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Alex Pereira of Brazil reacts after his TKO victory over Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in the UFC middleweight championship bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Recap Every UFC Title Fight From 2022

See Which UFC Stars Shined Brightest When The Pressure Was On

There were 19 UFC title fights in 2022.

  • Two UFC Women’s strawweight title fights
  • One UFC women’s flyweight title fight
  • One UFC flyweight title fight
  • One interim UFC flyweight title fight
  • One UFC women’s bantamweight title fight
  • Two UFC bantamweight title fights
  • Two UFC featherweight title fights
  • Two UFC lightweight title fights
  • One UFC welterweight title fight
  • Three UFC middleweight title fights
  • Two UFC light heavyweight title fights
  • One UFC heavyweight title fight

Each of these high stakes fights had something different to offer, so let’s look back at the title fights that shaped the UFC landscape in 2022.

UFC 270
January 22, 2022

Francis Ngannou vs Ciryl Gane for the undisputed UFC heavyweight title

It was impossible to ignore the riveting narrative behind Francis Ngannou vs Ciryl Gane.

Both fighters cut their teeth at the MMA Factory in Paris, France, under the tutelage of Fernand Lopez. They had trained with one another a handful of times and when Ngannou decided to switch camps and move to Las Vegas, some drama ensued.

Francis Ngannou of Cameroon prepares to fight Ciryl Gane of France in their UFC heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

Francis Ngannou of Cameroon prepares to fight Ciryl Gane of France in their UFC heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)


That drama peaked when Ngannou and Gane locked horns at UFC 270, where “The Predator” was able to showcase a different side of his game on the way to defeating Gane. It was an impressive performance from the champion and proved that he isn’t a one trick pony and that he has the gas tank to go five rounds.

Unfortunately for Ngannou, he was forced to miss the remainder of 2022 due to injury.

Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno for the undisputed UFC flyweight title

Fight fans knew that if Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno III was anything like the first two, they were in for a treat.

Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil reacts after his decision victory over Brandon Moreno of Mexico in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil reacts after his decision victory over Brandon Moreno of Mexico in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 270 event at Honda Center on January 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


The two flyweights delivered yet again, putting on a back-and-forth show over five rounds. Even though the fight was close, this one belonged to Figueiredo, as he was finally able to defeat Moreno by unanimous decision.

Figueiredo’s win moved the trilogy scoreboard to 1-1-1 and set the two up on a collision course to meet for a fourth time at UFC 283.

UFC 271
February 12, 2022

Israel Adesanya vs Robert Whittaker for the undisputed UFC middleweight title

Middleweight rivals Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker’s highly anticipated rematch was much closer than their first, but the belt didn’t change hands.

Israel Adesanya of Nigeria and Robert Whittaker of Australia face off as they touch gloves prior to their UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 271 event at Toyota Center on February 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Israel Adesanya of Nigeria and Robert Whittaker of Australia face off as they touch gloves prior to their UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 271 event at Toyota Center on February 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


“The Last Stylebender” banked a unanimous decision win over “The Reaper,” much in part to his slick striking and takedown defense. The win wasn’t as emphatic as his TKO victory at UFC 243, but it was impressive for a whole different set of reasons.

This would be the first of Adesanya’s three fights in 2022.

UFC 273
April 9, 2022

Alexander Volkanovski vs The Korean Zombie for the undisputed UFC featherweight title

After originally being slated to face rival Max Holloway at UFC 273, Alexander Volkanovski ended up facing The Korean Zombie in Jacksonville. What ensued was Volkanovski’s most impressive performance to date, as he overwhelmed TKZ with his standup game for the entirety of their featherweight title fight.

Alexander Volkanovski of Australia punches 'The Korean Zombie' Chan Sung Jung of South Korea in their UFC featherweight championship fight during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

Alexander Volkanovski of Australia punches 'The Korean Zombie' Chan Sung Jung of South Korea in their UFC featherweight championship fight during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)


The bout was stopped at the beginning of the fourth round and Volkanovski successfully defended his title for third time.

Aljamain Sterling vs Petr Yan for the undisputed UFC bantamweight title

Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan met in what might be consider the most heated title fight of 2022. Not only was it a unification bout (Yan entered the bout as the interim champ), but at UFC 259, Yan was disqualified in his title fight with Sterling due to an illegal knee.

The disqualification awarded Sterling the belt and there’s been tension between Sterling and Yan since.

Aljamain Sterling kicks Petr Yan of Russia in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Aljamain Sterling kicks Petr Yan of Russia in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


The controversy didn’t end at UFC 273, as Sterling and Yan fought to a close split decision. In the end, Sterling was given the nod and couldn’t have been happier to feel like the true bantamweight champion.

UFC 274
May 7, 2022

Charles Oliveira vs Justin Gaethje for the undisputed UFC lightweight title*

Fight fans everywhere circled their calendars when they saw that all-action superstars Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje were set to fight.

