The final UFC event of 2021 and the last one before the UFC fights and staff alike enjoy the holidays, Derrick "The Black Beast" Lewis (26-8 MMA, 17-6 UFC) solidified himself as the UFC's knockout king with KO number 13 against Philadelphia's own Chris Daukaus (12-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC). The fight started slow with Daukaus fighting in and out of range while Lewis makes reads and once he let his hands go, he hurt him with a flurry of right hands until one hit right on the button and Daukaus fell against the side of the octagon unconscious and the fight was called at 1:24 left in the very first round. The co-main event saw the nicest person in the entire world of MMA Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson (16-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) squared off against the rising welterweight Belal "Remember The Name" Muhammad (20-3 MMA,11-3 UFC). With the flaw of lack of takedown defense shown in his last outing against Gilbert Burns, Belal had a game plan and a path to victory whether if it was the most exciting or not but he out wrestled Wonderboy for a unanimous decision (30-27x3) win and now most likely a top 5 opponent and closer to a title shot than he has ever been before. As the card wrapped up, all but 3 fights had ended via finish (Jourdain VS. Ewell, Lemos VS. Hill and the aforementioned Thompson VS. Muhammad all ended via decision) and 6 KO/TKO's and 3 submissions so a very healthy night for violence during the festive season. With a 3 week hiatus until the next UFC event, it gives time for this card to age and book meaningful matchups going forward and possibly into title contention.
"Killer" Cub Swanson VS. Andre "Touchy" Fili
After damaging "The Damage" Darren Elkins (26-10 MMA, 16-9 UFC) enough to earn a 1st round TKO victory and back in the win column to end 2021, Cub stated that he is thinking about a future move down to 135 for a chance at the UFC bantamweight championship currently held by Aljamian Sterling. However if he happens to stay up at featherweight, a matchup with Team Alpha Male product and long time UFC veteran Andre "Touchy" FIli would be the makings of a fight of the year candidate. Fili is coming off a tough no contest to Daniel Pineda due to an accidental eye poke but looked outstanding before the eventually stoppage, showcasing the well rounded-ness of his MMA game with takedowns and tosses as well as hurting him on the feet and multiple occasions. With now finding his groove and Cub being a tough fight for anyone at 145, this fight has intentions for a possibly top 15 ranking in the division led by the champion Alexander Volkanovski.
Mateusz "Gamer" Gamrot VS. Rafael Dos Anjos
With a rib injury to #12 ranked Diego Ferreia ended the fight via 2nd round TKO welcomed former KSW lightweight champion Mateusz "Gamer" Gamrot (20-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) into the UFC lightweight rankings. With his only blemish being his debut against fellow touted prospect Guram Kutateladze and rattled off 3 straight stoppage wins against Scott Holzman, Jeremy Stephens and the aforementioned Ferreria, the now American Top Team product is poised for bigger things inside the UFC octagon and a matchup against a former champion and the #6 lightweight in the world would be fitting and a huge next step. Rafael Dos Anjos has been plagued with injuries leading to 3 fight cancellations with Dagestani standout Islam Makhachev, coming off a unanimous decision win against Paul Felder back in November of 2020, Dos Anjos is looking to climb back up the rankings for another shot at the title that was once his. His wrestling base has matched his solid striking but at age 37, he is not getting any younger and a win over a standout rising prospect in Gamrot puts his name back into the hat of elite lightweights but with a win over RDA, Gamrot solidifies himself as a fighter with true title intentions.
Amanda Lemos VS. Winner of Amanda Ribas/Michelle Waterson
A powerhouse at the strawweight division is hard to find but a powerhouse that has the cardio for a hard 15 minute brawl with the most game fighter in the entire division is a lightning in a bottle fighter. Amanda Lemos (11-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) had been on a knockout streak before running into the durable Angela Hill (13-11 MMA, 8-11 UFC). The fight was a drag out brawl with Lemos landing the more powerful shots while Hill threw more volume and clinched her up against the fence. The split decision win (30-27, 28-29, 29-28) for Lemos was controversial with many media outlets as well as the boss Dana White expressing the fact that he believed that Angela Hill won the fight. Without dwelling on the outcome, Lemos is ready for the big show after rattling off 5 straight wins with 3 finishes after losing her debut back in 2017. To raise her stock and earn a higher ranking, a matchup with the elite grappler in Amanda Ribas or the elite kickboxer Michelle Waterson would really answer the questions about the legitimacy of her ground game and her striking.
Belal "Remember The Name" Muhammad VS. Vincente "The Silent Assassin" Luque
A rematch from a fight in 2016 where Luque won by first round KO, both of their careers has gone down different paths but somehow should meet again but this time with title implications. After his unanimous decision victory and his 6th win in 7 fights, Belal called out for either the champion Kamaru Usman and a rematch with Leon Edwards. With Leon most likely next in line for the shot at Usman, Belal needs another fight before he can stake his claim for gold. In his way is the Brazilian finisher Vincente Luque (21-7 MMA, 14-3 UFC) who has quietly rattled off 4 straight stoppage wins after his unanimous decision loss to Stephen Thompson back in Madison Square Garden back in 2019. Not only has he been active but he has an amazing resume to show for it with 13 stoppages in his UFC tenure and as close to a title shot as you can get. With the heavy striking style that Luque brings and the heavy wrestling base that Muhammad brings create a bare to the bone striking versus grappler matchup. But the fight back in 2016 isn't anywhere close to the fight that could happen 8 years later and has so much more meaning.
Derrick "The Black Beast" Lewis VS. Stipe Miocic
Everyone's favorite and the funniest heavyweight to ever grace the UFC Derrick Lewis set himself apart from the others with setting the record for most knockouts inside the UFC with a 1st Round KO over Chris Daukaus on Saturday. Coming off of a failed interim title shot against Frenchman Cyril Gane back in August, a much needed win was earned curtesy of his massive right hand and his quest for a 3rd UFC title shot is closer with him back in the win column turning down a surging prospect in Daukaus. Arguably known as the best UFC heavyweight of all time Stipe Moicic has been on the shelf since his KO loss back in March to now current champion Franic Ngannou. Stipe's resume is unmatched with holding the heavyweight strap twice and a total of 4 title defenses and beat names like Junior Dos Santos, Alistair Overeem and Daniel Cormier twice. Stipe is not getting the instant rematch he was calling for due to the belts being unified, so he is one fight away from another chance and same with Lewis so this is the fight to make for the next challenger for the UFC heavyweight championship.