2021 January Recap and February Outlook for the UFC:
We made it through a crazy year and unlike most sports, MMA was able to adapt to the global pandemic. The UFC made the critical decision to remain operating, Including launching Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.. Other MMA organization like One Championship and Bellator also made the necessary changes in order to operate. However, the main change of 2020 was the disappearance of fans for majority of the year. With empty seating and hollow arenas. The need for exciting MMA entertainment was high, and many organization delivered. Below is a break down of the UFC’s 2020 statistics, January highlights, and upcoming fights this February fan look forward to seeing.
In 2020, the UFC had 456 fights with 139 KOs and 82 submissions. With 123 UFC debuts and 15 Title defenses. The year saw many impressive moments like the fastest KO by Khamzat Chimaev, who floored Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds with a right cross at UFC Vegas 11. Another major highlight was the KO of the year by Joaquin Buckley, who delivered one of the most unbelievable knockouts in UFC history when he threw a flying spinning back kick to the face of Impa Kasanganay. But the overall best moments were title defenses. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje, Israel Adensanya vs. Paulo Costa, Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno, and Zhang Weili vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk were some of the most viewed fights of the year and significant moments in the sport. Although the sport lost major figures like Khabib Nurmagomedov due to retirement, fans were satisfied with a great year.
As 2020 transitioned to 2021. The UFC had two major fights to look forward to in January 2021. The first fight was Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar. This fight was huge deal because it was the first time the UFC aired on ABC Network. This partnership allowed 1.6 million viewers to watch the fight. The highest volume of viewers the UFC had in over a year. The fight took place January 16th at UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. and was one of the most one sided fights in the sports history. Holloway, the former UFC Featherweight Champion and hailed as an exceptional striker was favored to win the fight. From the beginning of the fight, Holloway showed that he was one of the best strikers in the UFC. In total Holloway broke 8 UFC records including the number of strikes landed in a fight. Holloway had 445 strikes landed on Kattar, beating the previous record of 290. He also beat the record for most strikes in a single round at 141 strikes. Holloway landed more then 60% of the punches he threw. He even yelled “I am the best boxer in the UFC” during the fight. Although Kattar landed some good strikes, he could not compete with Holloway. Despite Kattar being battered against the cage, he never threw in the towel. Something that many fans respected about him, proving the will of a fighter. Kattar was very humble about his loss, stating “If you ain’t a Max Holloway fan, you’re a hater,…Kid’s a beast. Did what he had to do. Good luck to him, and hopefully the champ next, because he deserves another shot.” Fans are now curious if Holloway will have a chance to regain his title again later this year. But as of now, nothing is confirmed.
The second major fight in January was Connor McGregor vs Justin Poirier II. Back in 2014, McGregor defeated Poirier by TKO in under 2 minutes. Many fans speculated that McGregor would win the fight again. However, since their last meeting, Poirier had taken out major fighters in their division including Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway (twice). Leading up to the fight both fighters were training and practicing hard. But when the two met for UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Poirier shocked the world. During the first round a number of shoulder strikes and calf kicks were delivered by both fighters. Poirier had a nice takedown and McGregor landed some good strikes. However, Poirier’s leg strikes were lethal to McGregor, forcing McGregor to lean towards one leg. This allowed Poirier to close in, and after a decisive combination of strikes he defeated McGregor in 2nd round by TKO. The first TKO loss McGregor had in his career. Absolutely stunning the MMA world. After years in the making, Poirier had redeemed himself and now looks to continue this going into the future with a hopeful title shot. In his post fight interview Poirier said “beating Conor, a two-weight world champion, adds another world champion to the list of guys I’ve taken out. … I think I’m most deserving to be in a title fight out of all these guys.”
Looking into February many UFC fans are excited for UFC 258. Kamaru Usman (17–0) will take on Gilbert Burns (19–3) and Maycee Barber (8–1) will fight Alexa Grasso (12–3) for the main and co-main events. This month with also have 3 major fight nights where not only UFC champions will fight but also new prospective debuts will occur. As the year progresses new fights will be announced and we want to make sure to keep you updated on the UFC and other MMA organization through the AllTheBelts: Combat Sports News App. Read stories, check standings, watch videos, and listen to podcasts all on one place. Use the links below to download our app today.
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