1. Khabib Nurmagomedov: Alright, here’s my $.02 on the matter, since absolutely none of you asked. Khabib was undeniably, incredibly wrong to leave the cage and try to kamikaze Danis and Conor’s crew. The flip side of that is what when you nurture an environment when McGregor’s shenanigans and worst impulses, are not only tolerated, but encouraged, when you USE FOOTAGE OF HIM THROWING THE DOLLY INTO THE BUS AS PART OF YOUR MARKETING, well, then, you’ve pretty much made your bed, haven’t you?
2. Naoya Inoue: What an absolute machine Inoue is turning out to be. He just gets better and better. In this outing, he knocked Juan Carlos Payano, former world champion, out in the first round, defended his bantamweight title, AND advanced in the bantamweight World Boxing Super Series.
3. Kiryl Relikh: Taking a backseat to Inoue’s small, yet monstrous fists was Relikh, who retained his own WBA title and advanced in the junior welterweight bracket in season two of the World Boxing Super Series.
4. Tony Ferguson: It’s Fergie vs. Khabib if he’s both willing and Khabib is down. I can’t freaking wait.
5. Artur Beterbiev: Welp, someone’s 0 had to go in this world title fight, and Beterbiev made emphatically sure it was Callum Johnson’s, KOing in the fourth round and retaining his IBF Light Heavyweight title in the process on DAZN.
6. Daniel Roman: On DAZN, in a loaded card from Chicago, Roman stopped Gavin McDonnell in the tenth round to retain his WBA junior featherweight title.
7. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai: The Chocolatito-killer made his OneFC debut, defending his Junior Bantamweight world championship against Iran Diaz, and predictably routed him. Overall a success for him and OneFC, and maybe the start of a great partnership.
8. Lance Palmer/Philipe Lins/Steven Siler/Josh Copeland: Going to the finals at Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve to try to earn a million buckeroos.
9. Aspen Ladd: It isn’t that she beat Tonya Evinger, who was a dominant Invicta bantamweight champion, and who stood toe-to-toe with Cyborg, and who is one of the toughest fighters in the world, male or female, is that she beat the living hell out of her, dominated her, and made her cover up and look completely impotent. It was an eye-grabbing performance and made her a presence at 135.
10. Derrick Lewis: After his insomnia-curing fight with Francis Ngannou, expectations were very low, but Lewis should a lot of heart in a back-and-forth battle with Alexander Volkov, and earned a finish with only seconds remaining to move even closer to a heavyweight title shot.
11. Jessica McCaskill: McCaskill showed what she was made of when she went the distance with Katie Taylor, and now she has a world title to validate her after defeating Erica Anabella Farias for her WBC Junior Welterweight championship.
12. Urijah Faber/Gordon Ryan/Dustin Akbari/Antoine Jaoude/Mansher Khara: Team Alpha Male was the big winner in the four-team QUINTET tournament on UFC Fight Pass, the biggest surprise being Ryan submitting Josh Barnett.
13. Zaur Akhmedov/Ross Nicholls/Adam Wardzinski/Perttu Tepponen/Eldar Rafigaev/Maiju Suotama/Yulia Vibe: Your next batch of ADCC qualifiers after the latest Euro trials.
14. Chip Moraza-Pollard: Went into the championship rounds, but defended his Lion Fight Cruiserweight championship over Remy Vectol by TKO at Lion Fight 47 stateside.
15. Jack Catterall: In the main evenet from Leicster (or Leicestershire) on ESPN+, it was Catterall advancing by UD over former secondary titleholder Ohara Davies.