Max Holloway def. Calvin Kattar via Unanimous Decision
Max Holloway – Alexander Volkanovski / Brian Ortega Winner
Max Holloway put on one of the greatest performances we have ever seen in the history of this sport. He picked apart Kattar start to finish on the feet, and in the third round threw nearly 100 strikes at Kattar in a single flurry. Holloway threw nearly 750 strikes in the duration of the fight which almost equates the total thrown by Joanna and Weili combined in their 2020 fight of the year. It was only the second time in UFC history a judge scored a fight 50-42. In summary, Holloway showed once again why he is the greatest featherweight of all-time, and has earned the right at a another shot at the champ.
Calvin Kattar – Sodiq Yusuff / Edson Barboza
Calvin Kattar needs to hold his head up high in that performance despite the loss. Throughout the third and fourth rounds he took every shot the former champ had to offer and remained on his feet. Kattar will likely be sidelined for a little while after that display, so I wouldn’t anticipate him returning any sooner than the summer. Sodiq Yusuff were expected to square off back in October, and it appears as if the UFC is likely to rebook that matchup. The winner of that fight would be a perfect fit for the New England Cartel representative. That fight could serve as a co-main event for a fight night or feature on the main card of a pay-per-view event.
Carlos Condit def. Matt Brown via Unanimous Decision
Carlos Condit – James Krause
Carlos Condit and Matt Brown put on a nice little grappling display in the co-main event of the evening. Many expected this to tilt to primarily remain on the feet, but both fighters showed that they are quite capable of duking it out on the mat. Carlos Condit has once again found his mojo. After losing five consecutive fights, Condit has now one consecutive fights for the first time since 2012. It was the last fight on his contract so I wouldn’t be surprised if he chose to leave the organization like Anthony Pettis did. If the former Interim Welterweight Champion decides to stay within the organization, a matchup with fellow UFC veteran James Krause could earn either a shot at the Top 15.
Matt Brown – Alan Jouban
Matt Brown showed a side to him we haven’t seen in a few fights. Known for his aggressive nature on the feet, Brown initiated the wrestling with Condit. He performed much better than the scorecards indicated and should have been rewarded with the first round. We are now a week removed from his 40th birthday so I would expect the retirement talk is happening sooner rather than later. That being said, Brown still showed there is some gas left in the tank and deserves at least one more fight. A fight with Alan Jouban would make for a fan-friendly contest on the feet and would give both men an opportunity to add a big name to their resume.
Li Jingliang def. Santiago Ponzinibbio via KO (Punch)
Li Jingliang – Muslim Salikhov
Li Jingliang showcased why he is one of the most dangerous strikers in the 170lb division. Ponzinibbio entered that fight as one of the most feared strikers in the division. Jingliang landed a beautifully timed left hand that put Ponz on his back. With the victory, we could see Jingliang’s name in the Top 15 come Monday. Chinese fighters continue their rise and we could see a UFC: China card as soon as things begin to open up. Muslim Salkhov was initially expected to face Ponz on the card before being replaced by Jingliang. Having Jingliang and Salikhov fight makes a ton of sense at this point, and could feature on a Fight Island card.
Santiago Ponzinibbio – Nicolas Dalby
Two years away from the sport really impacted Ponzinibbio in this outing. He was removed from the rankings due to inactivity, and was forced to fight outside of the rankings to earn his way back up. It was a tough loss for the Argentine, but I expect him to look for a quick turnaround from this. A fight with Danish Lokomotiv Nicolas Dalby would be a good place to start. Dalby recently earned a unanimous decision victory over rising star Daniel Rodriguez.
Alessio Di Chirico def. Joaquin Buckley via KO (Head Kick)
Alessio Di Chirico – Aliaskhab Khizriev
What a way to welcome yourself back into the win column. Loser of three straight fights, the Italian had his back up against the wall against Buckley. Many felt he was thrown in in there with Buckley simply to be a highlight for the young American. He derailed the hype train with a brutal head kick KO of the viral sensation. Aliaskhab Khizriev was scheduled to face Wellington Turman early next month but Turman was forced to withdraw. Di Chirico didn’t sustain any injuries in the fight so the fight could make sense for April.
Joaquin Buckley – Jack Marshman
Buckley has quickly become one of the most talked about fighters in the entire sport. Love him or hate him, people tune in when the guy is fighting. He will likely need a step back in competition after this one, and we may not see him until the summer. He has been fighting frequently so some time may do a world of good for the 26-year-old. Jack Marshman is known for being willing to engage in a firefight which would make this an extremely fun fight. Look for a May-June booking for this one.
Punahele Soriano def. Dusko Todorovic via KO (Punches)
Punahele Soriano – Jun Yong Park
Puna Soriano kicked things off on a good note for Hawaii to start 2021. He had Dusko in a world of trouble early in that first round. After a break in action due to Todorovic’s mouthpiece getting stuck in the cage, Puna would continue landing bombs on the Serbian. Xtreme Couture had a heck of a year in 2020, and what a way to kick things off for the gym as well. Looking ahead for Puna, he sustained little damage in that fight so would be cleared to go pretty quickly. After being sidelined the entirety of 2020, I would expect the undefeated Hawaiian to stay busy. Jun Yong Park is on a two-fight win streak and would be a stern test for Soriano.
Dusko Todorovic – KB Bhullar
Dusko Todorovic entered the contest with Soriano looking to extent his unbeaten streak to eleven. Soriano was a little too much on the night for the Serbian and Todorovic suffered his first professional defeat. At only 26-years of age, time is on Dusko’s side and he’ll be given at least a couple more opportunities inside the UFC octagon. Canadian KB Bhullar recently suffered a first round KO loss as well erasing the zero off of his perfect record. The former Unified MMA Middleweight Champion would make a great matchup for Todorovic as he would look to avenge the loss of fellow Edmontonian Teddy Ash. Ash had lost to Todorovic on the contender series which earned Todorovic his spot on the UFC roster.