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Top Five UFC PPV Events of 2022

As we are wrapping up the month of January 2023 with UFC 283 now in our distant memories, let’s take a back seat and focus our attention on the previous year, 2022. It was an incredible 29th year in the history of the promotion and they didn’t disappoint with 42 events being produced and a total of 511 fights taking place across 12 different weight classes between January 15 and December 17.

There were record-breaking events with various parameters being set, whether it was total takedowns being attempted in a Fight Night card to the highest number of first-round finishes in a PPV card, UFC did set a precedent for being the global leader of mixed martial arts when it comes to quality of fights combined with entertainment value.

We at Overtime Heroics MMA have decided to finally put out a list of the five UFC PPV cards which we thought, absolutely delivered in terms of certain factors related to quality, finishing rate, entertainment value, and the overall impact on the respective weight division. We go from the fifth-best PPV card to the absolute best of 2022 in this article.

5. UFC 282

Let me start with the main event of this, the MMA fraternity was divided regarding who won the vacant Light Heavyweight title as it was a closely contested bout between the ‘Polish powerhouse’ Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev. Ultimately, the fight ended in a split draw with the scorecard of (48-47, 46-48, and 47-47). What surprised us was the post-fight statement made by UFC President Dana White. Rather than appreciating the skill level associated with that high-profile matchup, White called the main event boring and immediately booked Jamahal Hill vs Glover Teixeira for the vacant Light Heavyweight belt in January of 2023 in Brazil.

It wasn’t boring at all, but it was, a real technical chess match for 5 rounds. Blachowicz, courtesy of his inside leg kicks managed to annihilate Ankalaev’s legs in the initial rounds, where it looked like the fight was about to get stopped. All credit to Ankalaev though, he managed to turn around the fight after inflicting a wrestling-heavy gameplan in the championship rounds.

The co-main event scorecard was indeed controversial, but we aren’t discussing that right now. It was a back-and-forth contest between Jared Gordon and Paddy Pimblett for the first two rounds and overall, a decent scrap to watch. Santiago Ponzinnibio managed to secure a 3rd round KO finish over late replacement Alex Morono who was winning on the scorecards until the knockout. Dricus Du Plessis looked like a very difficult task for Darren Till, as the Liverpudlian had very little defense against repeated takedowns secured by Du Plessis which ultimately led to the finish by submission.

The highlight of the card should be Ilia Topuria though. His fight with Bryce Mitchell was expected to be fireworks but we also expected a tight and gritty affair between the two surging featherweight contenders. Topuria made us look silly, as he proved he is in a different league of his own. He dropped Mitchell in the second round with a devastating punching combination and what followed was complete steamrolling in the grappling department. He managed to tap the Arkansas native via arm-triangle choke thereby showcasing why he was the 1st Georgian man to be awarded a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt back in 2018.

4. UFC 280

I had a difficult situation putting UFC 280 at 4th place as in my initial drafted list, I did put it as 3rd. However, the co-main event being a bit lackluster with TJ Dillashaw fighting with literally one arm does put the card in its currently allotted place.

The standout performers of the card were Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush, with the former spectacularly winning the lightweight crown in Abu Dhabi by submitting Charles Oliveira who holds the record for the most submissions in the promotion. Dariush had a brilliant sprawl and brawl gameplan which resulted in extraordinary scrambles between him and the Polish lightweight contender, Mateusz Gamrot, however, the American-Assyrian’s striking proved to be the point of difference with him even dropping and hurting Gamrot in the 3rd round.

The best fight on the card was the Bantamweight bout between Petr Yan and Sean O’Malley. To the surprise of many, O’ Malley being an 11th-ranked contender at the time of the fight gave the former Bantamweight champion a run for his money. Yan, however, as resilient as he is fought back and outwrestled O’Malley and managed to hurt him on the feet a couple of times after getting wobbled. The judge’s decision on the fight was a bit contentious but we aren’t considering that in our current segment.

UFC 273

Coming to the top 3, UFC 273 is our bronze medal winner. The card started well with two close back-and-forth fights between lightweight Vinc Pichel and Mark Madsen and strawweight Mackenzie Dern and Tecia Torres.

The featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski put on a striking clinic against the super-tough “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung-Jung in the main event. The co-main event was another back-and-forth affair considering how dismissive everyone was of Aljamain Sterling leading up to the fight who won the bantamweight belt via disqualification back in 2021. He managed to edge out Petr Yan via. split decision in a closely contested five rounds.

The barnburner of that PPV came when Khamzat Chimaev locked horns with Gilbert Burns inside the cage. Chimaev was the betting favorite as he came on the fight having just absorbed two significant strikes in his first four fights inside the UFC octagon. The former welterweight title challenger gave the Chechen fighter the toughest fight of his life and even managed to hurt and drop him in the second round. Chimaev, courtesy of a stronger third round though deservingly got the judge’s nod by a unanimous decision scorecard of 29-28.

UFC 281

At number two, we have UFC 281. All five fights on the card ended up being a finish. The much-anticipated main event saw Middleweight champ Israel Adesanya facing his longtime rival, Alex Pereira. Never in UFC history, have we come across such a fight where the rivalry surfaced across two individual sports.

Pereira came into the fight as a betting underdog despite having two wins in kickboxing against the Kiwi with his second victory getting executed by his patented left hook KO. This fight however put Pereira, the new middleweight champ on the ‘Comeback Fighter of the Year’ contender list, as he got a TKO victory over Adesanya in the fifth round despite losing three rounds to one on scorecards in the first four rounds.

At the co-main event slot, we saw what we expected from the challenger Weili Zhang who was a huge favorite up against strawweight champ Carla Esparza. Zhang got ahold of the strawweight belt for the second time by submitting Esparza in the second round. We all believe that Zhang’s second title reign will bring some stability across the weight class which has seen the belt change hands amongst five fighters in the last five years.

Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler did put up a crowd-pleasing fight, with the Louisiana native coming out on top by sinking in a rear naked choke on Chandler in the third round. UFC legend Frankie Edgar retired after the loss against Chris Gutierrez and Dan Hooker managed to put an end to his losing streak by securing a TKO victory over Claudio Puelles.

UFC 275

The undisputed winner of our segment goes to UFC 275. The Singapore card reigns supreme on our list courtesy of five tightly contested and eventful fights. Taila Santos almost managed to beat longtime champ Valentina Shevchenko at the co-main event, with the Kyrgyzstani fighter just getting a tightly contested split decision victory. The fight came as proof that Shevchenko might not be as indestructible in the flyweight division as we thought.

Zhang Weili managed to end her sporting rivalry in the rematch with Joanna Jedrzejczyk by knocking out the Polish fighter with a spinning back fist. Jake Matthews looked as incredible as a young Roy Jones Jr. with his hands which he showcased in his knockout over Andre Fialho. Jack Della Maddalena fought off takedowns and a submission attempt against Ramazan Emeev and eventually put up a masterclass of a finish to start the card.

The main event was insane. Glover Teixeira and Jiri Prochazka did put up the ‘Fight of the Year’ in every aspect. The Czech mixed martial artist managed to hurt Teixeira in the fight but just like time and time again, the 43-year-old came back into the fight with his dominant grappling skills. In the fifth round, the Brazilian hurt Prochazka on the feet and was 28 seconds away from defending his belt but as fate would have it, Prochazka turned the tables by submitting the second-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt in one of the most scintillating fights we came across in mixed martial arts history.

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Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

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