Big John McCarthy picks his top five UFC memories of 2020 after a year in which the organization has managed to host 41 incredible events.
In 2020, the coronavirus plunged many professional sports across the world into chaos and then on hiatus. The initial impact included the cancellation of five UFC events scheduled between late March and early May.
But the UFC bounced back faster than most, and eventually hosted 41 events in the calendar year. In doing so, it also provided a model for many other professional sports to come back safely with testing and quarantine protocols implemented before the event.
McCarthy works as a Bellator commentator and analyst these days – appearing regularly on Sky Sports in 2020 – but he’s made a name for himself in MMA as a UFC referee. And he admits that the organization and its stars can rightly claim kudos for adjusting so quickly to the “ new normal ”:
“They were a machine. You just have to put out one show after another. And the real thing that has to be impressed is what the fighters did in that cage, the performances they did, that was really amazing.”
From the plethora of big fights that have taken place, we asked Big John to pick his top five UFC memories of 2020.
1) Dustin Poirier defeats Dan Hooker via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night, UFC Vegas 4, June 27, 2020
“It was amazing. Round two of this fight is probably one of the best rounds you’ve ever seen in MMA. And it was back and forth. Dan Hooker was doing really well at the start of this fight. And then Dustin Poirier just took over and it was Dan Hooker’s willingness to stay in a fight where he was receiving a ton of damage at one point, but didn’t stop at all.
“It was, for me, the fight of the year. This fight was just amazing. The exit of the two guys, and what both guys took, the fact that they got to the end of this fight. , that it lasted 25 minutes, was just fabulous. “
2) Joaquin Buckley KO’d Impa Kasanganay by Kick at UFC Fight Island 5, October 11, 2020
“It’s up there (in the all-time knockout list!) You have to watch and say when a fighter like Joaquin Buckley does something that most people haven’t seen before, it’s a moment . And just the way he threw that kick, the way he set it up by turning his foot, so he could swing his whole body.
“Impa, you know, great guy, great fighter, but he just didn’t see it coming. And we always say that the ones you don’t see are the ones that hurt you and it really hurt him because It made him stiff. Luckily he was fine, but this is one of those moments that will continue to live on as a highlight, not good for Impa, but for Joaquin this one will live on forever. “
3) UFC 248: Weili Zhang defeats Joanna Jedrzejczyk for Strawweight Women’s Championship by split decision on March 7, 2020
“He was another fight candidate of the year. The main event that night was Israel Adesanya against Yoel Romero, who turned out to be a bit of a snoozer. ‘artifice.
“It could definitely win the fight of the year. I tend to get closer to Poirier and Hooker, but this fight could definitely be the fight of the year too.”
4) UFC Fight Night (aka UFC 180) Brian Ortega defeats Korean Zombie (Chan Sung Jung) via unanimous decision, October 18, 2020
“I consider Ortega one of the best performances of the year based on a multitude of things. One thing is that Brian Ortega stopped fighting for over a year, almost two years and he came back. with that performance against someone. as good as the Korean zombie. And we all know what the Korean zombie can do – the fight before putting Frankie Edgar out in the first round and Frankie Edgar is one of the best MMA fighters of all time.
“But Brian Ortega won every round of this fight. He put on a stand-up demo. Everyone knows Brian Ortega as a jiu-jitsu specialist, a submission expert. That’s why we call him T-City, for the triangle. And his stand-up looks so good. It was just an amazing performance that night
5) UFC Las Vegas 16 Marvin Vettori def.Jack Hermanson via unanimous decision December 5, 2020
“I thought it was a great fight. Jack Hermanson is really good on the pitch. And so a lot of people would look at Marvin and say, ‘well, he can’t go on the floor with him.’ And he hurt Hermanson in the first round, he knocked him down with a big blow. Hermanson was about to come out with that shot, I would say he lost the round 10-8.
“And then Vettori wins the second round again, but it’s closer. And on the third lap Hermanson turns around and he has Vettori in trouble.
“Take a look at the dynamics, and I found it really interesting throughout this fight. You could see when each guy was trying to take control, trying to take control of distance, or trying to take control of the pace of the fight, or just trying to set a trap.
“There was so much going on, I thought it was so interesting. I loved the fight. I thought both guys played amazingly well. It was so much fun. From the fourth round, I stood up, moved around, just enjoying the whole thing. “