Five Most Underrated UFC Performances of 2020

Published 12/28/2020, 7:00 AM EST


2020 has been yet another stand out year for fight fans and the UFC. The promotion has put on shows at a time when most sports were not. Over the course of the year, there have been some standout performances, fighters, submissions, and KOs. We take a look at five of the most underrated performance of this year. 

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UFC Fight Night: Jack Hermansson vs Marvin Vettori

Marvin Vettori was the third opponent Jack Hermansson was scheduled to fight after Darren Till pulled out because of an injury, and Kevin Holland withdrew because of a positive COVID test. ‘The Italian Dream’ did not have the best year.

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After beating Roberson earlier this year, Vettori struggled to find an opponent. A perfect opportunity presented itself when he was offered a fight against a much higher-ranked opponent in Hermansson on short notice. 

‘The Italian Dream’ wasted no time in accepting the fight. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and proved why he is one of the best in the division by beating ‘The Joker’ via unanimous decision. Vettori and Hermansson set the record for the most punches thrown in a UFC middleweight fight. He also tied the record for the most wins in the UFC by an Italian-born fighter. 

Charles Oliveira vs Tony Ferguson 

Charles Oliveira has been considered a top prospect in the UFC for a while now. However, at UFC 256, ‘Do Bronx’ shifted his perception from a “top prospect” to a bonafide contender with a stunning win over a dangerous adversary in Tony Ferguson.

 

Going into the fight, Ferguson had just come off a brutal loss to Justin Gaethje. However, Ferguson was still considered a very dangerous opponent and a litmus test for the Brazilian.

‘Do Bronx’ dominated the fight from the first bell. He almost secured a submission when he put ‘El Cucuy’ in one of the nastiest arm-bars in UFC history towards the end of the first round. Oliveira toyed with Ferguson and in the process extended his winning streak to 8-0. A truly incredible performance from the Brazilian. 

Paul Felder vs Rafael dos Anjos 

Rafael dos Anjos was scheduled to fight Islam Makhachev at UFC Vegas 14. However, the Russian fighter pulled out of the fight, and the UFC was left in a lurch with its main event bout, five days out from the event. 

Paul Felder, who was supposed to be a commentator that weekend, stepped in on five days’ notice and take the fight against a dangerous adversary.

‘The Irish Dragon’ last fought in February this year and had since been inactive. Despite taking a five-round fight last minute, Felder pushed ‘RDA’ all five rounds and lost via a split decision. 

UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs Burns 

Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns accepted his second fight of 2020 when he agreed to fight the former champion, Tyron Woodley, in May. ‘The Chosen One’ last fought a year back when he lost his belt to Kamaru Usman at UFC 235. This was poised to be his comeback fight. For ‘Durinho’ on the other hand, this would be the biggest test of his career thus far. 

Come fight night, the Brazilian dominated the fight from the first bell and secured a lopsided unanimous decision win over Tyron Woodley. ‘Durinho’ used his grappling skills well. He had a ground control time of eight minutes and almost secured a submission as well. A win over a former champion in dominant fashion put him next in line for a title shot and moved him to 6-0 in his last 6 fights. 

Brandon Moreno vs Deiveson Figueiredo 

Brandon Moreno secured an impressive win over Brandon Royval at UFC 255 and said that he wanted champion Deiveson Figueiredo next. The UFC obliged and pitted them against each other just three weeks later at UFC 256. This marked the fastest turnaround title defense in the UFC.

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However, ‘The Assassin Baby’s’ performance is overlooked. The Mexican fighter pushed the champion to the very limit and scored a draw. Moreno suffered one of the nastiest kicks to the groin in the fight and it looked as though he might not be able to continue.

However, the fighting spirit in Moreno was on display. He took only two of the allotted five minutes and immediately pushed Figueiredo once he resumed fighting. The fight is a clear contender for ‘fight of the year’ and it saw a star born that night.  

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Kevin Binoy

842 articles

Kevin Binoy is an MMA author at EssentiallySports. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Fergusson College and has been covering sports professionally for over two years. Besides working with the MMA writing team, Kevin is a core member of the organization's web stories team and is responsible for delivering engaging MMA web stories.

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