MMA Junkie’s 2020 ‘Fight of the Year’: Weili vs. Jedrzejczyk, the GOAT of women’s fights

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MMA Junkie Staff
·4 min read
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With another action-packed year of MMA in the books, MMA Junkie takes a look at the best knockouts from January to December. Here are the top five and winner of MMA Junkie’s “Fight of the Year” award for 2020.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting on your choice for “Fight of the Year.”

Nominee: Dan Hooker def. Paul Felder at UFC on ESPN+ 26

(Jasmin Frank, USA TODAY Sports)

[autotag]Dan Hooker[/autotag] (20-8 MMA, 10-4 UFC) and [autotag]Paul Felder[/autotag] (17-5 MMA, 9-5 UFC) delivered on their promise to deliver a memorable bout when fighting on a main event stage for the first time, producing the "Fight of the Night" in Auckland. The pair of lightweight contenders went back-and-forth over the course of five rounds, battering each other with every ounce of their fiber. Hooker got the split decision nod in the end, but Felder certainly made a strong case that he was deserving, as well. Both men earned each other's respect, though, and shared a post-fight moment in the hospital.

Nominee: Zhang Weili def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248

Mar 7, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Weili
Zhang (red gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (blue gloves) during UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

[autotag]Zhang Weili[/autotag] (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) and [autotag]Joanna Jedrzejczyk[/autotag] (16-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) put on arguably the greatest title fight in women's MMA history when they went tooth and nail for five rounds to determine who would be the UFC strawweight champion. Weili ultimately emerged victorious by split decision to retain her belt, but not without going through 25 minutes of hell. The Chinese titleholder and Jedrzejczyk combined for the third most significant strikes in a UFC title fight. It came down to the wire, but there could only be one winner and it was Weili.

Nominee: Dustin Poirier def. Dan Hooker at UFC on ESPN 12

Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker

[autotag]Dustin Poirier[/autotag] (26-6 MMA, 18-6 UFC) vs. [autotag]Dan Hooker[/autotag] (20-9 MMA, 10-6 UFC) was a fight circled on the calendar of many fight fans since the moment it became official, and the lightweight contenders manager to not only meet expectations, but possibly surpass them. Poirier, the former interim UFC lightweight champion, and Hooker went after each other for 25 minutes, holding nothing back in the process. Both men were bloodied and hurt from the offense implemented by the other, but ultimately it came down to conditioning. "The Diamond" had more of that, and it got him the unanimous decision win.

Nominee: Michelle Waterson def. Angela Hill at UFC on ESPN+ 35

(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

[autotag]Michelle Waterson[/autotag] (18-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) got a much-needed win when she edged [autotag]Angela Hill[/autotag] (12-9 MMA, 6-9 UFC) on the scorecards in a thrilling strawweight main event. Waterson snapped the only two-fight losing skid of her career. and made it known she’s still a factor at 115 pounds with a split decision victory over Hill in a contest that was largely a kickboxing match and saw each woman show a little bit of everything.

Nominee: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno at UFC 256

(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

[autotag]Deiveson Figueiredo[/autotag] (20-1-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC) achieved history when he registered a second title defense in a 21-day span against [autotag]Brandon Moreno[/autotag] (18-5-2 MMA, 6-2-2 UFC) – but it came with a caveat. Figueiredo kept his flyweight belt, but he didn't get the win. After a tooth-and-nail battle with Moreno for five rounds, it was ruled a majority draw, with a point deduction being the deciding factor in that took away Figueiredo's triumph.

The winner: Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrjezczyk

We're less than a decade removed from the era in which women weren't even allowed to compete in the UFC. In just that span, we've gone from the novelty of the first women's MMA fight, to the peak of Ronda Rousey's stardom, to the female side of the sport becoming just another, important part of the show, with four weight classes in the UFC. There have been plenty of outstanding women's fights in that time, but Weili's split decision win over Jedrzejczyk is the first to break through and win MMA Junkie's "Fight of the Year" honors. And a truly worthy winner it is. Weili vs. Joanna was 25 minutes of next-level competition, a battle in which technique mattered every bit as much as heart. While Zhang got her hand raised, by no means should Jedrzejczyk be considered a loser. That this was the most memorable bout during the final event fans were allowed to attend before the coronavirus only gives what was a tremendous fight all the more historical importance. [opinary poll="what-was-your-fight-of-the-year-for-2020-1kqweH" customer="mmajunkie">