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UFC December 2021 Recap: Fight Stats + Biggest Takeaways

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The twelfth and final month of 2021 did not disappoint, as there were 40 high-level UFC contests for fans to behold. Two title fights, record numbers in terms of finishes, and veterans and rookies alike made names for themselves. Join us one final time as we recap December, go over the in-depth fight stats, and give some of our biggest takeaways!

UFC December 2021 Recap: The “Nitty Gritty”

UFC December 2021 Recap

UFC Vegas 44: Font vs Aldo (12/4)

  • 13 Fights
    • 5 Decisions
      • 5 Unanimous
    • 8 Finishes
      • 6 KO/TKOs
        • 4 in Round One
        • 1 in Round Two
        • 1 in Round Three
      • 2 Submissions
        • 1 in Round Two
        • 1 in Round Three
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Cheyanne Vlismas vs Mallory Martin
    • Performance: Rafael Fiziev (TKO), Jamahal Hill (KO), Clay Guida (Submission), and Chris Curtis (TKO)

UFC 269: Oliveira vs Poirier (12/11)

  • 14 Fights
    • 5 Decisions
      • 4 Unanimous
      • 1 Split
    • 9 Finishes
      • 5 KO/TKOs
        • 3 in Round One
        • 2 in Round Two
      • 4 Submissions
        • 2 in Round One
        • 1 in Round Two
        • 1 in Round Three
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Dominick Cruz vs Pedro Munhoz
    • Performance: Charles Oliveira (Submission), Julianna Pena (Submission), Sean O’Malley (TKO), Kai Kara-France (TKO), Tai Tuivasa (KO) and Bruno Silva (TKO)

UFC Vegas 45: Lewis vs Daukaus (12/18)

  • 13 Fights
    • 3 Decisions
      • 2 Unanimous
      • 1 Split
    • 10 Finishes
      • 7 KO/TKOs
        • 3 in Round One
        • 2 in Round Two
        • 2 in Round Three
      • 3 Submissions
        • 2 in Round Two
        • 1 in Round Three
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Amanda Lemos vs Angela Hill
    • Performance: Cub Swanson (TKO), and Melissa Gatto (TKO)

December 2021 Totals

  • 40 Fights
    • 13 Decisions
      • 11 Unanimous
      • 2 Split
    • 27 Finishes
      • 18 KO/TKOs (0 in Rounds Four or Five)
        • 10 in Round One
        • 5 in Round Two
        • 3 in Round Three
      • 9 Submissions (0 in Rounds Four, or Five)
        • 2 in Round One
        • 4 in Round Two
        • 3 in Round Three
  • Total Bonus Money Awarded = $900,000
    • 3 Fight of the Nights
    • 12 Performance Awards

UFC December 2021 Recap: Biggest Takeaways

Plenty of Gas in the Tank

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 04: Jose Aldo of Brazil reacts after his victory over Rob Font in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 04, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

In the UFC Vegas 44 main event, we saw Jose Aldo turn back the clock once again and extend his bantamweight win streak to three. This time with a unanimous decision over Rob Font. From start to finish, these two battled it out on the feet, as expected. Font would even end the fight with more than double the amount of strikes landed than Aldo. However, it was the former featherweight king who would score the biggest moments and land the most damaging shots throughout, thus leading him to victory.

It is now very clear just how much gas is left in the tank for Jose Aldo, as many would argue he is 4-1 at 135 pounds, rather than 3-2. Regardless, the veteran has shown his durability better than most throughout the sport’s history and now finds himself one win away from another title shot. And this fight should come against none other than former two-time bantamweight king, TJ Dillashaw. This would truly be a “legends” fight and to also have so much on the line would be nothing short of incredible. And the stylistic clash between the two? I mean, cmon, it doesn’t get much better than that. UFC, please schedule this fight for a 5 round fight night main event.

