Nearing the end of 2022, we’ve had exciting fight cards, we’ve had some big knockouts, and we’ve had some big upsets. The UFC has a massive roster and is home to some of the greatest mixed martial artists. In my opinion, I have come up with 5 fighters that we should watch out for in the last part of 2022.
Paddy Pimblett is a British UFC Lightweight fighter who’s burst onto the scene and taken the division by storm with all 3 of his fights resulting in finishes in the early rounds. Within a short time, ‘Paddy the Baddy’ has picked up a massive following, some even suggesting it mirrors Mcgregor’s starting UFC featherweight run. He holds a record of 19 wins and 3 losses, with almost half of his wins coming via Submission, which clearly reflects his 1st-degree black belt achievement. His dominating arrival in the division has seen him awarded Performance of the Night in each fight in the UFC. He also has taken a stand on promoting mental health awareness, as it is something he holds close to his heart, and upholding a “teenage” aesthetic to appeal to and essentially influence the younger generation. He has displayed great skill in his fights. He has overcome a lot of adversity in the fight world, with his ability to drop and gain weight, weighing as much as 205lbs almost a month after his last fight, gaining notoriety and attracting trolls. Paddy has a strong friendship with Molly McCann, also a British UFC fighter in the Women’s Flyweight division, and they are admired massively by the UK UFC scene.
My next fighter is Jiri Prochazka, a Czech Light Heavyweight UFC fighter, and after a win against former LHW Champion Glover Texeira, Jiri is now the current LHW champion. Jiri has a record of 29-3-1 and has dominated all his MMA fights, with 81% of his wins coming from the 1st round. He currently sits on an 11 fight win streak in MMA and dominates his first two UFC fights against two warriors, Dominick Reyes and Volkan Oezdemir, winning by KO in the 2nd round on both occasions. He has won Performance of the Night twice in both UFC fights and Fight of the Night against Reyes. He has had 25 KO’s to his name and 3 submission victories throughout his career. His main fight style is Muay Thai, and he highlights this massively as a creative fighter within the Octagon, and his record precedes him with numerous KO victories.
Following on from Prochazka, we move to Swedish UFC welterweight fighter Khamzat Chimaev 12-0, a wrestler who has amazingly burst onto the scene. Firstly, winning 3 fights in 66 days earned him his first award in the UFC; secondly, within his first 4 UFC fights, he showed the world how dominant and skilled he was as a fighter, as he threw 254 strikes and only absorbed two. He knocked out Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds. He won numerous breakthrough fighter awards in 2020 from different fight reporters. He also won the award for quickest consecutive wins in modern UFC history, set at 10 days. Chimaev was scheduled to fight Nate Diaz at UFC 279 on September 10th 2022; however, come weigh-in day, chimaev came in 7lbs overweight, so his fight with Diaz was scrapped, and Kevin Holland took Nate Diaz’s place. Chimaev went on to win in dominant fashion finishing Holland via a D’Arce Choke at two minutes thirteen seconds in the first round. His previous fight against Gilbert Burns, that is what set the standard for fans watching to see how Chimaev deals with pressure during a fight. Khamzat delivered perfectly, winning via unanimous decision against Burns, scoring 29-28. He trains alongside Gustafsson in Stockholm, where Gustafsson has stated that he hasn’t met such a tough fighter as Chimaev. Most recently, Chimaev has paired up with Darren Till, which was a big shock to the MMA world, but from what it seems, they are both trainings well and learning from each other.
The next fighter is none other than Islam Makhachev. This Russian lightweight UFC fighter has annihilated his competition, holding a 10-fight win streak, with most of the fights lasting going into the later rounds, proving his durability and having 10 submission victories in total. Training with Khabib and the Dagestani team, they all prove their durability through their intense training methods up in the mountains. Islam trains at AKA, with notable fighters such as Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier and Khabib. Overall in his UFC fights and in UFC history, he has the least absorbed significant strike rate per minute at 0.77, meaning his defence and skillset is top level, and the next lowest rate is 1.04 per minute. He has won Submission of the Month twice and won Fight of the Night once. He is the potential next contender for a title fight, facing Charles Oliveira. However, Dana White wants Islam to face Beneil Dariush to cement his confidence in giving him the title shot. [Although Islam Makhachev vs Charles Oliveria has been slated for October 22nd 2022, at UFC 280].
Talking of Oliveira, he is my last fighter to keep an eye on in 2022. Charles Oliveira, a Brazilian Lightweight fighter, has just come off a big submission victory over Justin Gaethje; however, it didn’t come without controversy, as Charles missed weight and relinquished the belt. However, he remains in the championship picture as the No1 contender. He holds a 33-8, with an 11-fight win streak. He has the record for the most submissions in UFC at 16 victories via Submission. He also has numerous other records, such as the most finishes set at 19, the 3rd longest LW winning streak set at 11 fights, and he holds 12 Performance of the Night awards, and the list continues. His last 3 fights have been against the top 3 LW ranked fighters, and they have grandly dominated them, submitting two and winning via TKO with the other. However, he shows great determination as he recovers quickly from knockdowns or wobbles and manages to clutch the win. He fights out of Chute Boxe in Curitiba, with previous notable fighters such as Anderson Silva, Cris Cyborg and Mauricio Rua, who will go down in the history books. His next fight has been confirmed against Islam Makhachev on October 22nd 2022, at UFC 280.
This concludes my article, and we shall see how the rest of 2022 plays out and see if any of the hype continues.
What is your thought?