With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMA Junkie looks at the best fights from December 2021: Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMA Junkie’s Fight of the Month award for December.
At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting on your choice.
Nominee: Cheyanne Vlismas def. Mallory Martin at UFC on ESPN 31
For 15 minutes, both fighters hardly took a step backward and kept firing strikes for the duration of the contest. Ultimately, Vlismas earned the decision victory for her second consecutive octagon triumph.
Nominee: Clay Guida def. Leonardo Santos at UFC on ESPN 31
Clay Guida (37-21 MMA, 17-15 UFC) pulled off one of the biggest comebacks of 2021 against Leonardo Santos (18-5-1 MMA, 7-2-1 UFC) in their lightweight matchup.
After nearly getting finished with strikes in the first round, Guida rallied in a major way and became the first man to submit Santos in MMA competition, locking on a rear-naked choke to force his opponent to give up.
Nominee: Dominick Cruz def. Pedro Munhoz at UFC 269
Cruz, a former two-time UFC champ, has put together back-to-back victories after he defeated Munhoz by unanimous decision in a fight where he got dropped in the first round then rallied to take over in the second and third frames.
Nominee: Charles Oliveira def. Dustin Poirier at UFC 269
Charles Oliveira (32-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) has submitted more opponents than anyone else in UFC history, and with his lightweight title on the line, he added Dustin Poirier (28-7 MMA, 20-6 UFC) to his list.
After getting dropped in the first round, Oliveira rallied and in the third round tapped Poirier out with a rear-naked choke for his first successful title defense.
Nominee: Amanda Lemos def. Angela Hill at UFC Fight Night 199
At the end of 15 minutes the judges were left split in their decision. When it was all said and done, Lemos won on two of the judges’ scorecards, but both women took home a bonus for the “Fight of the Night.”
The winner: Dominick Cruz vs. Pedro Munhoz
In the early moments, things looked grim for former bantamweight champion Cruz. But somehow, someway, he overcame great adversity in the opening minutes to rally and dominate Munhoz en route to a unanimous decision victory
The first round was action-packed, with the most significant damage being unleashed by the hands of Munhoz, who stunned and dropped Cruz on multiple occasions. Cruz someone survived in a grappling scramble and the momentum shifted slightly thereafter. Most of the exchanges that followed were either 50-50 or slightly in Cruz’s favor. While he may not have won the round, he showed heart and rebounded nicely.
In Round 2, Cruz continued to find his range and pick apart Munhoz on the feet. As the round progressed, so did Cruz’s offense. Big shots connected for the former champion, but Munhoz stayed on his feet and absorbed them. Late in the frame, Cruz landed a series of approximately 10 straight punches to the head of Munhoz, which got a pop out of the crowd.
Likely tied at one round apiece, it was anyone’s fight entering the final round. Cruz was aggressive like in Round 2, as he rocked Munhoz on a few occasions. As he sported a cut under his left eye, Cruz dipped in and out as he avoided danger in vintage fashion. Munhoz hung tough, but it wasn’t enough to sway the judges.