Clay Collard vs. Shane Burgos, 5 more insane fights in 2023

MMA fans enjoyed plenty of memorable fights this year. Here's a look at some of the best.

2023 PFL 9: Playoffs
2023 PFL 9: Playoffs / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev (UFC 286)

Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev were not surprising to anyone. This was a fight where everyone knew what to expect. Chaos.

Fiziev is a fast starter and throws with incredible force. Gaethje, on the other hand, is a take-one-to-give-one style fighter and always pushes forward. Fiziev may have a crazy side, but he's a technical kickboxer by trade. Gaethje has all the technical skill in the world, but he enjoys pulling fighters into slugfests.

This was one of those fights where all 200 of their combined significant strikes looked and sounded painful. They went toe-to-toe in the most conventional way and it was survival of the fittest. While Gaethje did his classic headhunting, Fiziev threw 53% of his strikes to the body, hoping to slow Gaethje down. That didn't work out so well.

Gaethje looked to pull away a bit as the fight went on, landing 53 significant strikes to Fiziev's 38 in the fifth round. Because of the power coming from Fiziev, he tends to slow down. Against a fighter like Gaethje, who can match output but find a way to stay active, it proved to be the deciding factor.

With how good Gaethje looked as the fight went on, a five-round fight between the two could've ended with a finish. The same can be said for Fiziev if he got a second wind. The fact is, these guys were throwing with everything and it was still a tough fight to call for the judges. The fight ended in a majority decision win for Gaethje. Judge Paul Sutherland scored this fight a draw, with the other two going 29-28.

Unfortunately for Fiziev, he injured his knee in his next fight which should keep him out of action for a while. Gaethje, however, is coming off aan exciting win over Dustin Poirier, which could make for another historic trilogy between Gaethje and Poirier.