2021 has been an electric year for the UFC, and May has been no different. From crazy and unpredictable knockouts and submissions to slugfests, the MMA community has witnessed history unfold in front of their eyes this month. Let’s take a look at the top 5 UFC performers in May.
UFC 262 was the biggest moment of Charles Oliveira’s career, and he delivered a superbly gritty performance against Michael Chandler, TKO’ing him in the second round to win the vacant lightweight title.
Oliveira was cracked multiple times in the first round and was in deep trouble late in the first round, but he survived till the buzzer. In the second round, the Brazilian wasted no time, as he caught an overzealous Chandler with a check left hook which sent him rolling backward. A few seconds later, Oliveira was the new champion.
‘Do Bronx’s’ win was reminiscent of his career. He was bruised and battered several times, but came back to prove his doubters wrong. Considering the adversity he had to go through before turning things around, Oliveira is number 1 on the top 5 UFC performers’ list in May.
OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!
— UFC (@ufc) May 16, 2021
Carla Esparza was the underdog coming into her fight against Yan Xioanan at UFC Vegas 27, but she turned the tables on the rising Chinese star with a dominant victory. In the first round, Xiaonan came rushing in with a straight right, with Esparza ducking under and scoring a fairly east takedown.
The two spent the entire round on the floor, with Esparza raining punches and elbows on her opponent, busting her up before the end of the round. Esparza adopted the same strategy in the second round, took her opponent down, and absolutely smashed her in the crucifix position until the referee jumped in and stopped the fight.
‘The Cookie Monster’ landed nearly 150 significant strikes, while Xiaonan was only able to land 5 significant strikes. With her stellar performance, Esparza ranks second in the list of top 5 UFC performers in May.
— Blue Corner Fighting (@blue_fighting) May 23, 2021
Jiri Prochazka improved to 2-0 in the UFC in a spectacular fashion, flattening top 5 UFC light heavyweight Dominick Reyes in a frightening fashion in the second round at UFC Vegas 25.
Prochazka hurt Reyes a number of times in the first round, with punches from odd angles. The Czech Republican’s every attempt to finish the fight was met with a flurry of counterstrikes by Reyes, which turned it into a back-and-forth battle in the first round, where Reyes was bloodied up.
In the second round, Reyes hurt Prochazka with an upkick, which he later admitted momentarily knocked him out, but he regained his consciousness almost instantly. Prochazka finished the job with a vicious spinning elbow, which caught Reyes completely off guard.
Having beaten two top contenders in Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes in a brutal manner, a title shot is probably the next step for the highly-rated prospect.
— Shakiel Mahjouri (@Shak_Fu) May 2, 2021
Alex Morono made the most of his UFC Vegas 26 co-main event fight with Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. Stepping in on a week’s notice to replace Diego Sanchez, Morono had his work cut out, but he still delivered his most notable performance inside the Octagon, TKOing ‘Cowboy’ him in the first round.
Both fighters were landing early in the round, but it was Morono who was having the better of the exchanges and was landing the harder shots. Cerrone was doing a good job with his head movement, but Morono’s volume proved to be too much for him, as ‘The Great White’ connected with a heavy shot and rushed in for the finish.
A win over Cerrone was certainly a huge one for Morono, and he’ll only find himself against another recognizable name in the future.
Beneil Dariush’s performance wasn’t as exciting as the ones mentioned above, but it was definitely a very calculated one. As he said in the post-fight press conference, not all fights have to be bonus-worthy.
Dariush dominated Tony Ferguson on the ground in the UFC 262 co-main event to cruise to a unanimous decision victory, which helped him jumped up six places to enter the top 5 UFC lightweights at number 3.
Dariush is potentially one win away from a title shot.
Which of the top 5 UFC performances in May tops your list?