What they didn’t count on was the incumbent champion missing weight and throwing everything into a blender. Oliveira’s weight miss forced him to vacate the UFC lightweight title and made it so he was ineligible to win the title at UFC 274. Only Gaethje could leave Arizona as the champ, but that didn’t stop “Do Bronx” from delivering the performance of a lifetime.

Charles Oliveira of Brazil secures a rear choke submission against Justin Gaethje in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 274 event at Footprint Center on May 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Charles Oliveira of Brazil secures a rear choke submission against Justin Gaethje in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 274 event at Footprint Center on May 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


For three-plus minutes, that Octagon was on fire, as both fighters had wild moments that ended with a stunning victory by Brazil’s finest.

Oliveira submitted Gaethje and prevented the belt from going anywhere, exclaiming post-fight that “The champion has a name and that is Charles Oliveira.” It was another moment in Oliveira’s incredible story that will help him go down as one of the best fighters to step in the Octagon.

Carla Esparza vs Rose Namajunas for the undisputed UFC strawweight title

Not every fight can be a barnburner, and unfortunately that was the case in the rematch between Carla Esparza vs Rose Namajunas.

Carla Esparza battles Rose Namajunas in the UFC strawweight championship fight during the UFC 274 event at Footprint Center

Carla Esparza battles Rose Namajunas in the UFC strawweight championship fight during the UFC 274 event at Footprint Center on May 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Esparza and Namajunas went five rounds with very few exchanges or exciting moments. The judges ruled the fight as a split decision win for Esparza, who reclaimed the strawweight belt almost eight years later.

UFC 275
June 12, 2022

Jiří Procházka vs Glover Teixeira for the undisputed UFC light heavyweight title

One of the fights of the year went down in Singapore when Jiří Procházka and Glover Teixeira laid it all on the line in their UFC light heavyweight title bout.

Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic punches Glover Teixeira in their UFC light heavyweight title bout at UFC 275. (Photo by Harrison Green/Zuffa LLC)

Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic punches Glover Teixeira in their UFC light heavyweight title bout at UFC 275. (Photo by Harrison Green/Zuffa LLC)


Every round was a back-and-forth affair that featured wild scrambles, big combinations, and plenty of grit. Finally, Procházka broke through in the fifth and final round. He was able to win a scramble and submit Teixeira just before the final bell.

If the fight had gone the distance, Teixeira would have likely been granted the decision, but Procházka’s epic effort paid off.

It’s exactly the type of title fight that fans want to see and it absolutely delivered and then some.

Valentina Shevchenko vs Taila Santos for the undisputed UFC flyweight title

No one expected Taila Santos to push longtime flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko to the brink, but that’s exactly what she did.

Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan punches Taila Santos of Brazil in the UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 275 event at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan punches Taila Santos of Brazil in the UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 275 event at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Santos had her moments, dominating multiple rounds against the champ thanks to her strong grappling and ground game. Shevchenko was able to bounce back and win close rounds en route to a split decision victory.

This was Shevchenko’s closest fight outside of her bouts with double-champ Amanda Nunes, and showed just how bright Santos’ future is.

UFC 276
July 2, 2022

Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier for the undisputed UFC middleweight title

Israel Adesanya’s walkout versus Jared Cannonier will go down as one of the best UFC entrances of all-time.

Israel Adesanya of Nigeria walks to the Octagon in the UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 276 event

Israel Adesanya of Nigeria walks to the Octagon in the UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


The Undertaker vibes on the way to the Octagon were unfortunately the biggest highlight from Adesanya’s win however, as Adesanya cruise-controlled his way to a unanimous decision win over Jared Cannonier.

It was Adesanya’s fifth official middleweight title defense (his win over Whittaker at UFC 243 was a unification bout) and set the stage for a fight with kickboxing rival Alex Pereira at UFC 281.

Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway for the undisputed UFC featherweight title

Alexander Volkanovski put his rivalry with Max Holloway to bed with an absolute masterclass at UFC 276.

“The Great” was just that for 25 minutes as he peppered Holloway and shut down the former champion’s striking attacks. After the fight, Volkanovski called for a superfight with whatever lightweight would win the belt at UFC 280.

Alexander Volkanovski of Australia kicks Max Holloway during the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

Alexander Volkanovski of Australia kicks Max Holloway during the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)


The performance proved without a doubt that Volkanovski is not only the best featherweight on the planet right now, but one of the best ever.

UFC 277
July 30, 2022

Amanda Nunes vs Julianna Peña for the undisputed UFC bantamweight title

For Amanda Nunes, revenge was best served over 25 minutes.

Amanda Nunes of Brazil reacts after defeating Julianna Pena in the UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 277 event

Amanda Nunes of Brazil reacts after defeating Julianna Pena in the UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 277 event at American Airlines Center on July 30, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


“The Lioness” defeated Julianna Peña in dominant fashion to recapture her bantamweight title after Peña’s stunning upset at UFC 269. Nunes overwhelmed Peña on the feet and on the canvas in the win, making it very clear who the best bantamweight was.

Brandon Moreno vs Kai Kara-France for the interim UFC flyweight title

An injury to Deivesion Figueiredo forced the UFC to book an interim flyweight title between Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France.

