5 best UFC fights in 2020


Sergey Lebedev on the best fights of the promotion last year

The COVID-19 pandemic, although it has played its negative role in sports, nevertheless, the UFC can safely attribute the past year to itself as an asset. 2020 has given fans of octagon fights a lot of colorful fights, and we will remember the best five of them.

5. Dan Hooker vs. Paul Felder UFC Fight Night 168

On February 23 in Auckland, New Zealand, lightweight fighters Felder and Hooker competed in the main event of the UFC show for the first time.

As soon as their five-round fight ended, the fans already knew that she would be in contention for the Fight of the Year title. The two top lightweights were beating each other for 25 minutes, Hooker was more successful from a distance and Felder was scoring points in close quarters. Hooker looked preferable in the early rounds, but the “Irish Dragon” gathered after the “Equator” and gave his opponent a lot of trouble with low kicks.

In the end, Hooker won a damn close split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47), but here the victory could have been given to any fighter. Both warriors left the cage with bruised faces, and Hooker earned an epic duel with former interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier with the win.

4. Josh Emmett vs Shane Burgos, UFC on ESPN 11


This fight stands out for being the only one on this list that was scheduled for three rounds, meaning that Emmett and Burgos had 10 minutes less than the other eight fighters listed here.

This featherweight fight took place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas (USA) as an opening act for heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Curtis Blades. And the fight far exceeded all expectations. Emmett and Burgos exchanged devastating blows throughout the battle. Emmett’s best shot was an overhand right, while Burgos, who had a significant advantage in arm length, made his most effective work from a distance.

Emmett won via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 29–27) after knocking Burgos down in the 3rd round.

3. Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker, UFC on ESPN 12


On paper, Poirier’s encounter with Hooker looked like a 5-round violence. And so it eventually happened.

On June 27, the lightweights headlined the event at the UFC Apex. Hooker got off to a strong start and nearly finished Poirier at the end of the second round. However, the ex-interim champion came to his senses, and in the next three rounds he outperformed his opponent, landing more punches and controlling Hooker on the ground. In this intense fight, Poirier showed he had a big heart, returning in the second half of the meeting.

The two fighters battled to remain top contenders in a busy lightweight division, giving their all in the fight. Hooker and Poirier did their best from start to finish, but the Diamonds were more deserving of the win that night, 48–47, 48–47 and 48–46 to Dustin on three judges’ scorecards.

2. Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno, UFC 256


Figueiredo and Moreno ended the UFC PPV run in 2020 on a positive note, arranging a war in the main event of the show on December 12 at the UFC Apex. Representatives of the flyweight division showed incredible courage and resilience during their insane title fight, which ended in a draw.

They rolled a slug fest over five rounds. Figueiredo focused on the torso, while Moreno bet on his right overhand. Moreno landed some clean punches that would have knocked out most fighters in this division, and the same could be said for Figueiredo, who seemed to slow down in the third round but found his second wind in the final two five minutes.

The performances of Figueiredo and Moreno are even more impressive given the fact that both took the fight on three weeks’ notice.

1. Zhang Weili vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk, UFC 248

On March 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, all eyes were on the middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero, the main event of UFC 248. However, Zhang and Jedrzejczyk stole the show as co-headliners.

Zhang’s first strawweight title defense came against the longest-running 115-pound champion in UFC history. The fight was supposed to show how good Zhang really is, since Jedrzejczyk was the most difficult opponent in her career for her.

The Magnum proved they deserved the title, but Jedrzejczyk was also in the game. The girls threw a lot of punches at each other, staging an epic battle lasting 25 perfect minutes. During the fight, a huge hematoma formed on the head of Jedrzejczyk, but the ex-champion refused to give up. Zhang won by split decision (48–47, 47–48, 48–47), but the Pole also deserved to win.

What sets the Zhang-Jendrzejczyk fight apart from the other fights on this list is that none of the contestants slowed down. In the battles of Figueiredo – Moreno and Hooker – Poirier, the activity decreased significantly towards the end, but these two girls, having bitten their mouthguards, cut themselves until the very final signal.