If you were looking for slick submissions and brutal knockouts last month, you weren’t disappointed. Let’s take a look back at some of the best MMA finishes of May 2022 from the UFC, Bellator and the PFL.
7. Yoel Romero def. Alex Polizzi — Bellator 280
45-year-old Yoel Romero wound back the clock at Bellator 280 to snatch his first win in over four years. And it came right at the buzzer.
The “Soldier of God” had outclassed Alex Polizzi for most of the fight, having dropped him on four occasions. Then, with just one second on the clock, Romero gave the Parisian crowd what they’d come to see. Surging forward with fists pumping, the Cuban knocked Polizzi to the canvas before finishing the job with a huge right to the temple.
A far cry from Romero’s flying-knee KO’s of old, but still a worthy mention among the best MMA finishes of May 2022.
6. Brandon Royval def. Matthew Schnell — UFC 274
Flyweights Brandon Royval and Matthew Schnell were involved in a quick yet wild encounter at UFC 274. It all seemed to be going Schnell’s way when he dropped Royval and quickly pounced into top position. But that’s when Royval—a man with nine submission wins to his name—got to work.
Schnell soon found himself hopelessly ensnared in Royval’s jiu-jitsu and fending off multiple submission attempts. When those didn’t work, Royval separated and quickly reengaged to lock in a guillotine choke that had Schnell tapping in seconds.
5. Anthony Pettis def. Myles Price — PFL 3
It took him three attempts, but Anthony Pettis finally got his first PFL win in May—and a quick one at that. The 35-year-old started strong against Myles Price, sending him to the canvas with a right uppercut. On top and in control, “Showtime” then got to work.
Price did well to stifle any effective ground and pound and eventually scrambled out from underneath Pettis, then shortly after assumed top position. But “Showtime” used this to his advantage. Rolling Price into a triangle choke, Pettis then transitioned back into top position and squeezed Price into submission with less than a minute left of round one.
4. Andre Fialho def. Cameron VanCamp — UFC 274
Andre Fialho could be the dark horse of the UFC welterweight division, and at UFC 274 he showed why. Fialho took a very measured approach early in his fight with VanCamp, stalking the American down and landing tentative strikes. But when VanCamp clipped Fialho, the Portuguese decided to throw caution to the wind.
His hands opened up and now free flowing, Fialho traded with VanCamp before holding back slightly and allowing the American to take the initiative. And when he did, Fialho landed a left counter that sent VanCamp collapsing to the canvas in stages.
3. Chidi Njokuani def. Dusko Todorovic — UFC Vegas 55
Coming off a 16-second KO win on his UFC debut just three months prior, you couldn’t blame Chidi Njokuani for expecting to make quick work of Dusko Todorovic. But it’s fair to say that for most of this fight, things didn’t go to plan for the former Bellator and Contender Series veteran.
After failing to lock in a guillotine choke early on, a frustrating night of clinching against the fence and fending off single legs seemed destined for Njokuani. That was until “Chidi Bang Bang,” out of nowhere and with just 12 seconds left in the round, produced an elbow animated by such velocity that any follow up strikes were rendered glaringly unnecessary.
2. Charlies Oliveira def. Justin Gaethje — UFC 273
Somehow, Charles Oliveira turned one of the most disastrous weeks of his career into a triumph.
It took just over three minutes for the Brazilian to submit Justin Gaethje in their championship bout at UFC 273. And the manner in which he did it all but erased the fact that just a day earlier he’d become the first UFC champ stripped of their title for missing weight.
It was a frenetic, back-and-forth fight while it lasted. Oliveira rocked Gaethje early before the American returned the favor, sending Oliveira sprawling to the canvas. But soon after, the Brazilian took Gaethje’s back, landed some wicked elbows, attempted a triangle choke, and when that didn’t work, sunk in a rear-naked choke to get the win.
Olivera is now in rarefied air atop the UFC record books. His 16 submissions, 19 finishes and 18 bonuses earned in the promotion are unmatched by any fighter. And with 11 consecutive wins, he’s quickly closing in on Anderson Silva’s record of 16.
1. Michael Chandler def. Tony Ferguson — UFC 273
Many of us thought the greatest front-kick KO would forever belong to Anderson Silva. That was until UFC 273, where the best MMA finish of May 2022, and possibly the year, took place.
Eyes widened and lower jaws hurtled to earth when Michael Chandler’s foot made contact with Tony Ferguson’s chin—an impact that warped his face into a frighteningly ghoulish mess before it thudded almost in slow motion to the canvas. So nasty was Chandler’s punt that UFC President Dana White deemed it “the most vicious knockout” he’s ever seen.
Chandler isn’t someone who needs much of an excuse to launch himself into a somersault, and this KO was certainly reason enough to do so. The former Bellator lightweight champ repeatedly hurled himself through the air not meters from the seemingly lifeless Ferguson, who remained laid out unconscious on the canvas for several minutes.
We’d seen Ferguson beaten to a pulp before, namely two fights earlier by Justin Gaethje, but this was the first time he’d been knocked out in his career. And it came after a wild first round in which “El Cucuy” showed flashes of his former brilliance, rocking Chandler several times.
But just when we thought Ferguson might be back on track to challenging the best in the lightweight division, 17 seconds into round two, he was handed his fourth-straight loss with what may turn out to be the knockout of the year.
Do you think these are the best MMA finishes of May 2022? Let us know in the comments.