September 30, 2023

UFC 282, the final pay-per-view of 2022, is in the books. While the event won’t go down as one of the year’s best, it did feature plenty of fun finishes. Sure, UFC 282’s two headliners didn’t end in violence, but that didn’t matter as most of the other fights did, resulting in plenty of bonuses being given.

So with knockouts, submissions, and utter dominance on offer, who pulled off the best stoppage last night? Here are the five best finishes of UFC 282: Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev.

#5. Chris Curtis – defeated Joaquin Buckley in a UFC middleweight bout

Chris Curtis turned the lights out on Joaquin Buckley
Chris Curtis turned the lights out on Joaquin Buckley

One of UFC 282’s most interesting-looking preliminary bouts pitted middleweights Chris Curtis and Joaquin Buckley against one another. Both men have been responsible for some great finishes in recent years, leaving hopes high for another here.

In the early going, it looked like Buckley was the one to produce it. He teed off on ‘Action Man’ in the first round and in the early parts of the second, and Curtis didn’t seem to have much of an answer. In fact, he was seemingly barely capable of keeping up with ‘New Mansa’, who seemed to be cruising to a win. Incredibly, though, in the second, it appeared as though Curtis had been playing possum all along.

Buckley was still being more active, but he wasn’t landing quite as much. It looked like Curtis had worked out his timing, and sure enough, when ‘New Mansa’ threw a naked kick, ‘Action Man’ capitalized. He nailed Buckley with a brutal left hand that essentially knocked him silly and then finished him off brutally on the ground.

If anything, the fight could’ve been stopped slightly earlier had referee Jason Herzog chosen to step in. It was an excellent win for Curtis, moving him to 4-1 in the UFC overall. After this, he has to be considered one of the middleweight division’s most underrated fighters.

#4. Ilia Topuria – defeated Bryce Mitchell in a UFC featherweight bout

Ilia Topuria impressed hugely in his win over Bryce Mitchell
Ilia Topuria impressed hugely in his win over Bryce Mitchell

It’s arguable that UFC 282’s most impressive performance belonged to featherweight prospect Ilia Topuria. Booked in what looked like a difficult bout to call against fellow unbeaten prospect Bryce Mitchell, ‘El Matador’ made things look easy. More to the point, while he could easily have cruised to a decision after dominating practically every second of the fight, he instead chose to finish Mitchell in the most impressive way possible.

Mitchell had quickly become known as one of the most intense grapplers in the featherweight division in his short octagon career. He’d even pulled off the second twister submission in the promotion’s history. However, after dismantling him in the stand-up game, Topuria took him down, slapped on a pretty tight arm-triangle choke and forced him to submit in the second round.

Given that three of his first four octagon wins have come via knockout, it’s hard to play down the significance of this submission win, particularly given who it came against. Put simply, Topuria is a title contender at 145 lbs.

#3. Santiago Ponzinibbio – defeated Alex Morono in a UFC catchweight bout

Santiago Ponzinibbio produced a classic comeback to down Alex Morono
Santiago Ponzinibbio produced a classic comeback to down Alex Morono

Santiago Ponzinibbio was initially supposed to face Robbie Lawler last night. While ‘Ruthless’ is on the downswing of his career, many fans would still consider him more of a threat than Alex Morono, who replaced him on late notice.

However, that theory didn’t quite add up. Morono took the fight to ‘The Argentine Dagger’ and dropped him in both the first and second rounds, but by the third, it was clear that he was tired. Ponzinibbio, meanwhile, was much fresher and showed that he hadn’t lost too much of his durability. Sensing that ‘The Great White’ was both tired and hurt, he came forward and landed a massive combination that ended with a right hand.

Morono crumpled with the shot and crashed down to the ground. Moments later, referee Jason Herzog dived in to rescue him.

This was not only one of the best finishes at UFC 282 but also one of the best comebacks of 2022. Had the bout lasted another two-and-a-half minutes and gone the distance, Morono undoubtedly would’ve won. As it was, Ponzinibbio not only picked up his first win since June 2021, but he also claimed a nice $50k bonus for his efforts.

#2. Raul Rosas Jr. – defeated Jay Perrin in a UFC bantamweight bout

Raul Rosas Jr. looked brilliant in his debut win
Raul Rosas Jr. looked brilliant in his debut win

UFC 282 saw four fights end in submission, but the best of the bunch was produced by 18-year-old debutant Raul Rosas Jr.

‘El Nino Problema’ used a nasty rear-naked choke/neck crank combination to tap veteran Jay Perrin in the first round of their bantamweight clash. Not only did the win give Rosas Jr. a $50k bonus, but it also meant that he now stands as the youngest fighter to ever win a bout in the octagon.

The win was essentially a flawless victory for the teenager. Perrin came out aggressively with his strikes, but once Rosas Jr. took him down, it was clear that he was out of his depth despite being the more experienced fighter. It didn’t take ‘El Nino Problema’ long at all to secure back control, and from there, he slapped on the fight-ending hold and cranked it even as Perrin attempted to stand. The academic tapout followed soon after.

HOW GOOD IS THAT?! ?The 18-year-old phenom ?? Raul Rosas Jr. has unlimited potential after a FLAWLESS debut! #UFC282

Given that Perrin had never won a UFC fight prior to this in two attempts, it’s likely that this was about the easiest fight Rosas Jr. could’ve asked for in his debut.

Given his young age, it’s important that the promotion treats him carefully and doesn’t throw him to the wolves. But he clearly has star potential, and if he can keep pulling off finishes like this, he may be destined for the top of the bantamweight mountain.

#1. Jairzinho Rozenstruik – defeated Chris Daukaus in a UFC heavyweight bout

Jairzinho Rozenstruik needed less than a minute to stop Chris Daukaus
Jairzinho Rozenstruik needed less than a minute to stop Chris Daukaus

The fastest and arguably most violent finish of UFC 282 belonged to heavyweight contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik. He needed just 23 seconds to turn the lights out on Chris Daukaus in a fight that was never likely to go the distance.

Given that both men have a total of 10 finishes combined, it was only a case of who would land something nasty first. The suspicion was always that ‘Bigi Boy’ was the more technical striker and would find a way to connect, and sure enough, those suspicions were right.

Daukaus landed first with a right hand, but that only allowed Rozenstruik to fire back on the counter. The native of Suriname stung Daukaus with a left hand, then caught him off balance with a knee, sending him down.

Daukaus got back to his feet, but from there, Rozenstruik was all over him. ‘Bigi Boy’ swarmed with a combination and basically continued to land bombs until Daukaus finally wilted. Quite where Daukaus, who has now lost three in a row, goes from here is anyone’s guess. Rozenstruik, on the other hand, should still be considered a very dangerous heavyweight title contender.

With any luck, the UFC can make another fun match for him soon, as due to this quick finish, he’s likely to be very ready.

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