the heavyweight title.
There is nothing more thrilling than seeing a fighter battle through adversity to achieve victory. MMA imitates real life in this regard.
Matt Hughes took a beating in the early stages of the fight and was close to being choked out by Frank Trigg, who had him in a body triangle. After wriggling free, Hughes picked Trigg up, carried him across the cage and slammed his adversary into the canvas in what was one of the most iconic takedowns in the history of the sport.
Hughes mounted Trigg and then took his back, which led to a rear-naked choke finish.
It’s also impressive to note that Hughes fought through a hard groin shot, which was missed by referee Mario Yamasaki.
You can make a strong argument that this was the best women’s MMA fight of all time. Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk proved themselves to be evenly matched in a strawweight title bout that came down to the wire.
In terms of who should’ve won the decision, you could flip a coin. Zhang was awarded the victory, but it easily could’ve gone the other way.
Both Clay Guida and Diego Sanchez were known for their insane cardio and output, so there was no chance this fight would disappoint. These two warriors unleashed hell for all fifteen minutes and Sanchez won the decision on the scorecards.
At the time, Doo Ho Choi looked like one of the best prospects in the featherweight division and would face his first real challenge in Cub Swanson. The older veteran wasn’t ready to lie down and turned out one of the best performances of his career.
While Choi stole the first round with a higher output of strikes, Swanson retaliated hard and took rounds two and three on the scorecards.
In a contest between two relentless savages, every strike was thrown with mean intentions.
In the first two rounds, Gilbert Melendez landed with more precision, then Diego Sanchez rallied in round three and dropped his foe with a ferocious uppercut. While Melendez earned the decision victory, this is the type of fight where neither man can be called a loser.
In 2005, the UFC had a brilliant idea to launch a reality television show called The Ultimate Fighter in order to bring the brand into the mainstream spotlight. The show was a roaring success and culminated in a spectacular light heavyweight war between Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin.
The fight will forever be a part of MMA folklore.
This is the type of fight you’d expect to see in the Marvel Universe, not in professional sports!
Two of the heaviest hitters in the middleweight division attacked with full force for fifteen minutes. Paolo Costa was one of the few opponents brave enough to fight Yoel Romero on the front foot.
You have to commend both fighters for their offensive talents as well as their toughness.
When Mauricio “Shogun” Rua squared off with Dan Henderson in 2011, they produced a spectacle.
Both men were hurt at points throughout the fight, yet neither capitulated. This contest was a testament to the insane resilience and willpower of both men, who fought threw exhaustion to make the final bell.
At the end of round four, both Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum had won two rounds each and the middleweight title was up for grabs in the next five minutes.
Before the start of round five, you can see Adesanya say: “I’m willing to die, I’m prepared to die”. Adesanya dominated the final round, nearly finishing Gastelum in the dying seconds.
Despite being rocked badly in round one, Frankie Edgar staged a comeback and fought valiantly to take Gray Maynard to a draw. Opinions were polarized in terms of who should’ve won, but don’t let that detract from how incredible this fight was.
After dominating the majority of this fight from top position, Chael Sonnen was two minutes away from prying the middleweight belt from Anderson Silva. Unfortunately for “The American Gangster”, it wasn’t to be.
In a last ditch attempt to reclaim the belt in round five, Silva locked in a triangle-armbar and submitted his bitter rival.
This remains one of the craziest finishes against the run of play in the history of the sport.
This is widely regarded as one of the best UFC fights in the heavyweight division.
Both men dished out and absorbed enormous amounts of damage over five rounds. There was so much carnage that Mark Hunt’s bleach blonde hair actually turned blood red throughout the fight!
Light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, looked invincible in 2013 and was expected to handle yet another challenger with ease. Swedish boxing stylist, Alex Gustafsson, had different ideas.
The fight was extremely competitive, but Jones landed a huge elbow in the last minute of round four. This won him a round that he was losing and allowed him to take over the fight.
When the two rematched in 2018, Jones destroyed his rival completely.
This welterweight title fight was a perfect mix of technical brilliance and merciless savagery. With numerous momentum swings throughout the fight as well as a spine-chilling staredown at the end of round four, Robbie Lawler’s second encounter with Rory Macdonald was a magnificent display of martial arts.