2023 MMA Awards: UFC 290 Claims Event Of The Year

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As the curtain falls on the major mixed martial arts promotions for 2023, it’s time to unveil the champions of this year’s MMA News awards.

Since December 18, MMA News has been revealing its selections for various year-end categories. Today, we announce our eighth winner, identifying the standout event among those hosted by UFC, Bellator, PFL, or ONE Championship for the coveted title of Event of the Year.

Voting Panel:

Harvey Leonard, Curtis Calhoun, Kyle Diamond, John Cunningham, Andrew Starc, Ovin Vithanage, Thomas Albano, Tyriece Simon, Ryan Jarrell

Honorable Mentions:

8. Bellator 301: Amosov vs. Jackson

7. UFC 287: Pereira vs. Adesanya 2

6. UFC 295: Procházka vs. Pereira

Now, let’s delve into the five events that garnered the most votes for this prestigious award, culminating in the announcement of the 2023 winner.

5. UFC 291: Poirier vs. Gaethje 2

In July, UFC 291 in Salt Lake City surpassed its predecessor with memorable moments. Justin Gaethje delivered a shocking head kick knockout to avenge his 2018 loss to Dustin Poirier in the ‘BMF’ title headliner. Meanwhile, Alex Pereira’s successful move to light heavyweight added another layer of excitement, setting the stage for a two-division triumph in November. With highlights including Derrick Lewis’s flying knee and Kevin Holland’s swift submission, UFC 291 proved to be a spectacle of unforgettable bouts.

4. UFC 285: Gane vs. Jones

March’s UFC 285 at the T-Mobile Arena provided ample shock and awe. Jon Jones returned after a three-year hiatus, claiming two-division glory with a quick guillotine choke victory over Ciryl Gane. Alexa Grasso stunned the audience with a face crank to upset Valentina Shevchenko for the women’s flyweight title. Beyond the headliners, Geoff Neal and Shavkat Rakhmonov engaged in a thrilling bout, showcasing the event’s depth of entertainment.

3. ONE Fight Night 10: Johnson vs. Moraes 3

Breaking into the top five from non-UFC promotions, ONE Fight Night 10 in Colorado stood out in May. Demetrious Johnson’s trilogy conclusion with Adriano Moraes marked the organization’s on-ground debut in the United States. Sage Northcutt’s 39-second comeback victory and Zebaztian Kadestam’s upset knockout added to the event’s allure, highlighting the global appeal of ONE Championship.

2. UFC Fight Night: Dariush vs. Tsarukyan

Kicking off December in Austin, Texas, UFC Fight Night delivered a stacked card. Arman Tsarukyan’s 64-second victory over Beneil Dariush propelled him into the title conversation, while Jalin Turner’s brutal finish of Bobby Green added to the night’s intensity. Lesser-known names like Cody Brundage and Drakkar Klose stole the show with back-to-back slam knockouts, making this Fight Night a standout in recent memory.

1. UFC 290: Volkanovski vs. Rodríguez

The pinnacle of 2023’s MMA events was UFC 290, held during International Fight Week in July. Featuring two title fights, Alexander Volkanovski’s dominant performance against Yair Rodríguez and the five-round battle between Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja for the flyweight title showcased the best of the sport. Dricus Du Plessis’s monumental upset over Robert Whittaker, Dan Hooker’s resilient victory, and Robbie Lawler’s fairytale ending added to the event’s legendary status, securing its place as the Event of the Year.

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