Last year was a tough one for Mixed Martial Arts in every aspect of the world. In the UFC, there were a lot of top fighters going through rough times and absences that lead to the entire quality of the show going down. That had an immediate effect on pay-per-view revenues, online lottery results, and the year seemed like a very long one for everyone involved. However, even during such hard times, there were a couple of fights that took place over the last 12 months that really caught the eye of the public. Since 2018 is already here it’s time to let 2017 go and focus on the future for the bosses of UFC. But before we also move on, let’s check out some of the most enjoyable fights of the last year.

Mark Hunt Defeated by Alistair Overeem

Alistair Overeem has a remarkable career in MMA and managed to gather over 60 fights under his belt. His signature move is the knee hit and over the years he perfected this hit to strike any opponent. That’s exactly what happened against Mark Hunt during UFC 209 back in March 2017. During a clinch next to the fence, the two fighters were struggling to break free but Overeem had a bit different plan. While up close and personal with his opponent, he managed to land a great elbow but what nobody knew in that moment is that the elbow was just part of the set-up for his deadly knee. While trying to duck from another possible elbow, Hunt ducked directly into a knee that hurt him pretty well. Then another one was landed and the match was over soon after.

Paul Delay vs Brennan Ward

If you think about the force involved when a grown person jumps you can easily imagine what happened when Paul Delay started running towards Brennan Ward. After an unsuccessful attempt to get down in a wrestling position, Brennan Ward got hit with a turning elbow that allowed Paul Belay to escape his grasp. The interesting thing about this move is that, even though the elbow wasn’t a direct hit, it had enough force in it to dazzle Ward a bit and as soon as he got some distance between them, Paul knew it’s time to finish the match. He used the distance to get some momentum and then jumped straight at Ward’s face with a superb flying knee. It goes without saying that the elbow – knee combination was the end of the match for Ward that lost the match through knockout.

Francis Ngannou against Alistair Overeem

Every aspect regarding Francis’s fighting style, career, and even story seems out of the ordinary with a touch of superhero action in it. It comes somehow naturally that he takes number one in this top of awesome match finishes that MMA had to offer in 2017. During UFC 218 that took place in December, he faced the tricky Alistair Overeem. But even the tricks of Alistair weren’t enough to guard himself against what is considered to be the world’s hardest punch and only a few minutes into the fight, the fans were able to witness Overeem float to the floor after an excellently landed uppercut that also left him unconscious for a couple of minutes. With such an ending for a big fight like that, Francis was feeling very confident about facing Miocic in the UFC 220 fight for the title, however, Miocic has proven once again that strength and power are nothing if they’re not backed up by some proper fighting techniques. It’s back to the drawing board for Ngannou as he is now totally aware that he needs to work on his wrestling and fighting on the ground if he wants to become a champion in his category.

All things considered, even though it was a rough year for UFC, we were able to witness some very spectacular fights even though there weren’t any stars like McGregor involved. Fans can only hope that 2018 will bring the big stars back in the octagon and they’ll be able to see some awesome knockouts.