Looking back at 2017, it was definitely another great year for MMA fans and the various platforms in which the combat sport exists. The likes of the UFC all enjoyed great success, and it was another year in which they gained more fans, more popularity and more time in the media spotlight. We even saw an MMA fighter in Conor McGregor make his way into the boxing ring in order to fight Floyd Mayweather. This move also helped develop more interest in MMA, but which were the standout moments in 2017?
For a start, there were a whole host of great fights over the course of the year. Max Holloway put in a stunning performance against one of the all-time greats Jose Aldo at UFC 212. Holloway beat Aldo with a third round KO/TKO after some ground and pound. At UFC Fight Night 104 Jessica Andrade managed to show her class beating Angela Hill by unanimous decision, while heavy underdog Darren Elkins delivered a superb KO/TKO via head kicks and punches to take down the undefeated Mirsad Bektic. The best fights of the year though saw Sweden’s David Teymur defeat Lando Vannata by decision and Justin Gaethje’s devastating KO/TKO of Michael Johnson at Ultimate Fighter 25.
When it comes to the top fighters of the last 12 months or so, it’s really hard to separate some of those who turned in some great performances. Robert Whittaker, who once looked good fighting at 170lbs, turned himself into a beast at 185lbs. He dispatched both Ronaldo Souza and Yoel Romero, but then suffered an injury. These two wins though proved him to be one of the best fighters of the year. It was also a stunning year for Demetrious Johnson too. The flyweight champion won both his fights in 2017 by submission with the latter against Ray Borg being declared the submission of the year. He also managed to scoop the record for the most consecutive title defenses of all time in the UFC.
The fighter of the year is undoubtedly Max Holloway though. He did a lot of talking prior to taking on all-time great Jose Aldo, and repeatedly casually dismissed him as just another fighter. Holloway unbelievably went on to face Aldo twice and won both times by TKO after a flurry of punches. The first bout saw Holloway head to Aldo’s own backyard of Rio to unify the belts, in what has been named as the fight of the year, before defending his UFC Featherweight title against the Brazilian in December and repeating the feat. A remarkable year for a special fighter.
With 2018 now underway it certainly looks set to be another great 12 months for MMA fans as there is only going to be more great events, fights and fighters. There is no doubt that we will see more action on various media platforms as well as the sports betting interest that ultimately follows. Betting.com’s vast directory of online betting sites will no doubt come in handy, to get the best prices on all upcoming events. Fans will be very interested in seeing how the likes of Robert Whittaker after his return from injury, and fighter of 2017 Max Holloway, will fare over the course of the year; and whether they can once again impress just like they did last year.