If anybody made a press release in 2022 it was Anatoly Malykhin. The Russian was already the interim heavyweight champion when he was given the chance to tackle dominant light-heavyweight champion Reinier de Ridder. Each males went into the battle undefeated, with the scene set for a traditional grappler versus striker contest. De Ridder felt he might take Malykhin down and break him on the bottom, whereas the Russian was assured within the energy of his palms, and skill on the bottom ought to he have ended up on his again. Because it occurred, Malykhin scored one of many yr’s greatest knockouts, and with it the light-heavyweight title. Massive issues await in 2023.
Aliakbari fulfils his potential and retires Vera
It was the battle Amir Aliakbari had wished since arriving in a single, at probability to check himself in opposition to a former world champion in Brandon Vera. Coming into the battle, Iran’s Aliakbari had some momentum having defeated Mauro Cerilli through second-round TKO, whereas Vera could have been previous his greatest however nonetheless had perception a win might set off one other tilt on the title. Because it occurred, Aliakbari would wish lower than 4 minutes to say his dominance and decide up a landmark win – and one which locations him firmly within the heavyweight title image. The proper finish to a terrific yr for the Center East favorite.
Saygid Izagakhmaev delivered on Khabib’s hype
If you find yourself tipped for greatness by none apart from Khabib Nurmagomedov, the burden of expectation can sit closely. Nevertheless for Dagestani light-weight Saygid Izagakhmaev there was no such downside. Three wins from three fights in 2022 since his ONE debut in January have seen Izagakhmaev take the division by storm. A submission, resolution, and TKO, have proven an actual variety to his sport, and one which can possible see him problem for gold in 2023 if this trajectory continues.
Jarred Brooks works his method to strawweight title
Three fights, three wins, and the strawweight title in his possession – 2022 has been fairly good to Jarred Brooks. Wins over Hiroba Minowa and Bokang Masunyane put Brooks on a collision course with champion Joshua Pacio. The construct up was filled with animosity and trash speak, however when it got here to battle evening, Brooks placed on a clinic, profitable a convincing resolution and ending the yr because the strawweight king.
Christian Lee fulfils his dream of being a double champ
After we discuss household dynasties in martial arts, it’s troublesome to look additional than the Lees. Christian’s sister Angela has been queen of the atomweights, however has so far been unable to beat two divisions, having misplaced twice making an attempt to seize strawweight gold. This yr, Christian was in a position to obtain the feat for himself, and his household. In 2022 Christian has had two fights and received titles on each events. First up he regained his light-weight title from Okay Rae Yoon, earlier than turning into a champ champ defeating Kiamrian Abbasov for the welterweight title – regardless of Abbasov coming in over the burden restrict. Is there an opportunity of three in 2023?