UFC Midiere Awards – Best Male and Female Fighter, Finnish, Prospect and more

Any mixed martial arts fan will tell you that one of the best things about following the game is Never ending A string of stories to follow. There is no off-season and there is always something going on inside and outside the octagon and things can change right away. As they say, there is never a boring moment.

Now in 2022, the top story revolves around UFC lightweight “champion” Charles Olivier. His only performance this year was the Brazilian sensation, who was presented in the first round against Justin Gethsemane in May. Nevertheless, he lost his championship in UFC 274 due to weight loss before that fight. What happens next for Oliveira is the number 1 thing to watch for the rest of the year. He is not an official champion, but is undoubtedly seen as a champion. This is a fascinating situation for a man who sees himself (and expects to pay back) as one of the top draws in the game. And he’s calling Connor McGregor.

Beyond Olivera, other stories in the first half of 2022 include George Masvidal falling his last three matches 0-3 and then allegedly hitting Colby Covington on the sidewalk in Miami. It remains to be seen how this will affect both of them going forward. We are also waiting for the news of Nate Diaz’s return to the UFC, what is the final fight over his UFC contract. We’ve seen some rising star powers at a London event (Tom Espinol, Molly McCann, Valentina Shevchenko), who were challenged in the flyweight, were new champions like Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovsky.

There are still a lot of expectations later in the year. Meanwhile, here are ESPN’s Midiar MMA Awards.

ESPN’s electorate panel for our UFC Midiar Awards includes John Anik, Anthony Smith, Dean Thomas, Ian Parker, Brett Okamoto, Megan Anderson, Mark Raymondi and Eddie Masonet.

Best Male Fighter: Charles Oliveira and Alexander Volkanowski (tie)

Okamoto: Notable things are happening right now in featherweight and light weight. Volkanowski has solidified himself as one, though not the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. The landing of All Time Great in five rounds at Max Holloway in July was a career-determining moment. Volkanowski is firing on all cylinders and he will be a tough guy to remove.

The same can be said of Oliveira, whose stock grew after defeating Getheze in May, although he officially lost his title. He appears to be playing a match against Khabib Nurmagomedov’s hero Islam Makhachev. In addition, there is McGregor and – possibly – Volkanowski. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of interest in seeing the top two fighters in the first half of 2022 or late 2023.

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Zhang Weli, the announcer and the crowd of Singapore, could not control their enthusiasm after Weli’s incredible knockout victory.

wegenheim: The 2022 sample is small – Zhang has only fought less than three minutes once this year – but he was spectacular. Joanna Zedrzejic’s first-round knockout in UFC 275 last month was a surprise, especially the spin-back fist that closed the show. The shot retired Jedrzejic and put Zhang at the front of the line in a Strovet contestant scram that the 32-year-old former champion (and his rival) did not look completely different from long ago. Were.

Both Zhang and Jedrzejic have lost twice to Rose Namjunas, the reigning champion when the fight was booked. So the claims for the pair of 0-2 women with balance seemed dubious. But, a month before their battle, Carla Esparza ousted Namajunas, sparking excitement between the two fighters. Zhang capitalized and is now in a position to reclaim the Strovet title.

Raymondi: Perhaps the secret of Holland’s success is to fight in even-numbered years. The Texans went 5-0 in 2020, the most wins for a middleweight in a calendar year in UFC history. Holland had lost three matches last year. However, things turned upside down for him in 2022, as the move to Welterweight has resulted in two wins, both to the end. The difference? He has overcome his greatest weakness: wrestling.

Outside the octagon, Holland is like a modern-day superhero. Earlier this year, he helped subdue a gunman at a sushi restaurant in Texas and saved the driver from overturning a tractor-trailer. If Holland continued it, they would make a film about the adventures around him.

Raymondi: It’s harder to get the first two good fights in the UFC than Della Madalena. The fighter, of Western Australian descent, knocked out Pete Rodriguez in the first round at UFC 270 in January with a beautiful left-handed counter. In UFC 275, he returned with another finish in the first round. After Ramzan Amiev’s takedown effort, Della Madeleine put Amiev on his feet and stopped him with a massive left for the lever.

