Best UFC Fights of 2023

December 24, 2023
4 months

Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski – UFC 284

In February 2023, fight fans were treated to an incredible card live from Perth, Australia. The highly competitive lightweight championship was on the line in the main event as Islam Makhachev welcomed the challenger, Alexander Volkanovski. The crowd was firmly behind the challenger, with him being a fellow Australian. While they didn’t get to see him win, they saw a fantastic fight that went all five rounds. While the judges ruled it a victory for the Russian fighter, many believed that it was a lot closer than the scorecards suggested. MMA was the true winner, however. A rematch took place in October, with Makhachev winning with a lot less contention with a KO method, which pleased MMA news sites.

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Alexa Grasso – UFC 285

The women’s flyweight division was put on notice with this fight at UFC 285. Valentina Shevchenko went into the fight as the defending champion, having held the belt since December 2018. She started well against Alexa Grasso in the co-main event of the evening as she got the better of the Mexican in the first round with multiple strikes landing. She would then score a knockdown and control the fight from the dominant position on the ground.

Grasso was able to utilize her boxing game, but Shevchenko was arguably doing better as the two were throwing calculated punches. The champion set this theme throughout the fight as the clear aggressor. Late in the fourth round, however, she would make a mistake as she mistimed a spinning kick, which completely missed. This would expose her back to Grasso to lock in a rear naked choke which made Shevchenko tap out, allowing the Mexican to become the champion. MMA new websites are now patiently awaiting Grasso to return from injury, with a potential bout on the UFC 300 card.

Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev – UFC 286

While the crowd at UFC 286 in London, England, might have come to see Leon Edwards in the main event, there’s no denying that they were thoroughly entertained by the co-main event between Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev. The fight was a tactical and technical affair between two men with very different fighting styles.

Fiziev was able to showcase his Muay Thai and kickboxing prowess as he landed a lot of strikes to Gaethje’s midsection. The American was focusing more on his opponent’s head as he opened the Azerbaijani early in the second round. While the fight was very close, Gaethje scored an all-important takedown in the last three seconds of the final round, making the judges keep working until the end of the fight. The official decision was a majority win for Gaethje, with one judge seeing it as a draw, showing just how close the fighters were on the night.

Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya II – UFC 287

UFC 287 was just one of the stars aligned for MMA fans. Multiple high-intensity fights played out at the Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida, but the main event was what everyone wanted to see. UFC hero Alex Pereira put his middleweight championship on the line against Israel Adesanya for the second time, having fought and defeated him back in November 2022.

The rematch delivered just as much excitement, with both men trading measured strikes while evading a few of them, too. The champion built momentum early in the second, which rocked Adesanya back toward the cage wall, which probably helped him stay on his feet. However, any momentum the Brazilian had gained was instantly defused when Adesanya caught a leg-kick and stared at him, saying as much as: ‘You got me once, not again.’

Both men continued to jostle on their feet for the remainder of the round until the final 50 seconds, where Pereira looked to gain control, forcing his opponent into the wall and landing fierce knees and punches. He left one small opening when backing up, which Adesanya accepted to land his hard right, which ended the fight via KO. The challenger won the fight and took home the championship in a true back-and-forth fight which deserves a third match.

Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja III – UFC 290

The trilogy-series-making fight between Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja delivered on the classic rivalry between Brazilian and Mexican MMA combatants. This was the co-main event at UFC 290, with the UFC flyweight championship on the line. The match was highly competitive, with both men trading frantic blows when on their feet. It was an MMA masterclass as both men showed excellent offense and defense both on the ground and by the cage wall. The fight went all five rounds and to the judges’ scorecards. Both men believed they’d won the contest, and the judges were also split in their decision, with two giving it to Pantoja but the other believing Moreno should have retained his belt.

Irene Aldana vs. Karol Rosa – UFC 296

UFC fans will often appear militant and dedicated to watching every fight on the card, in stark contrast to boxing events where spectators often don’t turn up until Round 1 of the main event. This fight on the undercard at UFC 296 vindicated exactly why. Irene Aldana and Karol Rosa picked up the aforementioned Mexico-Brazil rivalry in the cage and put on a clinic.

The first minute was a technical display where both fighters showed their defensive actions as they felt each other’s approach in the early going. However, after this, it was Rosa who appeared to be the better fighter, as her game plan to kick Aldana’s legs seemed to be working. Yet as the fight wore on, both women were cut open and bleeding profusely from the face. Aldana was able to take control in a convincing fashion toward the end of the fight. Nobody wanted the fight to end. Come the conclusion of the third round, the judges awarded a tight decision to Aldana and the bout was named the Fight of the Night. In MMA breaking news, after the fight, both women met up together after the event and praised one another for their respective performances.

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