5 Most Brutal UFC Fights in Recent Memory
Year after year, there are fights that just absolutely blow the roof off of the arena due to how brutal it was.
In this page, we'll go over the most brutal UFC fights in recent memory, what the situation was leading up to the fight, and what was the result.
Table of Contents
1. Rory MacDonald vs Robbie Lawler II
Lawler was the current Welterweight champion and was going to make his first title defense in a rematch vs MacDonald.
Lawler had moved back down to Welterweight (from Middleweight) and had a career resurgence, going 6-1 in his last 7 fights. In their first fight, Lawler was able to win with a split decision, but it was widely seen as a very close and 'unfinished' fight.
MacDonald had received his second loss at 15-1 vs the first time that he had fought Lawler, and had won his last 3 fights to earn his rematch.
In a monstrous 5 round affair, Lawler would be able to break MacDonald in the last round, in a fight that MacDonald was up on the scorecards going into the 5th round.
Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald II was the 2015 fight of the year.— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) January 4, 2017
This Saturday, you will vote for the 2016 MMAHT year end awards pic.twitter.com/3TtsFuWvse
In this lucrative back and forth fight, there were times where MacDonald seemed like he was seconds from finishing Lawler, only to have Lawler survive and fight back.
The most memorable part of this fight will forever be their epic staredown in between rounds. Both bloodied and cut, they stared into each other's souls and neither flinched.
As per ESPN, Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald II was voted the best fight in UFC history.— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) April 12, 2017
Watching this fight was like watching a movie. pic.twitter.com/GtGRFGya3I
Neither fighter would be the same after this fight, as they would both suffer multiple losses, and Lawler in particular would lose 4 consecutive fights shortly after.
'Ruthless' Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald 2, Fight Of The Year 2015. One of the greatest moments in UFC History. pic.twitter.com/fKseowZC2x— J🥊🏴 (@NoTurnUnstonedd) January 31, 2019
2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Zhang Weili
Joanna had been established as one of the greatest female MMA fighters of all time, who had recently hit a rough patch. She had lost to two elite fighters in Rose Namajunas and Valentina Shevchenko.
Weili was surging with an impressive 20-1 record, and had just handily dismantled Jessica Andrade to win the Strawweight title in the first round.
This was a major test for Weili as she would defend her title against one of the greats, who had only lost to other greats.
This back and forth 5 round affair would be an all time classic and an extremely close match, that Weili would edge out via Split decision.
Both fighters would have tremendous moments throughout the fight, primarily in the striking department.
What this fight will be remembered for most however, is the injury that Joanna sustained on her forehead.
Weili would land a punch directly to Joanna's forehead which would create a giant hematoma in the middle of the fight.
Despite this, Joanna would show her toughness and not only continue the fight, but be effective and competitive as well for the remainder of the fight.
Weili would show that she was ready to be a great champion, as she was able to defeat one of the greats in one of the greatest fights of the year.
Also I have no idea who won— Megan Olivi (@MeganOlivi) March 8, 2020
3. Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje
Tony Ferguson had long gone through one of the most impressive streaks in UFC history. Only losing once in the last 8 years, while winning 13 times against absolute killers including Edson Barboza, Kevin Lee and Rafael Dos Anjos.
One of the sickest performances I have ever seen. #ufc249— Sean O'Malley (@SugaSeanMMA) May 10, 2020
Some unlucky timing had prevented Ferguson from being able to fight for the undisputed Lightweight belt. However this fight would be for the Interim belt, and whoever won would unify it the next fight.
Justin Gaethje was widely known as one of the most exciting fighters, and had fought back from his first 2 losses in his career.
He was able to win 3 straight fights via knockout or TKO to receive a shot for the Interim title vs Ferguson.
Both of these fighters were notorious for being must-see fighters, so naturally this fight had tons of excitement leading up to it.
I Told Everyone this was going to happen a month ago, they called me a hater— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) May 10, 2020
Gaethje would stun the world by absolutely dominating Tony Ferguson for 5 rounds, prior to the referee waving it off in the 5th round.
