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Bloody Elbow 2020 Year-End MMA Awards - Best Fighter

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Make your pick for the 2020’s best fighter in Bloody Elbow’s Year-End Awards.

It’s back!

Over the next few days, Bloody Elbow is going to ask for your opinion on some of the best things that have happened in the MMA world over the course of 2020. There will be a total of eight different categories you’ll be asked to vote on. For the sake of simplicity we’re going to stick with high-level and relevant MMA stuff in these posts. While I’m sure there was a ludicrous knockout in an unscheduled MMA event at The Lumberyard strip club in Des Moines, or an insane pancreas lock submission on an obscure ZST! card in Japan, let’s just stick to stuff a lot of us have seen, okay? (If that spiel looked familiar, it’s because I’ve used the same one for ten years in a row. Originality? What originality? Also, is ZST! even a thing any more?)

It’s pretty simple. I’ll post 5-10 options in a category, you vote for what you think was the best. If you think I left something really important off my list, post it in the comments and we can add it to the poll if it’s deemed worthy. I can almost guarantee you won’t like all my suggestions, but narrowing down these lists is tough.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get onto the fifth poll - the best fighter of 2020. Many combatants had the best years of their career in 2020, and a select few won titles as well. This is always a tough category to narrow down nominees from, but here’s what I came up with.

Israel Adesanya - The Last Stylebender started off his 2020 campaign with a pretty bad fight with Yoel Romero. He won and defended his title though. But the real crown jewel of his year of the complete dismantling of Paulo Costa in September. He stopped an undefeated fighter, is still the middleweight champ, and is about to get the chance to be a champ champ.

Gilbert Burns - It’s too bad that he never got to fight in the second half of 2020 for various reasons, because his first half was fire. He stopped Demian Maia inside a round, then totally dominated former champ Tyron Woodley to earn a welterweight title shot. That will come soon.

Juan Archuleta - He kicked off the year with a solid win over Henry Corrales, then took out Patchy Mix to become the new Bellator bantamweight champion.

Charles Oliveira - Oliveira’s winning streak stretches back to 2018, but perhaps his two finest performances during that streak came in 2020. First was a submission win over Kevin Lee. Then came a surprisingly dominant decision win over Tony Ferguson, to finally put Do Bronx in the title mix at lightweight.

Kevin Holland - Holland came out of nowhere to have one of the busiest and most effective 2020’s of any UFC fighter. Despite the shutdown and the glut of cancelled fights, Holland managed to step into the Octagon five times - and won all five bouts. Four stoppages. Three performance bonuses. And he capped it by knocking out Jacare Souza, one of the top middleweights in the world for the last decade.

Deiveson Figueiredo - He started the year by stopping Joseph Benavidez, but he was overweight and couldn’t win the title. So he went out and made weight next time, stopped Joe B. even quicker, and took the strap. Just days following a quick title defense over Alex Perez, he went five rounds with Brandon Moreno in one of the better fights of the year. That went to a draw, but Figgy is still the champ.

Cris Cyborg - New organization, same Cyborg. She debuted in Bellator with an impressive 145-pound title win over Julia Budd. Later in the year, she took out Arlene Blencowe to defend it.

Jan Blachowicz - Not many would believe that Blachowicz would be holding the 205-pound title right now. But he is. After knocking out Corey Anderson, he was granted a shot at the vacant belt and knocked out Dominick Reyes. Polish power indeed.

Valentina Shevchenko - The most dominant current champ in the UFC fired off two more title defenses this year, stopping Katlyn Chookagian and taking an easy decision over Jennifer Maia.

Khamzat Chimaev - You know the story by now. He stormed into two UFC divisions with quick and decisive victories, pushing himself into main event territory after just three fights. Covid has tripped him up a bit, but if his 2021 is anything like his 2020, we’re in for a treat.

Poll

Who was the MMA fighter of the year in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Adesanya
    (189 votes)
  • 1%
    Burns
    (20 votes)
  • 1%
    Archuleta
    (22 votes)
  • 9%
    Oliveira
    (102 votes)
  • 24%
    Holland
    (271 votes)
  • 30%
    Figueiredo
    (337 votes)
  • 6%
    Blachowicz
    (70 votes)
  • 3%
    Shevchenko
    (40 votes)
  • 4%
    Chimaev
    (55 votes)
1106 votes total Vote Now