by Vito Basile
I decided that with most people being quarantined to their homes with no live sporting events to enjoy, why not give them some entertainment. I asked people on social media for their top five of UFC fights, took the ones that seemed to be the most popular, as well as my personal favorite, and made a list, in no particular order:
- Stephan Bonnar v. Forrest Griffin 1 (Ryan Pearson): These two squared off in an epic battle at UFC The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale. The Ultimate Fighter was a reality show where the best fighters from around the world competed for a contract in the UFC. This fight went 3 rounds, back and forth, with both exchanging bombs. It was a tough fight to call, but Forrest Griffin won by unanimous decision, which some would say was the wrong winner. If you want to watch a straight up brawl, this is your fight.
- Connor McGregor v. Nate Diaz 2 (Joe Nelson): This fight was eventually going to happen after how things went in the first fight. In fight 1, McGregor looked dominant in the first round, opening Diaz’s face. Diaz is notorious for cutting easily but has a steel chin, and it didn’t look like he was going to make it past the first or second round. The second round opened, and Diaz took the fight to McGregor, eventually finishing him by submission, in what was a great performance.
- Tyrone Woodley v. Stephen Thompson 1 (Alex Shevtsov): At UFC 205, Stephen “Wonder Boy” Thompson got the first title shot of his career. Thompson, considered as one of the best pure strikers in the sport, took on UFC Welterweight Champ Tyrone Woodley. Woodley, who was stagnant for most of the fight, had a great fourth round, knocking down Thompson. He also locked in a tight guillotine choke that looked like it was going to submit Thompson. He survived it, thought, battling back and winning the fifth round. It was Woodley’s first title defense, and some called it lackluster on his end. Judges scored it a split decision for Woodley, which would eventually lead to Woodley v. Thompson 2.
- Cheick Kongo v. Pat Barry (Faisal Raja): At UFC Live 4, these two heavyweights squared off in the octagon. Cheick Kongo, a polished kickboxer and seasoned UFC veteran, took on Pat Barry, an up-and-coming heavyweight who was looking to make a name for himself in the division. Both fighters were known for their striking and their ability to stand-up. The fight ended in the first round with Kongo victorious. This is definitely a fight to re-watch; it’s considered one of the greatest UFC comebacks of all time.
- Weili Zhang v. Joanna Jedrzejcyzk: At UFC 248, the co-main event of the night was Zhang v. Jedrzejcyzk for the Women’s Strawweight Title. Zhang, coming off a title match against Jessica Andrade, defeating her in a dominating fashion, now faced off against former UFC’s Women Strawweight Champ Jedrzejcyzk in her first title defense. Jedrzejcyzk came into the fight looking to take back her title, and put on one of the best performances of her career. This fight will go down as the greatest women’s fight of all time, and possibly one of the greatest UFC fights of all time, as well. Zhang and JJ battled like two warriors, with Zhang retaining her title by unanimous decision. I promise you won’t be disappointed watching this fight.
With Dana White and the UFC trying to figure out what’s next, fans like me can still take advantage of UFC Fight Pass to relive all these epic fights. With UFC 249 in doubt, we’re probably not going to see any live matches for the time being. Enjoy these recommendations, and thank you to Ryan Pearson, Sammy DiFranco, Faisal Raja, Joe Nelson, and Alex Shevtsov. There’s no better time than now to practice social distancing by grabbing a drink and throwing on a fight.