While the UFC’s Fight Night events aren’t as big or important as its pay-per-views, they still play an important role for the promotion in terms of creating new stars and providing entertainment for the fans.
2022 has been a mixed bag for UFC Fight Night events, with some disappointing ones, but some absolutely excellent ones too.
With most of these events lacking in star power, Fight Night events are all about the quality of the action in the octagon. Some of 2022’s events definitely shone in that regard.
Here are the five best UFC Fight Nights of 2022.
The only UFC event of 2022 to be aired on the ABC network, July’s Fight Night: Ortega vs. Rodriguez was largely a thriller from start to finish.
The one outlier, unfortunately, was the headline bout between featherweight contenders Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez. What sounded like an awesome fight on paper ended anticlimactically when Ortega managed to dislocate his shoulder while defending an armbar.
Thankfully, near enough every other fight on the card entertained hugely. The preliminary card saw four bouts end in finishes, while the main card tilt between Charles Jourdain and Shane Burgos produced a brawl for the ages.
Even that didn’t win the Fight of the Night award, though, as that went to the insane flyweight clash between Sumudaerji and Matt Schnell – a fight that saw Schnell pull out an all-time great comeback to win via submission.
Overall, Dana White and company actually ended up giving out eight $50k bonuses at this event – a testament to its excellence.
The UFC headed to Austin, Texas for an event in June that turned out to be a genuine classic. Fight Night: Kattar vs. Emmett was absolutely filled with knockouts, with a total of eight on the 13-fight card.
The headliner, between featherweights Josh Emmett and Calvin Kattar, was one of the few clashes at the event that didn’t end with violence, but it wasn’t for the want of trying. The two men swung heavy leather at each other for five rounds before Emmett was declared the winner via split decision.
That bout won the Fight of the Night award, but elsewhere, a further nine fighters also received a $50 bonus for their efforts.
Those fighters included home state hero Adrian Yanez, who destroyed Tony Kelley with a flurry in the first round, Ricardo Ramos, who knocked out Danny Chavez with a spinning elbow, and Gregory Rodrigues, who brutally ended the night of Julian Marquez.
Add in a fun lightweight tilt between two underrated fighters in Guram Kutateladze and Damir Ismagulov, and there was something for everyone at this event. It definitely stands as one of the best Fight Nights of 2022.
UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Holland, which took place earlier this month, didn’t have massive fanfare around it coming in. However, a deeper look at the card, which featured a number of exciting fighters, should’ve given fans a clue that they could be in for something special.
Indeed, while the preliminary card was slow – with five bouts going the distance – as soon as the main card began, we were treated to one wild fight after another.
Each of the main card’s seven bouts ended before the final buzzer, with five of them featuring nasty knockouts.
Some of the more memorable moments came from Sergei Pavlovich, Roman Dolidze and Matheus Nicolau, who all entered into title contention thanks to their wins over Tai Tuivasa, Jack Hermansson and Matt Schnell, respectively.
However, the best fight on offer was undoubtedly the headliner. Welterweights Stephen Thompson and Kevin Holland threw caution to the wind and absolutely went for it, trading strikes for four rounds until Holland’s corner had seen enough, stopping the bout.
It was the best fight produced by Thompson in years, showing that ‘Wonderboy’ still had plenty to offer, but it also made sure that Holland’s stock didn’t fall at all.
Overall, the show tied the promotion’s record for the most knockouts in a single event, and quite how only four $50k bonuses were officially given out remains a mystery.
For its earlier seasons, the Ultimate Fighter reality show would have an entire UFC event dedicated to its final bouts. However, TUF 30, which aired this summer, simply saw its finals placed onto a Fight Night show instead.
Thankfully, that Fight Night, which was headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Jamahal Hill and Thiago Santos, was fantastic. Not only did both of the TUF finals produce some serious action, but so did every other fight on the 10-bout card, making for an unheralded classic.
Remarkably, none of the 10 bouts on offer went the distance, marking only the second time in UFC history that this had happened. Fans were treated to three submissions – including a rare Von Flue choke tap-out – and seven knockout finishes.
The best finish on offer? Probably Bryan Battle’s wild head-kick knockout of Takashi Sato. There could also be an argument for the knockouts produced by Mohammed Usman, Geoff Neal and Jamahal Hill, too.
Sure, the event largely lacked in star power – only the top two bouts featured any ranked fighters – but it was still a really fun one to watch. And at the end of the day, that’s what the UFC’s Fight Night shows are all about.
After two years of COVID-19 disruption, the UFC was finally able to branch out a little in 2022. The promotion headed to places like Singapore, France and Abu Dhabi, but their most memorable trip outside the US definitely came in March.
That month saw the promotion head to London, England, for a truly classic UFC Fight Night show, an event that could be held in the same regard as older thrillers that took place in the UK.
The fighters in action were greeted by a truly raucous crowd, and while that doesn’t always ensure great action in the octagon, it certainly did in this case.
The event featured a total of 12 bouts, and just three of them went the distance, with the others ending in wild, highlight-reel fashion. It came as no surprise to see Dana White and company hand out a total of nine $50k bonuses when all was said and done, setting a promotional record in the process.
Of the finishes on offer, the four best definitely came from UK favorites Tom Aspinall, Arnold Allen, Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann.
McCann turned out the lights on Luana Carolina with a spinning back elbow, Pimblett submitted Kazula Vargas, Allen took out Hooker with a flurry, and Aspinall submitted Alexander Volkov in the headliner.
All four fighters saw their stock rise hugely after the event, but the likes of Ilia Topuria and Muhammad Mokaev, who also won at the show, have since risen into title contention too.
Essentially, this was a pay-per-view quality event, and it stands as the UFC’s best Fight Night of 2022.
Be the first one to comment on this story