Combat Sports

UFC May 2021 Recap: In-Depth Breakdown + Biggest Takeaways

|
Image for UFC May 2021 Recap: In-Depth Breakdown + Biggest Takeaways

The month of May just might have provided us fight fans with some of the best action of the year thus far. A new UFC Lightweight Champion, three potential number one contenders, and plenty of incredible fights. Join us for our UFC May 2021 Recap, as we take a look at the in-depth stats from each card and give some of our biggest takeaways!

UFC May 2021 Recap: The “Nitty Gritty”

UFC May 2021 Recap

UFC Vegas 25 (5/01)

  • 11 Fights
    • 7 Decisions
      • 5 Unanimous
      • 2 Split
    • 2 Finishes
      • 2 KO/TKOs
        • 1 in Round One
        • 1 in Round Two
    • 1 Disqualification
      • 1 in Round One (Illegal Upkick)
    • 1 Draw
      • 1 Split
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Dominick Reyes vs. Jiri Prochazka
    • Performance: Jiri Prochazka (KO) and Giga Chikadze (TKO)

UFC Vegas 26 (5/08)

  • 9 Fights
    • 6 Decisions
      • 5 Unanimous
      • 1 Majority
    • 3 Finishes
      • 2 KO/TKOs
        • 1 in Round One
        • 1 in Round Two
      • 1 Submission
        • 1 in Round One
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Gregor Gillespie vs. Diego Ferreira
    • Performance: Alex Morono (TKO) and Carlston Harris (Submission)

UFC 262 (5/15)

  • 12 Fights
    • 5 Decisions
      • 4 Unanimous
      • 1 Split
    • 7 Finishes
      • 4 KO/TKOs
        • 1 in Round One
        • 2 in Round Two
        • 1 in Round Three
      • 3 Submissions
        • 1 in Round One
        • 2 in Round Two
  • Bonus Winners ($75,000 per winner)
    • Fight of the Night: Shane Burgos vs. Edson Barboza
    • Performance: Charles Oliveira (TKO) and Christos Giagos (Submission)

UFC Vegas 27 (5/22)

  • 12 Fights
    • 8 Decisions
      • 7 Unanimous
      • 1 Split
    • 4 Finishes
      • 2 KO/TKOs
        • 1 in Round One
        • 1 in Round Two
      • 2 Submissions
        • 1 in Round One
        • 1 in Round Two
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Justin Tafa vs. Jared Vanderaa
    • Performance: Carla Esparza (TKO) and Bruno Silva (KO)

May 2021 Totals

  • 44 Fights
    • 26 Decisions
      • 21 Unanimous
      • 4 Split
      • 1 Majority
    • 16 Finishes
      • 10 KO/TKOs (0 in Rounds Four or Five)
        • 4 in Round One
        • 5 in Round Two
        • 1 in Round Three
      • 6 Submissions (0 in Rounds Three, Four, or Five)
        • 3 in Round One
        • 3 in Round Two
    • 1 Disqualification
      • 1 in Round One (Illegal Upkick)
    • 1 Draw
      • 1 Split
  • Total Bonus Money Awarded = $900,000
    • 4 Fight of the Nights
    • 8 Performance Awards

UFC May 2021 Recap: Biggest Takeaways

Jiri Prochazka is the Next Light Heavyweight Superstar

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 01: Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic reacts after his knockout of Dominick Reyes in a light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 01, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The globalization of the UFC continues to be put on display at every event and it was no different at UFC Vegas 25. That is because Jiri Prochazka let the whole world know that there are some phenomenal talents to be found in the Czech Republic.

Prochazka burst onto the UFC scene with a big win in his debut against Volkan Oezdemir, however, it was his second bout with the promotion that let MMA fans know he is one bad dude. Jiri would face former title challenger Dominick Reyes in a five-round main event, that definitely did not need all 25 minutes. This back and forth slugfest would end with a knockout of the year contender when Prochazka landed a perfectly timed spinning back elbow with just 31seconds remaining in the second round.

Jiri is currently riding a twelve-fight win streak, has finished 27 out of 28 victories, and has some of the wildest hair in the UFC. Oh, and by the way, it helps he is also a former Rizin Light Heavyweight Champion as well. In a division that was long under reign by two men in Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, it now finds itself with more life than ever. A polish powerhouse in Jan Blachowicz as champion and a plethora of fresh faces and matchups to be made.

Jiri Prochazka has the potential to be one of the biggest stars this 205-pound division has ever had, and only being 28 years old, the sky is the limit for this young man. Whether he will sit and await the winner of Blachowicz vs. Texeira, or take on another young talent in Aleksandar Rakic, it is clear that whatever comes next will be nothing short of a roller coaster when Jiri steps into the octagon.

