Fight Facts: UFC 2020, a Year in Review - A Year in Review

By: Jay Pettry
Dec 27, 2020

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For some, 2020 was a year to forget; for others, a year to remember. No matter how you slice it, the Ultimate Fighting Championship made it to the final bell with 41 events packed into a relatively small number of different arenas. With the UFC Apex and “Fight Island” as the two main staging grounds of the last several months, the promotion still brought about meaningful fight cards with plenty of action to spread around. In this Fight Facts review, join us as we chronicle the wild story of the UFC over the past 12 months, including ferocious knockouts, unbelievable upsets, dominant champions and a plethora of entertaining walkout music.

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Knockouts: 51
Technical Knockouts: 87
Submissions: 83
Decisions: 221
Draws: 5
No Contests: 7

A Year That Will Live in Infamy

Skinny Cards, No Problem: The UFC put on 456 fights in the calendar year, a sharp drop in the previous year which saw a record 516 take place. Due to the schedule and the coronavirus pandemic raging, 2020 featured the fewest UFC bouts since 2013.

One Less, Just Like the Rest: One fewer than last year, 41 UFC events went down this year. Even with this modest reduction, it still tied the record for the third-most events in a single year for the company.

Same Wallpaper, Same Ceiling Fan: From July 11 to Dec. 19, 24 consecutive weekends of fight cards took place. This doubles the record of the longest weekly stretch of events, set in 2019 for a total of 12 straight weekend UFC shows.

The New Home: Unlike most past years where the organization spans the globe, the UFC staged events in only 10 different venues. The UFC Apex in Las Vegas played host to 21 cards, including a record eight straight shows in a single venue on two separate occasions.

Welcome to ‘It’s a Fantasy’ Island: The most noteworthy location for an event was at the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Although UFC President Dana White hailed it as a new, groundbreaking destination, the promotion had previously traveled to Yas Island to host UFC 112 in 2010, UFC Fight Night 39 in 2014 and UFC 242 in 2019.

A Grand Tour: Before 2020, the last time that three events in a row happened in the same building came in 2004, when the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas held UFCs 46, 47 and 48. The VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena held three shows in May, the UFC Apex had five after that, followed by four at the Flash Forum. From there, the UFC returned to the Apex for eight cards, back to the Flash Forum for five more, while ending the year with eight straight at the Apex.

Isolationists: The only non-US nations that saw live UFC cards this year were New Zealand, Brazil and the UAE. This is a far cry from most past years for the organization.

Roganomics: Commentator Joe Rogan surpassed former colleague Mike Goldberg for the second-most UFC cards covered throughout his career. Including his post-fight appearances in his early tenure and his single play-by-play call at UFC 40, he has been part of 269 UFC shows to Goldberg’s 267. Bruce Buffer stands alone with the most, announcing 473 UFC events through its history (86.6 percent).

Hollandary: One fighter made five appearances inside the Octagon in 2020: Kevin Holland. The 2020 “Breakout Fighter of the Year” winner Holland won all five bouts, culminating in a brutal knockout of Ronaldo Souza in December.

12 Angry Fighters: Double the number from the previous year, 12 fighters set foot in the cage four times throughout 2020. Giga Chikadze and Marcin Tybura were the only two to win all four, although Deiveson Figueiredo won three and fought to a draw.

Hannah Slipped on a Banana: One lone fighter competed four times in 2020 without recording a single victory: Hannah Cifers, and all four defeats came by stoppage. Cifers is slated to return to the Octagon in February against Emily Whitmire.

Maybe 2021 Will Be Better: Throughout the year, five fighters fought on three separate occasions and never got their hand raised: Dequan Townsend, Donald Cerrone, Junior dos Santos, Mara Romero Borella and Randa Markos. Of note, Cerrone fought to a draw that was overturned to a no contest when his opponent failed a post-fight drug test.

Much Sister-Kissing: 2020 tied 2019 and 2017 for the second-most draws to take place in a calendar year with five. 2016 (seven) saw the most.

You’re Grounded, Mister: This year is the third in company history to see multiple bouts end by disqualification, joining 2012 and 2015. Both Diego Sanchez and Brok Weaver picked up DQ wins due to illegal knees from Michel Pereira and Rodrigo Vargas, respectively.

Five for Marijuana: Of all the no contests throughout the year – seven, two shy of the record set in 2013 – all seven came as the result of failed post-fight drug tests. Three of those seven victories that lost their wins earned post-fight bonuses, only to see them rescinded.

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