Brandon Moreno of Mexico lands a kick to the body of Kai Kara-France of New Zealand in the interim UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 277 event at American Airlines Center on July 30, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Brandon Moreno of Mexico lands a kick to the body of Kai Kara-France of New Zealand in the interim UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 277 event at American Airlines Center on July 30, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


Both flyweights came out guns blazing, but it was the former champion who landed a body kick that put KKF out of the fight. Moreno’s performance secured a shot at Figueiredo, and just like that, a fourth fight for the title was bound to happen.

UFC 278
August 20, 2022

Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman for the undisputed UFC welterweight title

Somehow someway, Leon Edwards pulled off the biggest upset of 2022.

Leon Edwards of Jamaica lands a head kick to Kamaru Usman of Nigeria in the UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 278 event at Vivint Arena on August 20, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Leon Edwards of Jamaica lands a head kick to Kamaru Usman of Nigeria in the UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 278 event at Vivint Arena on August 20, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


“Rocky” landed a last minute headkick KO on pound-for-pound king Kamaru Usman to become the undisputed welterweight champion. It was incredible really, the type of thing that will end up a movie someday.

Edwards hadn’t lost since his last fight with Usman and had been anxiously waiting for a title shot for years. And for him to be losing in his rematch with Usman and pull off a miraculous knockout like that was truly magnificent.

UFC 280
October 22, 2022

Islam Makhachev vs Charles Oliveira for the undisputed UFC lightweight title

Islam Makhachev could not be denied any longer.

Islam Makhachev of Russia celebrates after his victory over Charles Oliveira of Brazil in their UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Islam Makhachev of Russia celebrates after his victory over Charles Oliveira of Brazil in their UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


The dominant lightweight followed in the footsteps of close friend and now coach Khabib Nurmagomedov on the way to winning the UFC lightweight title at UFC 280. Makhachev was in control of former champion Charles Oliveira from start to finish, defeating “Do Bronx” with a submission in the second round.

Makhachev jumped up the pound-for-pound rankings and quickly agreed to face current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in a super fight at UFC 284.

Aljamain Sterling vs TJ Dillashaw for the undisputed UFC bantamweight title

Aljamain Sterling proved that he’s the top dog at bantamweight by dispatching of TJ Dillashaw in emphatic fashion. “Funk Master” was all-over Dillashaw and made it clear that he was going to implement his trademark ground game. He pinned Dillashaw to the canvas and earned the ground-and-pound finish.

Aljamain Sterling reacts after his victory over TJ Dillashaw in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Aljamain Sterling reacts after his victory over TJ Dillashaw in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


The win put Sterling in a great spot for 2023, with nothing but interesting fights ahead of him.

UFC 281
November 12, 2022

Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya for the undisputed UFC middleweight title

From kickboxing to the Octagon, the rivalry between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira was one of MMA’s most fascinating storylines.

Pereira worked his way up the rankings with wins over Andreas Michailidis, Bruno Silva, and Sean Strickland, and secured a shot at Adesanya. The two middleweights headlined the UFC’s biggest event of the year at Madison Square Garden and lived up to the hype.

Alex Pereira of Brazil punches Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in the UFC middleweight championship bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Alex Pereira of Brazil punches Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in the UFC middleweight championship bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Adesanya was brilliant for most of the fight, controlling the distance and utilizing his speed to outstrike Pereira. But the challenger turned it on in the championship rounds, slowly gaining ground on Adesanya until he was able to stop him in the final round.

It was an epic comeback and showed that Pereira is not only the real deal, but he has the heart of a champion.

Zhang Weili vs Carla Esparza for the undisputed UFC strawweight title

Zhang Weili wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip through her fingers.

Zhang Weili of China secures a rear choke submission against Carla Esparza in the UFC strawweight championship bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Zhang Weili of China secures a rear choke submission against Carla Esparza in the UFC strawweight championship bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


The former champ basically pitched a shutout versus Carla Esparza, beating her in all phases on the way to an epic finish that saw her reclaim the strawweight title.

UFC 282
December 10, 2022

Jan Błachowicz vs Magomed Ankalaev for the undisputed UFC light heavyweight title

Possibly the most shocking result of all 2022 title fights was the UFC light heavyweight bout at UFC 282.

It all started when Jiri Prochazka vacated his title after suffering a gnarly shoulder injury. Then former champion Glover Teixeira decided to pass on facing  Magomed Ankalaev.

Magomed Ankalaev of Russia punches Jan Blachowicz of Poland in their UFC light heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 282 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

Magomed Ankalaev of Russia punches Jan Blachowicz of Poland in their UFC light heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 282 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)


That left the UFC with a bout between Jan Błachowicz and Ankalaev.

Unfortunately, that fight ended in a draw, after Błachowicz nearly ended the fight by TKO due to leg kicks and Ankalaev shut Błachowicz out in the final two rounds.

That left the UFC with no light heavyweight champion and prompted UFC President Dana White to book Teixeira vs Jamahal Hill at UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro.