A new year is on the horizon, and that means it’s time for Combat Press to take a look back at the best of MMA in 2020. In the coming days, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
Male Fighter of the Year
The year 2020 was arguably the weirdest year in all of sports, and MMA was no exception. Everything started out seemingly normal, but the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic changed the landscape drastically before the first quarter of the year even came to a close. With few venues being used, no live audiences, and nearly two months of downtime, things did not exactly pan out for most fighters as originally planned at the start of the year. However, a handful of competitors rose to the occasion. Their careers flourished as a result.
UFC light heavyweight Jan Błachowicz entered the year on the heels of back-to-back wins in 2019. In February, he scored a first-round knockout of Corey Anderson. Błachowicz wouldn’t see the cage again until the fall. In the meantime, Jon Jones vacated the belt. This left Błachowicz with an opportunity to become the champion. In late September, the Pollish fighter handed Dominick Reyes a second-round TKO to pick up the vacant title.
Kevin Holland had a great year as well, but it played out a bit differently. His first fight of the year wasn’t until mid-May, when he picked up a first-round TKO of Anthony Hernandez. In the following seven months, he managed to fight four more times while recording knockout wins over Joaquin Buckley and Charlie Ontiveros, a split decision over Darren Stewart, and a record-setting knockout of Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
While Holland and Blachowicz had very impressive years, another man was truly the most prolific male fighter of the year.
Deiveson Figueiredo entered the UFC on an 11-fight winning streak in 2017. He went 4-0 in the UFC before picking up his first loss by decision to Jussier “Formiga” da Silva in 2019. The Brazilian was able to recover with back-to-back wins that year and found himself locking horns with Joseph Benavidez for the vacant UFC flyweight title in February. Not only did Figueiredo knock out Benavidez, but he added a first-round submission in their rematch in July.
In November, Figueiredo scored another first-round submission when he made a title defense against Alex Perez. Then, in one of the quickest title-defense turnarounds in the history of the sport, the champ was back in the cage only three weeks later. He faced Brandon Moreno in one of the best fights of the year. While the fight ended in a majority draw, Figueiredo would have actually won had he not been deducted a point due to a groin strike in the third round.
It ended up being one of the best years for a flyweight champion in UFC history. For that, Figueiredo is the Combat Press selection for the 2020 Male Fighter of the Year.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.