Put Some Respect on His Name 

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 11: Charles Oliveira of Brazil celebrates after defeating Dustin Poirier to defend his lightweight title during the UFC 269 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira successfully defended his title for the first time in the UFC 269 main event against Dustin Poirier. In what was seemingly a 50/50 on paper, the majority of the public were leaning toward Poirier following the massive year and momentum he was riding into this one. However, it was the toughness and grit of Oliveira that overcame nearly being finished in the first round, getting the submission win very quickly into round three.

The journey of Oliveira is one of the most special in all sports. From the favelas of Brazil, he came up from nothing to become champion of the world. Starting his tenure in the UFC with a mediocre 10-8 record and having missed weight on multiple occasions, it looked as though the young Brazilian would never amount to much. Now, ten straight wins later and a gold belt around his waist, Oliveira is undoubtedly one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

He has amassed 15 submissions (UFC record), 18 post-fight bonuses (tied for UFC record), and 18 finishes (UFC record) just to name a few. The journey and career of Oliveira are remarkable and inspiring. And he finds himself sitting atop the throne of the most dangerous division in all of MMA. With Justin Gaethje as the next challenge for the champ, the road does not become any easier after his UFC 269 victory. It will be very interesting to see just how long Charles Oliveria can keep his title, but one thing is certain. The world must now put some respect on his name.

SHOCKED. THE. WORLD. 

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 11: Julianna Pena celebrates after defeating Amanda Nunes of Brazil to win the women’s bantamweight title during the UFC 269 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Amanda Nunes lost. Yes, you read that right, she lost. And who did she lose to you may ask? Look no further than the “Venezuelan Vixen”, Julianna Pena. The former TUF season 13 winner, and perennial top contender, had her eyes set on Nunes ever since UFC 200 back in 2016. She never stopped calling for a fight with the greatest of all time and Pena would finally get the opportunity to back up all of the talking at UFC 269.

In what would be a lackluster, but dominant round from the former champion, it looked like we knew where the direction of the fight would lead. However, right from the get-go in round two, it was Pena who would pressure forward, relentlessly, and it proved to be the perfect strategy. She would land fast and often, quickly forcing the champion into “fight or flight” mode before dragging Nunes to the ground and submitting her with a rear-naked choke.

The unthinkable, unimaginable, but to Pena… she knew it was going to happen all along. She pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history and played it off like a stone-cold killer. Now, with fresh blood sitting atop the women’s bantamweight division, could this be a sign of fresh life or a short-lived success story? Pena is not only open to an immediate rematch with the once-dominant champion, Nunes. But she is eager for the opportunity to defeat her a second time. And after this, Pena has her eyes set on two other rematches with Germaine De Randamie and flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko.

He Isn’t Going Anywhere

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 18: Derrick Lewis celebrates after his knockout victory over Chris Daukaus in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 18, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The UFC Vegas 45 main event was built around a staple of the heavyweight division, Derrick Lewis, and fast-rising up and comer, Chris Daukaus. Two heavy hitters set to square off in the final UFC fight of 2021 and it did not disappoint. “The Black Beast” would come out on top with a first-round knockout and solidify himself atop the UFC record books with his 13th KO/TKO, the most in the company’s history. 

Following his interim title fight loss to Ciryl Gane, the future looked a bit murky for Lewis and many were shocked he accepted such a quick turnaround fight. However, he was very disappointed in his performance back at UFC 265 in August and wanted to right the ship as soon as possible. Safe to say, he did that here by putting away the “fresh blood” of the division in Daukaus.

Lewis has made it clear he is still a threat to any one of the contenders at heavyweight and with performances like this, it is still possible that he could get one more crack at gold before it’s all said and done. Being that Lewis has already faced so many of the ranked heavyweights, it will be interesting to see how the UFC will look to matchmake for him after such a convincing performance. Possibly a fight with former champion Stipe Miocic would interest both? After all, the two have somehow made it to the top of the rankings without ever having crossed paths.

What were your biggest UFC takeaways from the month of December? Let us know in the comments!


Check out 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.

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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!