A New Lightweight Era has Begun

HOUSTON, TEXAS – MAY 15: Dana White places the belt on Charles Oliveira after he defeated Michael Chandler during their Championship Lightweight Bout of UFC 262 at Toyota Center on May 15, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

28 fights. This is the number of UFC bouts that Charles Oliveira had to become an undisputed world champion. This is one of many records that “Du Bronx” holds and he has now added a gold belt to the resume as well. 

At UFC 262, we saw the beginning of a new era for the lightweight division. Previously under the reign of the now-retired Khabib Nurmagomedov, the most stacked weight class in the UFC has now become even more exciting. Oliveira would take on former Bellator champion and UFC newcomer, Michael Chandler to determine who would become the eleventh champion at 155 pounds.

This fight, while only lasting 5:19, was one of the best fights of the year and in division history. Chandler found success early, nearly stopping Oliveira in the first round. However, Charles would weather the storm and came out in the second round like a freight train, getting a TKO stoppage just nineteen seconds into the round. It was here that the next chapter of this coveted UFC division would begin.

There have been plenty of feel-good moments throughout the nearly 28-year history of the UFC and Charles Oliveira becoming a champion fits right into the list. The Brazilian is proud of his upbringing and looks to be an idol for young children coming from the favela he grew up in. A pure mixed martial artist with a 90% finish rate, respectful, stylish, and everything in between. Oliveira is the definition of a champion, and no matter how short or long his title reign may be, UFC fans are in for a fun ride while it lasts. 

Carla Esparza’s Career Resurgence

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 22: Carla Esparza reacts after defeating Yan Xiaonan of China in their women’s strawweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 22, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The first-ever UFC Strawweight Champion is looking better than ever and now stands at a five-fight win streak after a dominant outing at UFC Vegas 27. “The Cookie Monster” Carla Esparza made a statement in this bout, securing a second-round TKO victory over Yan Xiaonan, in what may have been the best performance of her career, outside of her championship win six and a half years ago. Esparza cannot be denied a shot at the title following this huge co-main event showing. 

After losing her belt in her first defense to Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Carla would tread water with a 3-3 record. It never really looked like she would work her way back into title contention, but instead, be a test for any newcomers to the division. However, this is the exact opposite of where she now finds herself. Esparza is looking like she has now hit her athletic prime and during this win streak has defeated Virna Jandiroba, Alexa Grasso, Michelle Waterson, Marina Rodriguez, and now Yan Xiaonan.

A rematch against Rose Namajunas for the Strawweight Championship is full of storylines. These two competed in the inaugural strawweight title bout, where Carla submitted Rose in the third round. You now look at what both have done in their careers, with Carla essentially becoming a .500 fighter after the first bout, but has now turned her entire career around. Rose, shocked the world by defeating Jedrezejczyk and has now become the first female fighter in UFC history to become a two-time champion in her respective weight class. Two incredible careers, both ladies in their prime and a rematch with huge implications. You can’t write it any better. Namajunas vs. Esparza 2 needs to happen before the year’s end. 

New England Cartel, Stand Up

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 22: Rob Font poses with his teammates and family for a post fight portrait backstage during the UFC Fight Night at UFC APEX on May 22, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

Rob Font found himself in his first main event at UFC Vegas 27 and he capitalized, in route to securing the biggest victory of his career. Font was matched up with former Bantamweight Champion, Cody Garbrandt, in a battle of two of the best pure boxers in the weight class. While Cody was able to secure takedowns early on in the fight, it was the striking clinic from Rob Font that stole the show.

Font would go on to dominate the final four rounds and put the entire bantamweight roster on notice that he has now joined the elite of the division. Riding a four-fight win streak, the New England Cartel trainee is in a prime position to sit and let the division play out before figuring out his next move. All signs point toward a championship rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan coming at the end of the year and seemingly a number one contender bout between Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw going down in July, Rob must see wait these results could mean for his future. 

It is certain that no matter who is next for Font, the fight will be massive in terms of his career and his legacy. Now a seven-year veteran in the UFC, the path to the title has not come easy. However, Rob Font is now closer than ever to bringing the gold belt back home to Boston. 

Give us your thoughts on our UFC May 2021 Recap and what you felt were the biggest takeaways of the month in the comments below!


Checkout my MMA podcast and follow me on Twitter @dsallee14. Also, be sure to follow the team on Twitter @OTHeroicsMMA for more great content! Head over to the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion!

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images

UFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 RecapUFC May 2021 Recap

Share this article

Dominic Sallee is a Combat Sports writer. He focuses primarily on the UFC, with plans to venture out with pieces from other MMA organizations in the future. Along with writing, Dominic is also the Co-Host of the Below Average Joe's MMA Podcast, which produces 2-3 new episodes per week about all things in the MMA community!