In fact, other than a Ferguson uppercut, it was Gaethje that had all of the biggest moments in the fight.
Rather than the traditional 'Reckless Gaethje' that fans were accustomed to seeing, Gaethje showcased a 'Composed' and 'Calculated' fighter, who picked his shots and was extremely accurate, while avoiding being hit.
This is the most patient and measured I’ve seen Gaethje! #UFC249— Alan Jouban (@AlanJouban) May 10, 2020
With this new fighting style that Gaethje imposed, Ferguson was never able to get anything going and absorbed an enormous amount of strikes for 5 rounds.
Gaethje was able to land 143/197 strikes with a 72% accuracy which is unheard of, especially in a championship fight.
The ultra tough Ferguson was able to endure all of these strikes, until suddenly his body could no longer do it, and the referee waived the fight off.
4. Calvin Kattar vs Max Holloway
Holloway had run through the Featherweight division as the Featherweight champion against everyone not named Alex Volkanovski. His list included beating Jose Aldo, Anthony Pettis, Frankie Edgar, Brian Ortega and Charles Oliveira.
Kattar on the other hand was surging, as he had won the last 4 out of his last 5 fights, including a brutal knockout of ultra-tough Jeremy Stephens.
This was seen as a major test for Kattar, who was known to have some of the best boxing in the UFC.
Holloway would go on to beat Kattar like a drum, and at one point even yelling that he was actually the best boxer in the UFC during the fight.
Further evidence, @BlessedMMA is the best featherweight to ever do it.— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) January 16, 2021
Holloway actually attempted 746 strikes and broke a UFC record as he landed 445 strikes.
Although Holloway would have massive success, and remind everyone that he was here to stay, there's no doubt that Kattar's toughness would shine brightly.
You can’t fake it in this sport! You either have it in you or you don’t! @CalvinKattar is as tough as they come keep your head held high! Congrats @BlessedMMA you looked phenomenal on a very tough hungry opponent. @ABCNetwork @ufc— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) January 16, 2021
Holloway admitted that he threw everything including the kitchen sink at Kattar, and despite being on wobbly legs at times, Kattar would stand strong and even throw strikes back.
This fight was so brutal for both parties that it has been 8 months since their fight, and neither fighter has yet to take on another fight.
That performance was absolutely incredible. Congrats @BlessedMMA !!— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) January 16, 2021
5. Dan Hooker vs Dustin Poirier
This 5 round barn-burner ended up being the fight of the night, and a fight of the year contender.
Ironically, this fight took place during the COVID-19 pandemic which means that there were barely any people in attendance. If there was a full crowd, there is a high likelihood that nobody would be sitting down by the end of the fight.
Dustin Poirier had just lost his Lightweight championship unification bout to Khabib Nurmagomedov, and was looking to rebound against Dan Hooker.
FOTY WITHOUT A DOUBT!! Wowwww 👏👏👏 They both better be getting bonuses after that performance!!— Megan Anderson (@MeganA_mma) June 28, 2020
Great W for Dustin but man did Dan show how much heart he has!! Will not back down #UFCVegas4
Dan Hooker had just won 3 fights in a row, was known as an elite striker who always brings the fight, which had fans giddy about the matchup.
This fight would go on for 25 minutes and Dustin Poirier would win a unanimous decision.
While this sounds nice and easy, there were times where Poirier was very badly hurt and it seemed like it was only a matter of time until the fight could end. Luckily for him, one of those times the round would end, and he would have time to recover.
As the fight went on, Poirer would find his rhythm and dish shots back out to Hooker. The two exchanged an enormous amount of heavy strikes back and forth, and Poirier turned up the heat in the later rounds.
While most fighters would have given up due to the pressure along with the barrage of strikes that Poirier was dishing out, Hooker held strong and was able to finish the fight.
After the fight, both fighters can be seen in agonizing pain as they had endured countless damage, along with leaving everything that they had inside of the octagon.
Just take a look at the below video of what they looked like post-fight.
Great🥇Fight, Well Done Gentlemen #ufcvegas4 ⚔️🕶 -CSO- 🇺🇸🏆🇲🇽— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) June 28, 2020