UFC wrapped up the year with the UFC Busan and what a year it was for the fight fans! We have seen contenders become champions, we have seen fighters put it all in the middle until the final bell rings, and we have seen some jaw-dropping knockouts. However, there are a few fighters who stood out from the rest, who entertained the fans beyond the limit and achieved marvelous feet. But who has the claim to the tag of the Best Fighter of the year? Is it the UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya or the BMF, Jorge Masvidal? Before coming into a conclusion let’s look at some of the fighters who shined the brightest in 2019.
The Rise of BMF, Jorge Masvidal
After a long layoff, the Gamebred made his comeback against a young and hungry, Darren Till who was looking to make a comeback after an unsuccessful attempt to claim the title. Masvidal went into the octagon against Till as an underdog and rightfully so. He was on a two-fight losing streak and he was coming from a long layoff. But little did we know that we were about to see the resurrection of Masvidal as a fighter. Masvidal knocked out Till in the second round to start and put the entire division on notice.
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Jorge Masvidal would then face a multiple organization world champion, Ben Askren who was coming from a win against Robbie Lawler. Masvidal became a global superstar after knocking out Askren in 5 seconds with a flying knee.
The year did not end there for the Gamebred as he went on to fight Nate Diaz for the first-ever BMF (Baddest Mother F***er) title. he looked invincible against Nate Diaz. Masvidal brutalized Diaz for three rounds before the fight ended due to doctor’s stoppage. it’s safe to say that Masvidal headlined the biggest PPV of the year and he was able to capture the first-ever BMF title. But has he done enough to claim that he is the fighter of the year?
A New Superstar Was Born, Israel Adesanya
Very few fighters have had the success Adesanya had in such a short duration. Within two years of his arrival in UFC, he became an interim champion and then he went on to dethrone one of the best middleweights of all time to become the undisputed UFC champion.
Adesanya started his 2019 campaign by taking on Anderson Silva. Though the best days of Anderson Silva are behind us that fight was a striking extravaganza. Then he would go to a 5 round war against the number one contender, Kelvin Gastelum for the interim title. That was the coming-out party for Adesanya. He fought through adversities and came out with the interim title and an opportunity to challenge the undisputed champion, Robert Whittaker.
In the biggest fight of his life, in front of a sold-out MARVEL stadium Adesanya made an electrifying entrance to the octagon. In a UFC title fight, he danced his way to the octagon. Who does that? Not to mention that he went out there and destroyed Robert Whitaker in his backyard. With a resume like that he would be the fighter of the year according to many people, but has he done enough to beat the BMF.
Some other champions had a great last year. Henry Cejudo bet TJ Dillashaw and saved the entire flyweight division. That apart he captured the bantamweight title and became a two-division champion. However, due to an unfortunate soldier injury, he was out of the action for the rest of the year and that did hurt him in the race for the fighter of the year title.
So it all comes down to the BMF, Jorge Masvidal and the last Stylebender, Israel Adesanya. If you compare their achievements fight by fight, Masvidal stopped the unbeatable streak of Ben Askren who was even in the discussion of being one of the best welterweights of all time. He was part of one of the biggest fights of the year against Nate Diaz. However, his achievements do get dwarfed when compared to what Adesanya has done in the last year.
Adesanya has won an interim title, and he went on to become the undisputed champion in a historic event arguably the biggest event in the history of the organization. Though Masvidal gets the knockout of the year title for the 5 second KO against Askren, The Last Stylebender gets the fighter of the year.
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