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 seventh and final poll - the best fight of the year. MMA fans were lucky to see so many great fights in 2020, and here are the eight I thought rose above the rest.
Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo, UFC 251
This was Aldo’s fight to lose after three rounds, and...he lost. Yan touched him up in the fourth and absolutely brutalized him in the fifth to earn the late stoppage win and the bantamweight title. Jose Aldo is my favorite active fighter, and my heart ached for him - but he’s Jose Aldo. Take him into deep waters and see what happens.
Dan Hooker vs. Paul Felder, UFC on ESPN+ 26
So many close rounds. So much action. Back and forth, back and forth. Hooker started well, Felder closed late. I personally had it for Felder, but Hooker took a crazy close split decision in a fight for the ages. There’s a reason that Hooker is on this list twice, and it doesn’t get much tougher than Felder. So good.
Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk, UFC 248
I’m not sure anyone could adequately describe this fight in a short paragraph. They beat the dog shit out of each other. It was a surreal, amazing spectacle of violence and drama. If it was up to me, this wins hands down. I would run away if I was within 15 feet of either of them. But it’s not up to me.
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno, UFC 256
The last PPV fight of the year was expected to deliver. Both men stepped back into the cage on next to no notice after winning their last fights, and they made the flyweight division matter again. Another back and forth fight that featured blood, point deductions, and everything in between. It went to a draw, and I cannot wait for the rematch. Both of these guys are warriors.
Marvin Vettori vs. Jack Hermansson, UFC Vegas 16
This was an unexpected main event, but holy cow did it live up to it. Vettori was relentless. Hermansson was so durable. Five rounds of savage violence. I don’t often flinch at things that happen in fights, and I did like 6 times in this one. So good.
Josh Emmett vs. Shane Burgos, UFC Vegas 11
I used the word durable in the last fight description, but Shane Burgos’ picture should be next to that word in the dictionary. He took an obscene amount of damage from a major hitter in Emmett, and gave it back in spades right to the horn. I’d love to see these guys rematch in a five-rounder, though it might take years off their lives.
Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker, UFC Vegas 4
Watch round two of this fight and tell me you don’t like fighting. It’s the best round I’ve seen since Razor Rob and Donald Cerrone in the WEC (never die). A lot of people use cliches like “these guys went to war” or whatever. This actually lives up to the dumb cliche - they really did. This might not win this poll, but it’s the one fight I would request that you go back and watch if you haven’t already.
Justin Gaethje vs. Tony Ferguson, UFC 249
If you were a matchmaker and you were thinking “what two fighters could I put together that’s guaranteed action?”, this is your dream come true. Shockingly, it lived up to the hype. Ferguson showed a ton of heart and tenacity, but Gaethje is relentless. I won’t say it was one-sided, but I had Gaethje winning every round going into the fifth. And Ferguson nearly got beaten to death before finally folding. It showed what both men are made of, that’s for sure.
What was the best MMA fight of 2020?
This poll is closed
Yan vs. Aldo
Hooker vs. Felder
Weili vs. Joanna
Figgy vs. Moreno
Vettori vs. Hermansson
Emmett vs. Burgos
Highlight vs. El Cucuy