A great fight can make a non-fan a casual watcher and a hardcore fan. Bellator was able to provide many great fights for mixed martial arts fans in 2022.
Great fights are made up of many parts: heart, drama, stakes and technique. Memorable fights are made by the desire to win and the ill-advised urge to endure. Bellator fights tested the limits of human spirit. One fight could be named Fight of the year.
CBS Sports experts have selected the top three Bellator fights for 2022 and an honorable mention. Below is a list.
Winner: Adam Borics vs. Mads Burnell, Bellator 276
The CBS Sports panel was almost unanimous in choosing Borics vs. Burnell as Fight of the year. Borics vs. Burnell fought five rounds, with the chance to win the Bellator featherweight title. Although Borics seemed to dominate the fight, Burnell was relentless in his approach. The final score of 49-46, 50-40, 49-46 for Borics was close. Burnell was relentless in his efforts to push forward, taking in a lot of strikes and throwing accurate boxing combinations at Borics’ head. Borics’ varied Muay Thai striking style and almost endless cardio were the key to his success. Burnell was able to land on Borics but he took in far too many shots.
Both fighters were given no chance. Borics was exemplary in his dedication to the gameplan, while Burnell was determined in a losing effort. Two fighters auditioning to win a championship title are not capable of asking for more.
AJ McKee vs. Spike Carlyle, Bellator 286
McKee’s debut as a lightweight was thrilling. McKee was coming off a loss to Pitbull in the featherweight title, and he had a point. He was technically superior to Carlyle in three rounds, but he accepted Carlyle’s wild brawling style. Once the fight began, Carlyle jumped out of a cannon. He ran across the cage, and he launched himself at McKee with an explosive kick. McKee responded with a jump knee moments later. McKee used to hunt omoplatas and toe holds, as well as rear-naked chokes. He did this while swimming in Carlyle’s blood. The fight was a great success in McKee’s hometown, Long Beach, California. Much to the dismay of his side,
McKee won the unanimous decision with three scores, 29-27 to 30-26 to 30-27 and 30-27 to 30-27. McKee’s offensive skills were good enough to win a division. However, Carlyle’s strength advantage raised interesting questions about McKee’s potential problems at the highest levels in lightweight.
Alex Polizzi vs. Jose Augusto Azevedo Barros, Bellator 276
Bellator 276 was home to not just one but two Fight of the Year nominees. Augusto vs. Polizzi had some of everything: huge slams as well as slicing elbows and staggering punches. There was even a win at the end. In the prelims headliner round, Augusto was beaten by Polizzi who pounded him with ground and pound from the back and mount. Augusto was doomed in the 10-8 round. Amazingly, Augusto rebounded in Round 2, rocking Polizzi early into the middle frame with a flying knee. Polizzi held on to his position and finally settled in the top spot with momentum back in his favour despite the blood pouring from his head.
Round 3 saw both fighters exhausted. Round 3 saw both fighters exhausted. Augusto was able to take down Polizzi early, but Augusto was unable to resist and Polizzi managed to sneak around Augusto’s back and lock in a rear-naked choke. After a thrilling second round, the fight was finished in 49 seconds.