Great fights come in all shapes and forms, from one-round knockout wonders to slugfests that go the five-round distance. 2019 was an electrifying year for the UFC and the octagon saw a plethora of iron-fisted action across the globe to make it one of the most intense and eye-popping years for the sport.
The UFC held 41 different events in 2019, which amounts to around 500 fights last year in the sport alone. The sort of volume the sport is pumping out, combined with the frenetic, almost harrowing nature of the sport and drama it generates is guaranteed to harvest an array of exciting memories.
Join us at bettodayusa as we cherry-pick the ‘best 5 UFC fights’ that were unmissable in the 2019 calendar year.
Brad Riddell defeated Jamie Mullarkey via unanimous decision at UFC 243 on Oct. 5 in the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. After each man seemed to claim a round, the third provided an abundance of action with both men trading blows — bringing each fighter to the point of exhaustion.
The contest exploded in the third, with mouthpieces hitting the canvas and both fighters facing off for that all-important crown. It was clear that both fighters had emptied their gas tanks, but Riddell was the warrior who had stored reserves — as he wobbled Mullarkey and sealed a memorable win in Melbourne.
In one corner stood Vicente Luque, the Brazilian born-brawler with an impressive seven stoppage wins in eight UFC appearances. In the other corner stood Bryan Barberena, a proven warrior who had previously dethroned Sage Northcutt and Warlley Alves in emphatic fashion. Both fighters came into the contest with strong credentials, Luque had 7 wins to his name while Barberena boasted 5.
Luque came out firing in the opening round and dealt some serious damage to ‘Bam Bam’. Barberena, shell shocked and hurt, mustered the energy to avoid a round-one submission, by popping out and playing a respectable defence game to welcome the bell.
Then in the second round, it was Barberena’s turn to pile on the pressure. The silent assassin’s striking technique was significantly better than Barberena. Bam Bam found a way into the fight by getting inside Luque and finding huge elbows and blows to stamp his authority.
The third round was an open book, with both fighters trading mammoth blows and utilising the last ounce of gas they had in their tanks to get the bout over the line. It seemed a coin flip of a decision — until Luque turned up the heat and finally toppled his valiant opponent in the final minute to claim the win.
It turns out that Cerrone wasn’t interested in being Hernandez’s stepping after he put ‘The Great’ to bed in a second-round finish. After the ‘Cowboy’ endured relentless trash talk from the younger fighter leading up to the fight, Cerrone got the last laugh by demonstrating why he was a UFC veteran.
Hernandez started the lightweight bout quickly, firing quick jabs to disorient Cerrone’s striking ability. Donald discovered he was backpedalling in the first but soon settled into the electric pace of the fight and found his feet.
The ever-popular ‘Cowboy” soon taught the youngster a lesson, by finding openings and countering hard and shortly Hernandez had blood trickling out from cuts over both eyes. ‘Cowboy’s’ attacks only got bolder and more diverse as the fight entered the second round, and he was soon schooling Hernandez with a combo of body kicks and vital striking.
The second frame was drawing to a close when Donald’s ongoing pressure took its toll on the trash-talking youngster, as a high kick was enough to put Hernandez to the canvas.
From there, Cerrone pounced and let loose a torrent of right hands which forced the TKO stoppage. Cerrone had once again proved why experience is integral in the sport, tarnishing a six-year win streak for Hernandez.
This fight proved to be huge and Dustin Poirier found his extra gear on the biggest stage of his career. The first round both men were patient, analysing each other’s fight patterns while displaying an element of caution.
Poirier drew first blood, by kicking Holloway off balance and testing his resilience to kicking blows. Holloway settled quickly and started lacing out straight punches to the head and body. Late in the first round, Holloway swallowed uppercuts and hooks to his face and had to find the composure to make it to the end.
Poirier was certainly in control and set the tempo early in the second round, but ‘Blessed’ was far from being written off and started to string an array of punches together to inject a dose of confidence into his bloodstream.
Holloway’s confidence gained new heights as he started talking to his opponent mid-round. The momentum seemed to be shifting in Holloway’s favour, but ‘The Diamond’ quickly shut that down with a huge left that turned the fight in his favour once more.
Holloway’s right eye started swelling at the start of the third, but he still looked as dangerous as ever coming forward. The fighter continued to snap punches back at Poirier and denied the brawler a third-round TKO when a flying kick missed his head narrowly.
With scores potentially even heading into the final round, both men looked intent to give it one final stand for glory. Poirier found a second wind, peppering punches at Holloway, but the American withstood the assault and looked willing to stand and trade. Dying seconds into the back-end of the contest, Poirier tried to take the action to the floor but Holloway stood firm yet again fending the takedown off.
The two finally broke apart in the final seconds, both recognizing each other’s bloodied and exhausted frames before a quick message of respect being exchanged. When all the dust settled, it was Poirier that earned three scores of 49-46 walking away with the interim lightweight title.
This was touted as the ‘Fight of the Year’ and it failed to disappoint — as both fighters laid out a grand sceptical for the world to witness. UFC’s 245 main event was an all-out battle between two titans that openly admitted their animosity between each other.
Covington walked out to Kurt Angle’s WWE theme song, he was met with boos and explicit hand gestures, although the outspoken fighter does have a core group of supporters. A calm, and collected Usman made the walk second, wrapped in the Nigerian flag with a flask-full of confidence.
When it came to crunch time, the fighters delivered. Known for their wrestling abilities, not one takedown was attempted. Covington came out of his corner with trademark pace and punching power. While Usman, a calm and calculated fighter, sat back absorbing the Trump supporter’s shots.
After three rounds of back and forth, Covington was showing signs of slowing down, while Usman had stored precious reserves to deal with the trash-talking brawler.
The third revealed that Covington’s jaw had been broken, most likely a devastating right from ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ was the culprit. With no clear frontrunner to the fight, the fifth round was crucial for victory.
Both fighters came out of their corners in the fifth knowing what had to be done, but Usman was the man piling pressure on the loud-mouth fighter. Midway through the round, Usman demonstrated why he is the welterweight champion, landing some of the biggest punches of the fight.
Eventually, Usman found a way through, with an artillery strike of punches that eventually dropped Covington. Covington survived the knockdown but not for long. Colby was met with some more devastating shots from the champion and the ref had seen enough.
Covington, battered and bloodied, protested but the referee shrugged off his pleas to continue. The victory for Usman cemented his welterweight belt and places the Nigerian-born fighter on a 15-win streak in the UFC.
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