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Unknown MMA’s Best of 2020

Cover photos courtesy of Israel Adesanya and Valentina Shevchenko via Instagram

2020 has come and gone, while at times it seems to be trudging along, other times seem it has flown by. Either way, the year gave us some interesting MMA events. Unknown MMA’s Staff has voted for our favorite moments and fighters of this year. Below is our 2020 best of list! We look forward to sharing more moments and stories with you next year. We appreciate your continued support, Happy New Year, stay safe! –Amanda Sanchez (Chica)

Male Fighter of the Year: Israel Adesanya


  1. Israel Adesanya (Chica, Jazz, Beto, Dimas) 

  2. Jan Blachowicz

  3. Khamzat Chimaev

  4. Deiveson Figueiredo (Castro, Wade) 

  5. Kevin Holland

Female Fighter of the Year: Valentina Shevchenko


  1. Cris Cyborg

  2. Amanda Nunes

  3. Valentina Shevchenko (Castro, Chica, Jazz, Wade) 

  4. Julianna Velasquez

  5. Zhang Weili (Beto, Dimas)

Male Breakthrough Fighter of the Year: Kevin Holland


  1. Joaquin Buckley (Jazz)

  2. Gilbert Burns

  3. Khamzat Chimaev

  4. Kevin Holland (Castro, Chica, Beto, Wade, Dimas)

  5. Marvin Vettori

Female Breakthrough Fighter of the Year: Angela Hill


  1. Angela Hill (Chica, Jazz, Wade)

  2. Jennifer Maia

  3. Lauren Murphy (Beto)

  4. Julianna Velasquez 

  5. Yan Xiaonan (Castro, Dimas) 

Comeback Fighter of the Year: Robert Whitaker


  1. Cody Garbrandt

  2. Alistair Overeem

  3. Dustin Poirier

  4. Glover Teixeira (Castro, Wade) 

  5. Robert Whittaker (Chica, Jazz, Beto, Dimas)

Fight of the Year: Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC 248)


  1. Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC 248) (Castro, Chica, Beto, Wade)

  2. Josh Emmett vs. Shane Burgos (UFC Vegas 3)

  3. Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker (UFC Vegas 4)

  4. Jack Hermansson vs. Marvin Vettori (UFC Vegas 16)

  5. Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno (UFC 256) (Jazz, Dimas)

Knockout of the Year: Joaquin Buckley, vs. Impa Kasanganay (UFC Fight Island 5)


  1. Francis Ngannou, vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (UFC 249)

  2. Cody Garbrandt, vs. Raphael Assuncao (UFC 250)

  3. Joaquin Buckley, vs. Impa Kasanganay (UFC Fight Island 5) (Chica, Jazz, Beto, Wade, Dimas)

  4. Khaos Williams, vs. Abdul Razak Alhassan (UFC Vegas 14)

  5. Kevin Holland, vs. Jacare Souza (UFC 256) (Castro)

Submission of the Year: AJ McKee, vs. Darrion Caldwell (Bellator 253)


  1. Ariane Lipski, vs. Luana Carolina (UFC Fight Island 2)

  2. Jack Hermansson, vs. Kelvin Gastelum (UFC Fight Island 2)

  3. AJ McKee, vs. Darrion Caldwell (Bellator 253) (Chica, Beto, Wade, Dimas)

  4. Deiveson Figueiredo, vs. Alex Perez (UFC 255) (Castro, Jazz) 

  5. Jimmy Flick, vs. Cody Durden (UFC Vegas 17)

Upset of the Year: Roxanne Modaferri, vs. Maycee Barber (UFC 246)


  1. Roxanne Modaferri, vs. Maycee Barber (UFC 246) (Beto, Chica, Jazz, Wade, Dimas)  

  2. Justin Gaethje, vs. Tony Ferguson (UFC 249)

  3. Shana Dobson, vs. Mariya Agapova (UFC Vegas 7)

  4. Marlon Vera, vs. Sean O’Malley (UFC 252) (Castro)

  5. Vadim Nemkov, vs. Ryan Bader (Bellator 244)

Event of the Year: UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal


  1. UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje

  2. UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal (Castro, Beto, Dimas)

  3. UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa

  4. UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje (Chica, Jazz)

  5. UFC 256: Figueiredo vs. Moreno (Wade)

Team of the Year: Fortis MMA (Dallas, TX)


  1. City Kickboxing (Auckland) 

  2. Elevation Fight Team (Denver) (Beto)

  3. Factory X (Kansas City)

  4. Fortis MMA (Dallas) (Castro, Chica, Jazz, Wade, Dimas)

  5. New England Cartel (Boston)

Coach of the Year: Eugene Bareman, City Kickboxing


  1. Eugene Bareman, City Kickboxing (Beto, Wade, Dimas)

  2. Mike Brown, American Top Team

  3. Marc Montoya, Factory X (Chica)

  4. Sayif Saud, Fortis MMA

  5. Trevor Wittman (Castro, Jazz)

Analyst of the Year: Paul Felder


  1. Michael Bisping (Beto) 

  2. Paul Felder (Castro, Chica,Jazz, Wade, Dimas)

  3. Dan Hardy

  4. John McCarthy

  5. Josh Thomson

Personality of the Year: Laura Sanko


  1. Jon Anik 

  2. Ariel Helwani

  3. Laura Sanko (Chica, Jazz, Beto, Wade, Dimas)

  4. Luke Thomas

  5. Jimmy Smith (Castro)

Referee of the Year: Jason Herzog


  1. Lukasz Bosacki

  2. Marc Goddard

  3. Jason Herzog (Castro, Chica, Jazz, Beto, Wade, Dimas)

  4. Dan Miragliotta

  5. Mark Smith

Looking forward to a new year of fights, bring it on 2021! ■

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