With another action-packed year of MMA in the books, MMA Junkie takes a look at the best fights from January to December 2022.
As voted on by our entire staff, here are the top five and winner of MMA Junkie’s Fight of the Year.
Stephen Thompson def. Kevin Holland at UFC on ESPN 42
Thompson earned a fourth-round TKO victory by corner stoppage over Holland, who sustained a hand injury early in the bout, breaking a two-fight losing skid and putting “Wonderboy” back in the win column for the first time since December 2019.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 4, 2022
Matt Schnell def. Su Mudaerji at UFC on ABC 3
After getting worked over on the feet through the first and into the second round, Schnell turned the tables on Mudaerji and landed shots of his own before locking in a savage triangle choke to finish the job.
INSANE FINISH TO AN INSANE FIGHT 😱
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 16, 2022
Jiri Prochazka def. Glover Teixeira at UFC 275
Jiri Prochazka submitted Glover Teixeira with 28 seconds left in the fifth round of their thrilling championship bout, scoring what seemed like an improbable tap.
Prochazka remained unbeaten in the UFC and crowned himself light heavyweight champion after just three fights with the promotion. The bout against Teixeira was a dramatic, all-out war that had many ups and downs for both fighters.
In the first two rounds, Prochazka had success on the feet and looked to be the faster and more explosive fighter. However, that would only work in his favor early in the rounds as Teixeira eventually closed the distance and took the fight to the ground using his single-leg takedowns. Teixeira was relentless with his ground-and-pound and top control.
The third round started very similarly to the first and second. Prochazka was able to shine more. He was landing the better shots and hurting Teixeira with speed. But again, two minutes in, Teixeira got a takedown, but this time Prochazka was able to get up and resume carnage on the feet. Teixeira looked to close the distance and find a takedown but was not effective.
On a failed takedown, Prochazka got top position and began to wear on Teixeira with constant ground-and-pound. Prochazka attempted a submission just to get reversed and end up on bottom. Teixeira made the most of the 30 seconds and punished Prochazka with shots, but it was clear Prochazka had done most of the damage that round.
In the fourth, Teixeira clipped Prochazka with a left early and got a takedown. The Brazilian got the mount and dropped heavy shots on Prochazka. He looked to submit Prochazka with an arm-triangle but was unsuccessful in his first attempt. He was reversed and found himself on bottom. From there, Prochazka stayed on top until the bell.
In the final round, Teixeira connected with his cleanest shot of the fight. He wobbled Prochazka with a combination but tried to go for a guillotine choke that failed instead of following up with more strikes. Teixeira ended up on bottom but eventually worked his way back to his feet. It appeared that Teixeira got a second wind as he seemed the fresher fighter. He was connecting hard on Prochazka, but then the momentum seemed to change completely.
Teixeira got a takedown and continued to batter Prochazka on the ground. With a minute left, Prochazka pushed off the cage, reversed the position, and got Teixeira’s back. Without hooks, Prochazka sunk in a rear-naked choke and squeezed until he got the tap. It was an incredible end to one of the best light heavyweight championship fights in recent memory.