For those counting at home, the UFC is 2-0 in five months with a pair of highlight-reel finishes. Della Madeleine’s team is very much on top of her and it’s clear to see why she entered the UFC from Dana White’s rival series last year. The Aussies have some serious hands and it looks like they could face anyone in the tough welterweight division. It’s easy for him to be curious about what might happen next.

Best Submission: Jiri Prochazka Def. Glover Texera

wegenheim: Some submissions give you “Wow!” Will say. Reflex response “What?” How was it possible that a standup Wildman would tap Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt with 25 knockouts out of his 29 wins, which has not been presented in 40 professional fights. With all due respect, Texera was battling a much better wrestler than Prochazka and was never knocked out. Yet how the 29-year-old won the light heavyweight title from Texra.

The rear-naked choke occurred in the last minute of Round 5, a situation that always sheds a bright light on the finish, especially when the fighter suddenly looked like a tapping fresher man. This submission was not as artistic as the folly of the final execution.

Best Knockout: Michael Chandler KO Tony Ferguson

Okamoto: Tony Ferguson’s Chandler’s front kick knockout will be a tough attraction for the 2022 Knockout of the Year. It was interpreted as sudden, unexpected and destructive. And to make it even more terrifying, Chandler later revealed that he doesn’t even practice front kicks.

If this KO wanted to do anything, he pitted himself against a Ferguson fan who looked like his old man in battle before Chandler pushed him away. On the other hand, this fact against Ferguson makes it more effective. No one turns off Ferguson’s light, let it be. The end of Chandler was one of the most impressive MMA highlights of the last several years.

Best fight: Glover Texera vs. Jiri Prochazka

Raymondi: Easy option. This fight is not only the best fight of 2022, but also the biggest fight in UFC history – perhaps the best championship fight ever. Everything you need in a high-level MMA fight is in this fight. Both men dug deep to make it to the fifth and final round, with tight shots on the legs and exciting grappling exchanges on the mat, where Prochazka finally introduced Texera. Note that the submission specialist Texera between the two never entered her 20-year MMA career.

If the UFC 275 were to play in the main event, it would be that both men made costly mistakes that changed the course of the fight on several occasions, including going to the Texera guillotine choke in the fifth round. However, this did not dampen the spirit of the fight. Instead, he raised it, highlighting how desperate both men were to win when completed.

Best Event: UFC London, March 19

wegenheim: There was no championship fight on this card, not even the No. 1 competitor eliminator. But, in the main event, when Espinol, born in Manchester, England and fighting Liverpool, sent the crowd home with Volkov’s first-round armbar, one contestant announced his arrival in the heavyweight elite. This was the third straight first round of the main cards written by the British. There were four more in the prelim.

And that was what happened inside the octagon. Leave the cage to Paddy Pimple to give Molly McCann battle fans and soccer legend Wayne Rooney the whole “meatball” experience and celebrate with Dana White. The O2 Arena was buzzing all night.

The play was in full swing in London that night: the judges on the edge of the cage were shaking, the fighters were ending their fights, and the party was in chaos throughout the evening. The UFC will return to London on July 23 and Fight fans will be well served to mark their calendars and prepare for the second party on O2.

Best On-the-Mike Moment: Michael Chandler beats Tony Ferguson

Raymondi: Joe Rogan’s post-fight interview with Rogan after knocking out Tony Ferguson in UFC 274, was all you wanted when you put the microphone in front of the athlete’s face. Chandler joked, complimented Ferguson, and then was clear and charismatic about who he wanted next – the winner of that night’s main event between Oliveira and Justin Gothje. And if they weren’t ready to rematch with Chandler, they had another thought: What about Connor McGregor? Chandler said he would also weigh it in at 170 pounds.

Crowds hung over Chandler’s every word, and fans in Phoenix popped up when he mentioned Olivira, Gethsemane, and McGregor. Chandler caps the interview with his catchphrase: “Look at the top.” This is the stuff that makes Pro Wrestling’s most prestigious promo performers – like Rick Flair, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock – kiss chefs.

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