Over the next few days, Bloody Elbow is going to ask for your opinion on some of the best things that have happened in the MMA world over the course of 2020. There will be a total of eight different categories you’ll be asked to vote on. For the sake of simplicity we’re going to stick with high-level and relevant MMA stuff in these posts. While I’m sure there was a ludicrous knockout in an unscheduled MMA event at The Lumberyard strip club in Des Moines, or an insane pancreas lock submission on an obscure ZST! card in Japan, let’s just stick to stuff a lot of us have seen, okay? (If that spiel looked familiar, it’s because I’ve used the same one for ten years in a row. Originality? What originality? Also, is ZST! even a thing any more?)
It’s pretty simple. I’ll post 5-10 options in a category, you vote for what you think was the best. If you think I left something really important off my list, post it in the comments and we can add it to the poll if it’s deemed worthy. I can almost guarantee you won’t like all my suggestions, but narrowing down these lists is tough.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get onto the third poll – the best newcomer of 2020. The rule for this is simple – a fighter has to enter a major organization for the first time in 2020 and do well. That’s it.
Ilia Topuria – It could be argued that Youssef Zalal should be on this list. He did have three wins in the Octagon this year. But it was Topuria that put a stop to that in his own debut, ending Zalal’s streak with a strong decision victory. Couple that with a subsequent knockout win over Damon Jackson, and you have a guy that made the list despite not debuting in the UFC until October.
Khaos Williams – Khaos made his debut on short notice against Alex Morono, and KO’d him in 27 seconds. Next he took on Abdul Razak Hassan, and knocked him out in spectacular fashion in 30 seconds. He did drop a decision to Michel Pereira in late December, but it didn’t take any shine off of his other accomplishments in 2020.
Khamzat Chimaev – I think you know this name by now. Three UFC bouts (two at middleweight, one at welterweight). Three wins. All stoppages. Three performance bonuses. Already in the rankings. Was set up for a main event bout with Leon Edwards till COVID derailed it. It’s hard to remember a better debut year in the UFC.
Joaquin Buckley – His UFC debut didn’t go according to plan, getting stopped by Kevin Holland. But wow, did he ever make up for it. A spinning back kick KO of Impa Kasanganay qualifies as one of the best knockouts of all-time in MMA. He followed that up with an extremely impressive knockout of Jordan Wright. We’ll see if he can keep it up on January 16th against Alessio Di Chirico.
Brandon Royval – Raw Dawg made a huge impression with his first two fights, looking like a human tornado while submitting Tim Elliott and Kai Kara France. This was so impressive that it earned him a title eliminator matchup with Brandon Moreno. Unfortunately he got hurt and finished, but he’ll definitely be back and is a much-needed infusion into the flyweight division.
Who was the MMA Newcomer of the Year in 2020
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