Now that we’ve passed this year’s halfway point, there’s no better time to look back at some of the best and most brutal UFC fights to grace the octagon in 2022.
With clashes between some of UFC’s most powerful athletes, we’ve already seen an array of incredible battles, leaving little wonder why many see MMA as the most exhilarating combat sport in the world. In fact, it was reported in early June that UFC earned just over $1 billion last year, finally seeing it take its rightful spot as one of the most lucrative sports in the world.
Our regular readers will know that the championship is one of the most popular sports among bookies and punters alike, including through these live casino websites. With so much blood, sweat, tears, and money at stake, let’s look at some of the most intense fights of 2022 (so far).
5. Michael Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson – UFC 274
Taking place in Phoenix, Arizona (the first fight in the city since Francis Ngannou KO’d Cain Velasquez back in 2019), there was never any doubt that Chandler vs. Ferguson wasn’t going to be in any way exciting.
Although not of the title fights of the night, anyone who knows UFC knows these two fighters have a history of classic brawls that have enticed fans throughout the years.
With Ferguson having faced three straight defeats in a row before the match, the bookies set their sights on a Chandler victory, and they weren’t wrong. Despite a strong start, Ferguson soon faced a potent and sustained attack from “Iron Mike”, quickly followed by a takedown.
By the second round, fortunes for each fighter were mixed, but this situation was quickly put to bed after 17 seconds as Chandler struck Ferguson with a lightning front kick, expelling him to the floor with a KO. UFC President Dana White said later that it was the most vicious thing he had ever seen inside the octagon.
With his last victory in 2019 against Donald Cerrone, 38-year-old Ferguson now faces questions about his UFC future. Check out who we think Chandler might face in his next fight.
4. Tai Tuivasa vs. Derrick Lewis – UFC 271
An event between two fan favorites, the February collision between Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis was met with great anticipation. Both contenders finished 2021 with KO victories, and Tuivasa hadn’t lost a match since his defeat against Sergey Spivak in March 2019.
It was no surprise, therefore, that the pair provided the crowd with an intense battle that saw Tuivasa score the biggest win of his career. Although the Australian was treated to a flurry of hammers during the first two rounds, he quickly turned tables and planted Lewis with an expert elbow to the face.
Despite Lewis holding the all-time knockout record (13 KOs), and fighting his opponent in his hometown of Houston, Texas, it wasn’t enough to hold Tuivasa’s impressive power. At times Lewis looked as if he was on his way to his 14th KO, employing two successful takedowns that left Tuivasa’s team sweating.
But this wasn’t to be as Tuivasa dispatched an array of powerful attacks that ultimately left Lewis stunned and on the floor. The Australian celebrated by drinking a beer from the inside of an old shoe, fondly known to fans as “shoey”.
3. Calvin Kattar vs. Giga Chikadze – UFC 270
The brutality of the first UFC fight of 2022 was one that fans are still talking about six months later. The January joust at UFC Vegas 46 saw Calvin Kattar near-destroying Giga Chikadze after his humbling defeat to Max Holloway.
With an unbroken win streak of nine under his belt, many felt that a Chikadze win was almost inevitable, but this just wasn’t to be. With a slip early in the match, Kattar was able to dominate within minutes, and Chikadze never quite recovered.
Although he had moments of brilliance, the MMAjunkie 2021 Breakout Fighter of the Year was wrought with a sustained amount of pressure from Kattar, who landed his legendary jabs and elbows to re-sculpt his opponent’s face.
By the fifth round, there was no doubt who was the night’s victor, and Kattar won by unanimous decision, briefly re-establishing him as one of the top featherweights in MMA before his recent loss to Josh Emmett at UFC Austin.
Chikadze’s injuries were so gruesome that he faced a potential six-month medical suspension after the bout. It was announced in May, however, that he will be the recipient of the 2022 Forrest Griffin Community Award during the 2022 UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
2. Alexander Volkanovski vs. Chan Sung Jung – UFC 273
Taking place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, just over 14,000 MMA fans witnessed the careful demolition of The Korean Zombie as Alexander Volkanovski cemented his place as one of the world’s greatest featherweight fighters of all time.
Collecting his 21st victory in a row, Volkanovski dominated throughout the fight, which was gracefully ended with a TKO during the 4th round. Although Jung landed a series of violently barbarous shots on Volkanovski, they had little to no effect on the Australian, who overmatched Jung with both speed and power.
Despite struggling to breathe, Jung opted to continue after three rounds, only to have the fight end 45 seconds into the fourth. In a post-match interview, Volkanovski stated that he felt for his opponent and wished the referee had ended the fight sooner.
Although many predicted the fight to be the last of Jung’s career, which hasn’t seen a title since 2013, the fighter recently took to Instagram to reveal that he wants at least one more fight before hanging up the gloves.
“Alexander the Great” will fight Max Holloway at UFC 276 in July.
1. Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev – UFC 273
A fight that could well be the match of 2022, never mind the first six months, this gargantuan battle saw the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev at his most vulnerable.
Mentioned by some as more of a “war” than a match, Burns vs. Chimaev was a three-round whirlwind that saw Chimaev ultimately outpoint his opponent. Despite being hit only once in his first four UFC fights combined, Chimaev endured no less than 119 strikes from “Durinho” before the match ended. In fact, through a series of impressive blows, Burns opened a cut on Chimaev’s face, who visibly quivered at the assault.
Despite a challenging first two rounds, Chimaev dug deep in the third and managed to take home the win with a unanimous decision from the judges (48–47, 47–48, 48–47). So exciting was the fight that both competitors earned the evening’s “Fight of the Night” bonus.
In the post-match interview, Chimaev said he was “too excited” to knock Burns out and promised to “smash someone” in his next fight. Currently, Chimaev remains undefeated after 11 matches and finds himself among the most exciting and impressive welterweight fighters in the world.
Chimaev’s next fight looks to occur in Abu Dhabi in October, while Burns has asked the UFC for a rematch, having felt robbed by the decision to end the match early.