Giving a cap tip to the best moments and MMA fights in January 2022

The Underground
mma fights in january 2022
Credit: ONE Championship

The first month of 2022 is in the books, and it included several noteworthy performances in the cage. Here is a look back and hat tip to the best fights, knockouts, submissions, and events in January:

Best MMA fights in January 2022

Fight of the Month: Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno, UFC 270

mma fights in january 2022
Jan 22, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Brandon Moreno (red gloves) competes against Deiveson Figueiredo (blue gloves) during UFC 270 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Jan. 22 fight at Honda Center, in Anaheim, Calif. was so good it became the rare trilogy fight that demands a fourth bout when all was said and done. The UFC’s two best flyweights had already twice proven themselves capable of bangers.

In Dec. 2020, then-champ Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno went to a majority draw in one of the year’s best bouts at UFC 256. Then Moreno took the title via third-round submission in the rematch six months later. January’s trilogy fight was a sublime, razor-thin contest that could have gone either way. A fifth-round knockdown was likely the difference as Figueiredo regained the title with across-the-board scores of 48-47.

It was MMA at its best, the question is will the pair fight for a fourth straight time or has the UFC hit a Figueiredo vs Moreno fatigue point?

KO of the Month: Zhang Lipeng vs Ruslam Emilbek, One Championship: Only the Brave

In a bout contested in Singapore on Jan. 28, Chinese lightweight Zhang Lipeng needed just 33 seconds to make an example of Ruslam Emilbek Uluu and a worldwide impression. A clean, textbook two-punch combo down the middle landed flush and ended things in the blink of an eye. It was the tenth career KO for former UFC competitor Lipeng.

Submission of the Month: Said Nurmagomedov vs. Cody Stamann, UFC 270

mma fights in january 2022
Jan 22, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Said Nurmagomedov (blue gloves) celebrates his win by submission against Cody Stamann (red gloves) during UFC 270 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

When you a native of Russia and carry the Nurmagomedov surname, high expectations are part of the deal. The rising bantamweight Said Nurmagomedov — not related to UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov — took on Cody Stamann in his highest-profile fight to date at UFC 270, he wasted no time getting the job done.

Nurmagomedov secured a guillotine choke that started in the standing position, then induced a tap out as soon as it hit the mat. He won in 42 seconds, earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus, and made a statement to the entire bantamweight division in one fell swoop.

Event of the Month: UFC 270

The Jan. 22 card in Calif. was basically considered a two-match card going in. The title fight main event between heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and interim champ Ciryl Gane, and the aforementioned Figueiredo vs Moreno clash. Those top two fights delivered, and what had been perceived as a light undercard over-delivered. Ngannou vs Gane did not produce the expected instant fireworks and yet unfolded in a compelling way.

Gane took the first two rounds before Ngannou rallied over the last three by implementing a heretofore unseen wrestling game. An added layer of drama was the ongoing contract tension between Ngannou and the UFC. Had Ngannou lost, he also would have lost all his leverage. Instead, he remains the champ and has become the face of UFC fighter pay issues.

Throw in the above-mentioned “Fight of the Month” and “Submission of the Month,” along with nice finishes up and down the undercard from the likes of Matt Frevola and Vanessa Demopoulos, and UFC 270 was a night where fans got their money’s worth.

–Field Level Media

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