UFC 269 closed off an action-packed year of pay-per-view fights in the leading combat sports promotion. Throughout this year, we have seen crazy upsets, legends fall and new prospects rise. Let’s take a look back on what made this year so special, the underdogs, the fighters that fans counted out just for them to shock the world and create the most special moments we have seen in the sport.
We started off the year strong with a PPV headlined by the sports biggest star, Conor McGregor. Dustin Poirier was the man who would stand across the cage from the Irishman and not for the last time this year. “The Diamond”, to the surprise of many, came out on top and although fans predicted Poirier to win, it was the way he did it that made it so special.
After a toughly contested first round, the accumulated kicks to McGregor’s calves finally took effect, and then Poirier finished it all off with his hands to make the rivalry 1-1. They would face off again later in the year with Poirier winning by doctor stoppage TKO after McGregor broke his leg.
This one was special, the fans were back for their second Pay-Per-View in a row and they witnessed greatness live at the Toyota Centre in Houston Texas. The night had many great fights but none as amazing as the main event. Khabib had relinquished the undisputed belts and Charles Oliveira was set to take on UFC newcomer, Michael Chandler for the title.
Oliveira who had been seen by the world to quit when danger struck, faced early adversity and added a new champion to the line of lightweights greatest. A second-round knockout was the moment that Oliveira had worked so hard for, from living in his local gym with “enough room to sleep” – to being able to provide a beautiful life for his loved ones.
A single PPV later and the feel-good moments were just starting, we saw an amazing performance put on by the Mexican Brandon Moreno. After being cut from the UFC, almost having his division scrapped, and then fighting for the title with the result being a draw, Moreno had his shot to prove to the world that he is the best flyweight on planet earth.
The finish would come in the third by rear-naked choke, we saw the world cheer on as he looked around with his hands on his hips, almost confused, then the realization slowly made its way to his face, he was finally champion of the world.
In MMA age isn’t necessarily a huge factor but when the 40’s come around, chins can be too far gone. This was not the case for Glover Teixeira. After riding a huge winning streak with adversity and comebacks, Teixeira shocked the world by stunning the champion Jan Blachowicz and then tapping him out to become the oldest current champion. Truly one of the most feel-good moments of all time in the sport.
The last Pay-Per-View of the year saw two upsets, one being the 4th biggest in the history of the sport. Juliana Peña faced the woman who many consider the pound for pound greatest woman of all time and in the first round, Nunes lived up to this by out-striking and out-grappling Peña. The second round saw a huge turn of events, “The Venezuelan Vixen” started tagging the champ until she shelled up and got taken down, Peña secured a choke and finished the fight to become “And new”.
Finishing off the night was Charles Oliveira once again. He had the odds stacked against him and he showed incredible fight IQ, striking, and jiu-jitsu to finish Dustin Poirier in the 3rd. It was always going to be a painful watch to see one of these two men fall but Oliveira proved to the world once again that he is the greatest lightweight alive.
What was your favorite MMA moment this year?
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