RDX Sports MMA Take of the Year 2022
It’s been a stunning superb year in the world of combat sports. The knockouts, knockdowns, submissions, training camps, trash talks, and media days have all been spectacular. Indeed the year 2022, was a wild roller coaster ride for many MMA Champions. Our Combat Sports awards have been made after careful deliberation while sifting through the muck of media banter and fighter drama. With that said here is the RDX Sports, MMA Take Of The Year 2022.
MMA Take of the Year 2022, Best Knockout: Michael Chandler On Tony Ferguson
It was marked by the abrupt finality of its violence, like most other knockouts of its ilk. When Michael Chandler detonated a front kick underneath Tony Ferguson’s chin in the second round of their UFC 274 lightweight showcase on May 7, time seemed to stand still for all involved. It carried the underpinnings of an IED attack, minus the shrapnel. No one knows the reality of the situation any better than Ferguson, who woke up to a flashlight in his face and a horde of medical officials surrounding him.
Chandler circled to his right at the start of the round, stepped into a front kick from his right leg, and sent it slicing through a defensive gap. The ball of his foot slamming into the underside of the Californian’s exposed chin. An out-cold Ferguson nosedived into the canvas a mere 17 seconds into Round 2, coming to rest on a prone position. The sheer suddenness of it all had a car-crash quality to it and caught even the most seasoned observers off-guard.
Ferguson lay motionless, a man stuck between dimensions, for several tense moments. Chandler, meanwhile, released his leftover tension with a series of trademark backflips, those in attendance urging him on. It remains the only clean knockout loss on the 33-fight Ferguson resume.
Best Submission: Jiri Procházka taps Glover Teixeira
When a then-29-year-old samurai-inspired warrior and a 42-year-old veteran faced off inside the octagon in June, nobody could have predicted the all-out war that unfolded between the two.
At UFC 275, Jiri Procházka and Glover Teixeira fought for the latter’s UFC light heavyweight title. A violent assassin, Procházka was riding a 12-fight win streak and was 2-0 in the UFC. Teixeira finally reached the top of the mountain in 2021 after failing to capture the UFC light heavyweight title in 2014.
When the two faced off, nobody expected Teixeira to go toe-to-toe with the younger beast of a fighter in Procházka. Someone of Teixeira’s age should not have been able to go at the same pace as Procházka, but the Brazilian held his own and then some. Furthermore, Glover is a BJJ specialist like many from his country, making this submission by Jiri that much more special.
Comeback MMA Take of the Year 2022: Leon Edwards Vs Kamaru Usman
There was only ever going to be one fighter taking home this award in 2022 and that’s Leon Edwards. After his title-winning knockout at UFC 278 in August. His first round was perfect, but after a downward spiral from round 2 to 4, even his coach was having a hard time convincing him.
Rocky was down big on the scorecards heading into the final round of his welterweight title bout against Kamaru Usman, who beat him when they first fought seven years prior.
With his coach yelling at him to
“Stop feeling sorry for your f****** self! What’s wrong with you?!” Lovell yelled.
“I’m not!” Edwards replied.
“Well, c’mon then!” Lovell fired back.
Against all odds, Edwards landed a picture-perfect head kick with just seconds left, and it knocked the former-pound-for-pound king out cold.
Breakthrough MMA Fighter of the Year 2022: Muhammad Mokaev
Three fights into the year, with a clean amateur and professional record. Mokaev wants the chance to potentially become the youngest fighter to claim a title in UFC history.
He’s got about a year and a half left to turn that fantasy into a reality. That is, if Mokaev wants to beat Jon Jones’ all-time record (23 years, 242 days). But even if it takes him until he’s 24 to make that kind of impact, “The Punisher” looks like being one of the best rookies of 2022 will just be the first of many accolades he’ll have on his résumé when it’s all said and done.
Capable of achieving many awards and even more bonuses Muhammad Mokaev is the most inspiring breakthrough fighter out of Dagestan via Britain for the year 2022.
MMA Upset of the Year 2022; Islam Makhachev on Charles Olivera
There was a new lightweight champion crowned on October 21st at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, and his name is Islam Makhachev. Makhachev dropped and submitted former champion Charles Oliveira to win the vacant 155-pound title.
Though the odds were in favor of Makhachev winning this fight, there was little expectation for it to be by submission. Charles Oliveira at this point held the record for most submissions in the UFC and was the unofficial champion since his weight debacle victory over Justin Gaethje.
After Bruce Buffer’s introductions, Makhachev was the first to connect. A big left hand put Oliveira on his back foot. They reset and clinched. Oliveira pulled guard and shot for a triangle. Makhachev snuck out and they rose back to their feet.
Once on the feet again, Makhachev hip-tossed Oliveira to the canvas right in front of his corner. The round ended with Makhachev on top of Oliveira, who was bloodied. In the second round, Makhachev dropped Oliveira with a punch, hopped into the mount, and squeezed. An arm-triangle choke resulted in a quick tap and a new champion.
