UFC in 2022: Charles Oliveira and Khamzat Chimaev shine, all-timer at mild heavyweight amongst early highlights

Scratch past the floor and UFC delivered loads of memorable moments over the primary half of 2022. What the yr lacked in big marquee matchups, it made up for wealthy tales informed inside and outdoors of the Octagon.

Gripping championship fights, the rise of what could also be a generational athlete and a real-life dispute with the corporate are among the many UFC’s largest highlights from January via June. Every part that occurred over the primary six months of 2022 set the stage for an intriguing second half.

Let’s check out 5 moments from the primary half of the yr that shook up the UFC.

Charles Oliveira is plain

Oliveira is the uncrowned king of the UFC light-weight division and it solely provides to the drama of his surprising rise. Again-and-forth fights towards Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier in 2021 had him within the operating for Fighter of the 12 months. An exhilarating win over Justin Gaethje this yr erased any lingering doubts. Sure, Oliveira will get rocked and dropped, fairly a bit, however his spiderweb of jiu-jitsu deters opponents from ending the job. Add to that an unbreakable will and fight-ending energy and Oliveira is must-watch programming.

Oliveira was stripped after lacking weight for his light-weight title protection at UFC 274, however there was sufficient chaos surrounding the incident to save lots of him face. You have been hard-pressed to discover a real menace to Khabib Nurmagomedov on the time of his retirement, however Oliveira has emerged as the opposite half of that dream match.

Francis Ngannou vs. UFC

Pay disputes between UFC and its fighters are nothing new however this one feels a bit totally different. Heavyweight champion Ngannou has remained steadfast in his need for a extra equitable deal from UFC president Dana White and firm. It is among the extra high-profile battles between White and a fighter and one the place neither social gathering has appeared to budge. Ngannou was on the final struggle of his contract when he narrowly defeated Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. His victory was made all of the extra spectacular by his use of wrestling, as soon as his Achilles heel, and information that he fought with a torn MCL and ACL . The decision of Ngnannou vs. UFC is unclear but it surely made for a captivating begin to the yr.

Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira encourage in an all-time traditional

Teixeira vs. Prochazka was pure magic. It might not have had the finesse of Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, however Texeira-Prochazka was a masterclass within the warrior spirit. Teixeira, the defending champion, continued to defy expectations at 42 years previous. He survived Prochazka’s barrages and dragged his younger opponent into deep waters. Every man knocked on Loss of life’s door repeatedly however, with immortality at stake, refused to step via. As fatigue set in, Teixeira and Prochazka stripped weapons from one another’s arsenals. Teixeira leaned into his hanging and practically knocked out Prochazka early in Spherical 5. Prochazka, solely 30-seconds away from dropping the struggle, snatched a Hail Mary submission that compelled the champion to faucet. Pure drama.

Khamzat Chimaev proves himself as a real title menace

Chimaev is the actual deal. Expectations of Chimaev have been understandably excessive. He completely mauled his UFC opponents within the lead-up to a struggle with current welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns. Chimaev landed 112 strikes and solely absorbed one in his first 4 UFC fights. Chimaev and Burns beat the tar out of one another in UFC 273’s Combat of the Evening. These dissatisfied with how aggressive the struggle was woefully unaware of Burns’ expertise. This was a steep, steep enhance in competitors for Chimaev. The mere proven fact that Chimaev received the struggle with so little expertise towards top-flight competitors bodes effectively for his championship marketing campaign.

Michael Chandler delivers KO of the 12 months chief

Chandler’s ceiling within the UFC continues to be beneath examination however you can’t deny the person delivers the products. His struggle with Gaethje was named CBS Sports activities’ Combat of the 12 months, he earned a efficiency bonus in his UFC debut by knocking out Dan Hooker and placing on a thriller towards Oliveira for the vacant title. That pattern continued at UFC 274. Chandler bounced again from a tricky first spherical towards Tony Ferguson and delivered an all-time memorable KO. Chandler planted a picture-perfect entrance kick to Ferguson’s chin. The pictures have been tough to have a look at. The influence of Chandler’s kick stretched Ferguson’s face out like a latex masks. A celebratory backflip was the cherry on prime of the frontrunner for KO of the 12 months.

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