MMA 2022 Year in Review: Fight of the Year

Glover Teixeira and Jiri Prochazka, UFC 275
SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - JUNE 10: (L-R) Opponents Glover Teixeira of Brazil and Jiri Prochazka of Czech Republic fo during the UFC 275 weigh-in at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 10, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Fight of the Year is always a hotly debated label, and as always, there were plenty of options in 2022. But while names like Gaethje, Chandler, and Poirier are often the go-tos in this category, it was a light heavyweight contest that was the favorite this past year.

Jay Anderson: Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler in New York was a whole lotta rosie fun, but Jiri Prochazka vs. Glover Teixeira had everything. High stakes, with the title on the line, crazy action, and a come-from-behind win for Prochazka. It’s a shame we were robbed of the rematch. But that’s my pick for Fight of the Year.

Gabriel Gonzalez: Glover Teixeira vs Jiri Prochazka. The fact that there were five rounds of momentum changes is still unbelievable even now.  The determination, tenacity, and sheer will from both men is really what makes this the best sport in the world.  To have the fight end with a late rally from Prochazka in the form of a submission was the cherry on top of an all-time classic.

Eddie Law: Coming into UFC 273 in April Khamzat Chimaev had been tearing through his opponents with only one of his bouts going into the second round. 

Until he ran into Gilbert Burns who showed no fear for “Borz” smothering style and even hurt the UFC rising star to take him the full 3 rounds. We finally saw Chimaev pushed to the brink and some even thought Burns won the fight. To me, easily the best fight of the year.

Alex Behunin: Jiri Prochazka vs. Glover Teixeira. This fight had everything and had surpassed Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson as the best LHW fight of all time. Both fighters were hurt and had their moments and then Jiri Prochazka who is not known for his submissions whatsoever, taps Glover Teixeira…when he was down on the scorecards. Amazing.

Jamie Theodosi: David Onama vs Nate Landwehr. I’ve picked this fight as opposed to the ones with higher stakes as it was the fight that had me on my feet for the majority of it. From Onama’s pure exhaustion, to his heart for being able to stay in the fight, this fight gave us everything. 

Val Dewar: Glover Teixeira vs Jiří Procházka. Glover Teixeira was ahead on the scorecards through twenty-four minutes and thirty-two seconds of absolute war in his first attempted title defense at UFC 275. The fight had been back-and-forth and he had absorbed absurd amounts of damage for anyone, let alone a forty-two year old, but he had largely been able to get the fight to the ground and mount extremely effective offense, even hurting his Czech striking specialist opponent severely early in round five. With little over a minute left, Jiří Procházka escaped full mount, found his way to a rear-naked choke attempt, and submitted the BJJ black belt Teixiera despite Jiří only having submitted two opponents in thirty-two career fights to that point. The back-and-forth action, high drama, and the unlikely method of the comeback victory make this UFC light heavyweight title bout a lock for fight of the year, despite fierce competition.

Michael Lynch: Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gilbert Burns. The fight was absolute madness.

End result: Jiri Prochazka vs. Glover Texieria claims our Fight of the Year award. It’s the fight that had it all, and convinced the UFC to book an immediate rematch where one wouldn’t have otherwise been warranted. Injury scuttled that bout, and the light heavyweight title remains vacant, with Texieira and Jamahal Hill fighting for it at UFC 283 later this month.