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The five best UFC fights of 2021, including Gaethje’s war with Chandler and the beating of Kattar by Max Holloway

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The UFC has offered some truly unforgettable fights this year – many of which are still on the tip of the tongue of combat sports fans.

MMA fans were treated to a plethora of iconic fights that will be remembered for a long time.

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2021 offered some truly spectacular moments inside the octagonCredit: REUTERS
There have been amazing upheavals in the title fights

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There have been amazing upheavals in the title fightsCredit: GETTY
And there were sensational stops to start

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And there were sensational stops to start

So SunSport thought it would be fair to recap the first five fights of what turned out to be another stellar year for the MMA leader.

THE FIVE BEST UFC SUNSPORT FIGHTS OF 2021

Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler

As soon as the battle for fan favorites Gaethje and Chandler was announced, fireworks were expected. And the boy made a pair.

The former lightweight title challengers collided on the main card of UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden.

And their confrontation was like two hurricanes crashing into each other.

Both men went bankrupt from the start and rocked several times in the first round. Gaethje, however, took control in the second when he let Chandler down with a perfect uppercut.

Chandler, to his credit, managed to survive the storm and kept moving forward like a possessed one.

The two men ended the fight bruised and bruised and had to be transported to hospital after their long war.

Chandler vs Gaethje was a war for the ages

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Chandler vs Gaethje was a war for the agesCredit: GETTY
Neither man stood back on the Madison Square Garden barn burner

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Neither man stood back on the Madison Square Garden barn burnerCredit: GETTY

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega

The long-awaited meeting of featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and former title challenger Brian Ortega was well worth the wait.

The most recent Ultimate Fighter coaches faced off at the main event of UFC 266 in Las Vegas and pulled off one of the best fights in the history of the 145-pound division.

Australia’s second UFC champion was in the process of breaking up Ortega until he was let loose in the third and trapped in a guillotine – T-City’s iconic move.

The end of Volkanovsky’s reign as the featherweight king seemed imminent, but he managed to fight back against the vice-like stranglehold and the triangle attempt that followed.

The Great roared back in the fourth and nearly ended the fight with a brutal barrage of dirt and pound that left Ortega bloodied.

Ortega somehow survived the onslaught and reached the fifth round, although he has nothing more to give in his attempt to dethrone the imperious Volko.

Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega went to war at UFC 266

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Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega went to war at UFC 266Credit: REUTERS
Ortega was left in a bloody mess by the dominant champion

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Ortega left a bloody mess by the dominant championCredit: REUTERS

Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar

Max Holloway closed the first UFC card of the year with an absolutely stunning individual performance in his featherweight clash with Calvin Kattar.

Many fight fans advised the skillful boxer Kattar to give Hawaii one of his toughest tests outside of champion Volkanovsky, but they were wrong.

Blessed staged an absolute clinic against the Bostonian, whom he bloodied with a UFC record of 445 strikes.

The 29-year-old put Kattar back together with his fluid boxing and use of close-range elbows.

And he provided a sensational viral moment when he turned to the commentary team in the middle of the fight and declared himself the “best boxer in the UFC” as he surprisingly dodged six punches. fist.

Although the fight was a one-sided fight, Holloway’s masterclass on Fight Island was without a doubt one of the highlight moments of the year.

Holloway gave a boxing masterclass against Calvin Kattar

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Holloway gave a boxing masterclass against Calvin KattarCredit: GETTY
Former featherweight champion Holloway was sure to let Kattar know who's boss

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Former featherweight champion Holloway was sure to let Kattar know who’s bossCredit: GETTY

Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen

Following an injury to bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, former defending champion Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen ended up battling for the interim belt in the main co-event of UFC 267 in October.

Fans were drooling over the stylistic match as soon as the fight was announced. And the two men have indeed delivered in their dust from Abu Dhabi.

Russian wrecker Yan showcased his wide array of strikes with several unorthodox combinations – many of which took to Twitter the next day.

But the Sandman Sandhagen didn’t let the former champ do it his way and gave No Mercy the toughest test of his time in the UFC.

The judges ultimately preferred Yan’s work, although Sandhagen’s stock increased significantly thanks to his valiant display – which he returned with just five weeks’ notice.

Petr Yan Gives Cory Sandhagen a Shaved Head

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Petr Yan Gives Cory Sandhagen a Shaved HeadCredit: GETTY
The Sandman tries to hit an elbow

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The Sandman tries to hit an elbowCredit: GETTY

Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena

The penultimate title fight of 2021 between reigning female bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes and underdog Julianna Pena caused the biggest upheaval in UFC history.

After being dominated in the first round, Pena, winner of Season 18 of Ultimate Fighter, rallied around the second and went to war with the dominant champion.

Pandemonium ensued when the Venezuelan Vixen began tagging Nunes with stiff punches and finding a home for her right hand.

Nunes came back roaring like the lioness she is and stabbed the challenger with her own heavy shots.

Julianna Pena stings Amanda Nunes with a hard blow on her way to victory

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Julianna Pena stings Amanda Nunes with a hard blow on her way to victoryCredit: GETTY
Venezuelan Vixen celebrates stunning upset victory

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Venezuelan Vixen celebrates stunning upset victoryCredit: GETTY

But determined to get her hands on UFC gold, Pena dug deep and stayed in the fire.

A creaking right hand just past the three-minute mark sent a tired, shaken Nunes into desperate fashion, so much so that she fired for an out.

Pena missed the attempt and quickly moved to the back before blowing up the roof of the T-Mobile Arena by sinking into a choke in the back and forcing the seemingly unstoppable Brazilian to reluctantly submit to her. will.

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