Now Makhachev will move forward with his first attempted title defense, which comes against reigning featherweight title holder Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 on Feb. 11 in Perth, Australia.
MMA Fight Of The Year 2022: Gilbert Burns Vs Khamzat Chimaev
Khamzat Chimaev and Gilbert Burns put on arguably the year’s best fight when they met at UFC 273 on the 10th of April. UFC fans and celebrities alike were in awe of the action as both Burns and Chimaev threw everything they had at each other with several knockdowns and highlight reel punches.
An all-out colosseum-worthy war was what these two stellar gladiators got into in that match. No non-main card has ever had as much hype and excitement associated with it ever. And this fight should definitely be considered history book worthy in that regard.
Chimaev had plenty of success striking, but Burns was able to slow the Russian-born-Swede down and land some serious shots of his own. He actually staggered Chimaev with a great straight right. When Chimaev reversed a takedown and was in Burns’ full guard, the Brazilian full-on booted Chimaev off him with a side kick to the chest.
Chimaev instinctively secured multiple takedowns and launched devastating kicks and punches. Into the third and Chimaev started to wear down Burns and the unbeaten Chimaev just kept on coming. His output is one of his greatest weapons. Despite this Burns nearly took Chimaev’s head off with an overhand right in the final rounds creating multiple deep water situations the Chechen Wolf had to swim out of.
This fight was a defining moment for the new kid on the block Chimaev and extremely positive for the media attention for Gilbert. Giving them both a lot of publicity outside the fight. This also made Gilbert one of the most feared gatekeepers of any division in the UFC. On the other hand, Khamzat came out of the victory with only title expectations and rumors surrounding him.
Women’s Fighter Of The Year: Zhang Weili
In 2020, Zhang Weili was on top of the world, beating Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the Fight of the Year. With a 20-fight win streak on top of it all, Weili was making magic in the Octagon. 2021 was a step back for “Magnum,” Weili but she pushed through with a violent 2022 to remember.
After losing two in a row and the UFC strawweight title to Rose Namajunas in 2020, Zhang was between a rock and a hard place. What was she to do to get back to the top? Zhang ended up having such a memorable year that she has been named The Women’s MMA Fighter of the Year.
The UFC struck gold with the first Zhang vs. Joanna fight, and round two was more of the same. This time, Zhang ended the rivalry with a brutal spinning backfist. Jedrzejczyk retired soon after. That was the first sign that Zhang was back!
Zhang followed up that performance with an utterly dominant win over Carla Esparza to regain the UFC strawweight title. She out-struck Esparza 37-6, submitting her in the second in what could be seen as a sign of mercy.
Back on the throne, the strawweight queen has several challengers to choose from next year. They include Amanda Lemos, Yan Xiaonan, and a third fight with Namajunas. She also has an interest in moving to flyweight to challenge Valentina Shevchenko. Motivated, if Zhang can repeat her violent performances from her revenge year, there’s no telling what 2023 will bring for her.
Congratulations to Zhang Weili, The Women’s MMA Fighter of the Year.
Men’s Fighter Of The Year: Alexander Volkanovski
In a year filled with unpredictability, where the era of “The Three African Kings” fell greatly short and belt-holding betting favorites were flipped upside down, there was one man and one belt that remained constant, consistent, and confident: Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski.
The reigning and defending UFC featherweight champion solidified his spot as The Men’s MMA Fighter of the Year with dominant victories as he watched his fellow UFC title-holders either relinquish their championship or struggle to hang on against the opposition.
Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya, Charles Oliveira, Brandon Moreno, Glover Teixeira, Julianna Pena, Rose Namajunas, and Carla Esparza all lost their titles in 2022. But Volkanovski put a stranglehold on the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world conversation as he refused to join his peers as “former” champions.
“The Great” Fights in 2022
The Australian opened his 2022 campaign by running through Chan Sung Jung. All the while displaying riveting technique and skill that ended with a fourth-round knockout against “The Korean Zombie” in April. But that was just an appetizer, as Volkanovski put a definitive end to his rivalry with Max Holloway. By out-striking a man who rightfully held the status of the Greatest Featherweight Striker in UFC history.
Not only did Volkanovski improve to 3-0 against Holloway. But he did it by exclusively using his standup to outpace the former champion with speed and pinpoint accuracy. By effectively cleaning out the division, Volkanovski will enter 2023 aiming to become a two-division champion. Lightweight title-holder will be his challenger for that title, Islam Makhachev. Should he end Makhachev’s run, it will be hard to deny Volkanovski repeating as the fighter of the year two times in a row. That day appears to be coming closer and closer for our Pound-for-Pound Featherweight Champion.
With that, our MMA Take of the Year 2022 ends and we approach an exciting new year of stunning events ahead. Stay tuned with us at RDX Sports as we guide you through the world of combat sports and mixed martial arts. For many more years and even more bouts. In the cage, the pit, the ring, or the circle.