2021 is coming to a close and there were so many incredible UFC fights this year. There were massive title fights, stunning upsets, incredible comebacks, and so much more. 2021 was an incredible year for UFC fans.
A fight that stands out immediately is the featherweight title fight at UFC 267. Alexander Volkanovski was defending his title against Brian Ortega. This was a fight that many in the community were torn on entering 2021.
Given the way Ortega looked in his 2020 return, many including myself thought he was the guy to beat Volkanovski. However, the champion held strong. Volkanovksi and Ortega had a battle to remember at UFC 267 and Volkanovski won a decision.
Another fight that stands out to me is the battle between Jiri Prochazka and Dominick Reyes. A likely title eliminator which took place back in May. Both of these powerful light heavyweights hurt each other in a wild slugfest.
The pace was insane for two guys so big and powerful. In the end, Prochazka landed a perfect spinning back elbow which knocked Reyes out cold. That finish is also a top consideration for knockout of the year.
All that being said, there’s one fight that stands out amongst the rest. It was a fight that took place at UFC 268 and it was a fight that had an insane amount of hype leading up to it and it somehow surpassed even the loftiest expectations.
2021 UFC Fight of the Year
The UFC Fight of the Year in 2021 is definitely the battle between Justin Gaethje (23-3) and Michael Chandler (22-7). This fight took place in November and it’s still a fight that I’m buzzing about nearly two months later.
Gaethje made his lone appearance in 2021 count with this fight against Chandler. These two are fan favorites for their styles and they showed why in their battle. Michael Chandler said their fight would be like a car crash and that’s exactly what we got.
From the opening bell at UFC 268, these two guys went at each other with everything they had. Chandler came out quick throwing major heat and he hurt Gaethje in the first round. However, Gaethje hurt him back when they were swinging away.
In the second round, Gaethje dropped Chandler and hurt him bad. However, Chandler survived and the two continued to slug it out in the center. The final round saw Gaethje land more, but Chandler had big moments in the round as well.
These two threw caution to the wind and just went after each other. Ultimately, Gaethje got his hand raised at UFC 268 and earned a title shot in his victory. If you haven’t watched this instant classic, I highly recommend figuring out a way to watch it as soon as you can.