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.
January 22, 2022
Francis Ngannou vs Ciryl Gane for the undisputed UFC heavyweight title
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.
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
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.
February 12, 2022
Israel Adesanya vs Robert Whittaker for the undisputed UFC middleweight title
“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.
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.
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.
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.
May 7, 2022
Charles Oliveira vs Justin Gaethje for the undisputed UFC lightweight title*
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.
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
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.
June 12, 2022
Jiří Procházka vs Glover Teixeira for the undisputed UFC light heavyweight title
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
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.
July 2, 2022
Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier for the undisputed UFC middleweight title
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
“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.
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.
July 30, 2022
Amanda Nunes vs Julianna Peña for the undisputed UFC bantamweight title
For Amanda Nunes, revenge was best served over 25 minutes.
“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
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.
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.
“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.
October 22, 2022
Islam Makhachev vs Charles Oliveira for the undisputed UFC lightweight title
Islam Makhachev could not be denied any longer.
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.
The win put Sterling in a great spot for 2023, with nothing but interesting fights ahead of him.
November 12, 2022
Alex Pereira vs Israel Adesanya for the undisputed UFC middleweight title
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.