For a while, MMA was the only sport that was running. The UFC was first to resume sports during the pandemic, putting MMA in the spotlight. With many cards being cancelled, there were many cards that had pressure to perform with the world watching, and the UFC delivered.
Once fights returned, there were a lot of great cards initially. Making it hard to decide which card was the best fight card of 2020. UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje was the card that reintroduced the world to sports, and it stood out amongst all other cards.
UFC 249 is The Scrap’s 2020 Fight Card of the Year.
Honorable Mentions: UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal, UFC 256: Figueredo vs. Moreno and UFC 246: Cowboy vs. McGregor
From start to finish, UFC 249 was exciting. There was a masterclass grappling display between Bryce Mitchell and Charles Rosa, in the second fight of the night. Mitchell dominated from start to finish on the ground, and made grappling interesting even for the casual viewer. With Mitchell constantly attacking submissions, and Rosa doing everything to survive to the final bell.
Vicente Luque and Niko Price did not disappoint as the 2 brawlers traded blows. The fight was stopped short due to a gruesome eye injury to Price (shown above), who would have kept fighting if he were allowed to. Neither fighter wanted the fight to end the way it did, but it was definitely memorable.
The other fights were hard to leave out, but the headline for the prelims is a fight between legends, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone. Both fighters came into the matchup on losing streaks, but still put on a fight worth watching. There was a mutual respect shown between the fight veterans, as the momentum swung back and forth during the bout.
The Main Card
Calvin Kattar landed an elbow that had him in discussions for KO of the year. But before that, Kattar and Jeremy Stephens put on a striking clinic. The 2 went back and forth, giving and taking each others’ best shots. Someone was going down eventually, and Kattar was the one left standing.
One KO of the Year nominee followed by another potential KO of the year. Francis N’Gannou threw a wild spree of punches, and it only took one to land. One punch derailed the hype train of the undefeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The battle of 2 heavyweight goliaths lasted 20 seconds, in what was talked about as the meeting of the 2 hardest punchers in the UFC.
Henry Cejudo was able to finish Dominick Cruz in his long awaited return to the UFC. Cruz was finished for the first time in his career in what ended up being Cejudo’s retirement fight. The retirement announcement coming after the fight was a surprise even thought there were rumblings before the card.
The main event was a Fight of the Year nominee between Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title. Gaethje put on what might be the best performance of his career. He was a star before, but Gaethje raised himself to superstardom. Ferguson did not just roll over either, he displayed his toughness and never-die mentality. The fight would have been over much sooner against many other opponents, but the night was Gaethje’s.