We can all use an escape from reality. With the coronavirus affecting our lives and how we view sports, among other things, there is a need for an adrenaline rush. What’s the best way to get one without actually having to hurt yourself? Watching other people fight for your entertainment.
MMA promotions from all over the world have archives of footage to share for those who want to forget about the world for a moment. From DAZN, UFC Fight Pass, YouTube, to FIGHT SPORTS MAX, FIGHT SPORTS is interested in helping out by highlighting fights to binge through. Whether you’ve heard of these fighters or not doesn’t matter. What does matter is how good the bouts actually were.
Here are the top five MMA fights to view, in no particular order:
Weili Zhang v. Joanna Jedrzejczyk – UFC 248
We start off with the most recent one, just because it is still fresh in all of our minds. This is one of the best female fights in UFC history, and could even be argued as the one of the best fights in MMA history.
This was a fight that proved that Joanna was still a dominant strawweight fighter, while also presenting a passing of the torch moment. Zhang went to war with the former strawweight queen, as both didn’t give up an inch. Round one saw both hit 30 significant strikes, 38 in round three and 40 in round four. In total, Zhang landed 165-of-408 significant strikes (170 total) while Joanna landed 186-of-350 (196 total). Joanna ended up with a huge hematoma on her forehead, and both fighters legs were sore after putting in the work.
If you want to try and get modern fans in, this one is the key to their hearts.
Michael Chandler v. Eddie Alvarez – Bellator 58
In all honestly, both the first and the second bouts between the two are good to view.
After winning Bellator’s Lightweight Tournament in season four of Bellator in 2011, Chandler (20-5) went on to face the Lightweight Champion. That just happened to be Eddie Alvarez (30-7-1), who was defending the title for the second time. A back and forth affair, both fighters found an edge throughout the fight.
Chandler landed a huge right less than a minute into the fight to take Alvarez down, but the champion recovered. Chandler and Alvarez went to war in round three and it looked as if Chandler was out of it. In round four, however, Chandler was able to lock in a rear-naked choke for the win. Words don’t do it justice, as it is considered one of the best fights and series in Bellator MMA history, and a way to show they are competitors to the UFC. We continue to wait for a trilogy bout between the two, which may happen with Chandler’s upcoming idea of entering free agency.
Robbie Lawler v. Rory MacDonald II – UFC 189
The first fight between Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald was a calculating bout between two tough competitors. The second fight is the Mona Lisa of combat sports. It is the Bloody War that many say is what got them into MMA.
Lawler (28-14, 1NC) was just returning to welterweight when he faced a young MacDonald (21-6-1). He won the first bout via split decision. This time around, Lawler was the UFC Welterweight Champion, having just won it from Johny Hendricks at UFC 181. Rory, now known as “Red King”, won three in a row to get to this point.
After a normal first round, it was all mayhem after that. Rory’s nose was already busted in that round, but it didn’t seem to phase him. He awoke in round three, catching Lawler with a kick and a barrage of punches and elbows. He started off round four hot with kicks and elbows, and Lawler was staggering but recovered. The last two minutes of the round just saw them mauling one another.
Who can ever forget the staredown the two bloody fighters had heading into round five, or Lawler pumping up the crowd with a busted lip? In the end, MacDonald’s bloody nose got the best of him, and Robbie walked away the winner.
When it comes to what is peak MMA, this is it in the best way possible.
Angela Lee v. Xiong Jing Nan – ONE: CENTURY
As ONE Championship was celebrating its premier event on TNT for the world to see, it is hard to forget just how wild the women’s main event of part one was.
Angela Lee, the ONE Atomweight Champion, was defending her title for the fourth time against a woman she has faced before. Xiong Jingnan (14-2), the ONE Strawweight Champion, was looking to win a second belt after Lee tried and failed to take her belt at ONE: A New Era back in March. Only seven months later, these two were hungry for more.
Both fighters swung away, while also trying to drop one another to the ground. Lee used her wrestling to her advantage, but Jingnan used her strength to jab her way out of danger. She wasn’t the only one, as both laid into one another with epic shots that wowed the crowd. In the fifth, Lee used every bit of energy she had to nail a suplex on Jingnan before forcing her to tap with the rear-naked choke.
A trilogy bout has yet to come to fruition. ONE may have struck gold with both fighters, who have become true dominant stars with the brand.
Quinton Jackson v. Wanderlei Silva – PRIDE
The series that put MMA on the map. In four fights against one another, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson” and Wanderlei Silva managed to awe and inspire crowds from all over the world. While their last bout above in Bellator wasn’t as sexy as others wanted, and their UFC bout was good but not great, it was over at Pride that they really got to show just what they could do.
The first fight was a result of the two climbing up the ranks and mowing down the competition in the Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix. Jackson (38-14) and Silva (35-14-1, 1NC) fought in the finals at Pride Final Conflict 2003, with Jackson trying to choke Silva out. Utilizing the Pride rules of allowing knees to a grounded opponent, both were just mashing away at one another. The contest reached a controversial point when a stand-up was enforced, and it was Silva who took advantage with a TKO win. This was all in the first round.
The second fight is critically acclaimed, and for good reason. Taking place at Pride 28: High Octane in 2004, a crowd of 24,028 in Japan got to see a true classic, even in two rounds. All the action was performed in round one with severe head shots that would not be allowed today. Silva, the Pride Middleweight Champion, then caught Jackson in round two with strikes that caused him to fall to the floor, unconscious.
Although Jackson lost the first two fights, it sparked interest in company’s all over to recreate the magic all these years later.