We’ve had some absolutely splendid fight cards, and some major upsets, here’s a brief run down of the best and worst of the year.
It’s been a funny old year for the UFC. Without McGregor and Ronda Rousey they’ve only produced one PPV that’s hit a million sales, compared to the five in 2016. Some people have grown tired of the random match making that has been favoured over some of the more logical ranked fights. Regardless of all the negatives, we’ve had some absolutely splendid fight cards, and some major upsets, here’s a brief run down of the best and worst of the year.
Event Of The Year- UFC 217
Not only was this the best event of the year, but one of UFC’s best events of all time. Three title fights saw three title changes, Namajuna’s pulled of one of the most shocking victories in UFC history, and GSP made made his comeback after a four year absence. Ramos and OSP scored to of the best knockouts of the year and Paulo Costa introduced himself to the world. It was a crazy night to be a fight fan.
Honourable Mentions: UFC 218, UFC 214
Worst Event Of The Year- UFC 208
The worst PPV of the year by some way was the first of the year. Holm and De Randamie faced off for the women’s featherweight title, in a fight that saw GRD land some of her best strikes after the round had finished. There was one finish on the entire card, and the co main event saw Anderson Silva win a very questionable, boring decision.
Honourable Mentions: UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Browne, UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs Till
Fight Of The Year- Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje UFC 218
This fight was everything that we knew it would be and more. Both men from beginning to end came out and gave everything they had, and ate each others biggest attacks until Alvarez knocked Gaethje out in the third round. Alvarez earned the title as UFCs most violent man and both men earned the respect of millions of fans, you could consider them the two toughest men in the UFC.
Honourable Mentions: Gaethje vs Johnson: TUF 25 Finale, Vanatta vs Teymur: UFC 209
Comeback Of The Year: Darren Elkins UFC 209
Darren Elkins might be the biggest warrior of all time, he took an absolute beating from Mirsad Bektic for 10 minutes straight. Knowing the fight was going against him in the last round, he came out and gave it all he physically had, and won the fight with a flurry of punches and a headkick, earning a performance of the night bonus as well as the admiration of the hundreds of thousands watching the prelims that night. Not only that, it made for one of the greatest pictures ever.
Honourable Mentions: GSP (Career), Uriah Hall: UFN 116
Upset Of The Year: Rose Namajunas vs Jędrzejczyk UFC 217
Leading up to the fight Namajunas was the biggest underdog on the card. Joanna, arguably the greatest female fighter ever, was unbeaten in the UFC, and had wiped out every foe in her way with her elite striking. Some thought she was getting a little cocky, and a composed Namajunas knocked her down a couple times and smashed her on the ground for a TKO win, not only was the win shocking, but the manner she did it was even more incredible.
Honourable Mentions: GSP vs Bisping UFC 217, GRD vs Holm UFC 208
Knockout Of The Year: Edson Barboza vs Beneil Dariush: UFN 106
Another year another highlight reel KO for Barboza, he’s built up a resume as the most devastating striker in the UFC, and his flying knee KO of Dariush backs it up. Timed to perfection, it KO’d Dariush as soon as it connected, nothing else was needed, masterful performance by one of the best.
Honourable Mentions: Perry vs Ellenberger: UFN 108, Ngannou vs Overeem: UFC 218
Submission Of The Year: Demitrious Johnson vs Ray Borg: UFC 216
One of the best fighters of all time scored one of the best subs in UFC history this year. In the final round of their title fight, DJ slammed Borg and mid air locked in an armbar. Just when you thought he couldn’t get any better he amazes the world with something completely bonkers, if he isn’t the best to ever grace the octagon then it’s GSP, top two of all time ain’t too bad though.
Honourable Mentions: Oliynyk vs Pešta UFN 103, Shevchenko vs Peña UFC On FOX 23
Fighter Of The Year: Robert Whittaker
It’s been a funny old year hasn’t it. Unlike other years, nobody has really amassed an amazing record such as 4-0 in 2017. 2-0 or 3-0 seems to be about as good as it gets, but Whittaker’s 2-0 record for the year is a little different. In his first fight he knocked out Jacare and in his second he won the interim title by beating Yoel Romero. Name one other fighter that has beaten such high caliber fighters in such a dominant way? Not only that, but when GSP vacated the belt yesterday Whittaker was crowned the official middleweight champion, some year for the man who’s only 26 years old.
Honourable Mentions: Rose Namajunas, Francis Ngannou
Female Fighter Of The Year: Rose Namajunas
THUG ROSE! THUG ROSE! THUG ROSE! Oh so close to being my fighter of the year, but it’s no question she is the female fighter of the year. After KO’ing Joanna it’s impossible to not be. She went 2-0 this year with two very solid finishes. She’s a fantastic ambassador of the sport and an all round great person, who happens to be a deadly opponent on the ground, or as Joanna found out, on the feet.