Fight of the Night: Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar | ($50K bonus to both fighters)
Performance of the Night: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Li Jingliang | ($50K bonus to Jingliang)
Performance of the Night: Joaquin Buckley vs Alessio Di Chirico | ($50K bonus to Di Chirico)
CATEGORIES: BLAZING, LUKEWARM, CHILLY, COLD AS ICE
Max Holloway def. Calvin Kattar (50-43 x 2, 50-42)
Let’s get this one out of the way – Max “Blessed” Holloway reminded the world why he’s arguably the best striker in the UFC after his record-smashing victory against New England Cartel’s Calvin “The Boston Finisher” Kattar on the UFC’s primetime ABC debut.
The spirit of Muhammad Ali must have truly been with Holloway in the cage, because we haven’t seen this level of utter domination in the octagon since Rich Franklin’s (50-42 x 2, 50-43) demolition of David Loiseau in his 2006 middleweight title defense (!)
The kickboxing clinic put on display by Holloway is much more a testament to his greatness than a comeback display, but lest we forget that MMA is a ‘what have you done for me lately sport’ and being on the wrong end of back-to-back title fights will inevitably increase the harshness of the spotlight.
“Blessed” broke his own record of 290 significant strikes (vs Brian Ortega in 2018) by notching 445 significant strikes against Kattar. He talked up a storm, hit the “Robot” dance while slipping punches, and proclaimed himself to be the “freshman that [sic] come up and take’s your girlfriend,” in response to Kattar’s pre-fight banter.
We should have known all along that, in the wise words of Max Holloway, “if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. And the best is blessed, baby.”
Alessio Di Chirico def. Joaquin Buckley (KO Round 1 – Headkick)
Alessio “Manzo” Di Chirico is a prime example of the spontaneous nature of the fight game. The moment fans and media members think they have a matchup figured out, fighters like Di Chirico will give us a friendly reminder that we don’t know the half of it.
Being on the wrong end his first three-fights in the UFC, Di Chirico’s appeared to have his back against the wall going into this fight with the surging, viral sensation that is Joaquin “New Mansa” Buckley. I noted in All Factors Considered Ep. #22 that Di Chirico had a puncher’s chance against Buckley, but that’s about it.
Queue the rim-shot, because boy was I wrong. And Di Chirico is $50K richer after winning Performance of the Night.
“Manzo” made it count on the biggest stage of his career thus far and reminded fans why he was such a highly touted knockout puncher prior to making his UFC debut. There are no easy pickings in the 185 pound division, regardless of current champion Israel Adesanya moving up to 205 pounds for a chance to become a double-champ.
It didn’t take long to get it done, but it can be argued that Di Chirico raised his stock more than anyone else on the roster with his performance on Saturday. A first-round head kick KO against one of the hottest prospects in the game tends to do that for a fighter. I’m looking forward to see what he can do in his next matchup.
Joselyne Edwards def. Wu Yanan (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
Joselyne “La Pantera” Edwards was the only fighter to make their company debut at UFC Fight Island 7. Let’s give respect where respect is due – Edwards absolutely shined while showcasing her non-stop pressure approach in a matchup against a taller, longer opponent in Wu “Mulan” Yanan.
Let’s not forget that she took the fight on short-notice after Bethe Correia was forced to withdraw due to appendicitis, leaving Yanan without an opponent.
I’m generally tentative in picking fighters who are predominantly power punchers to win their UFC debut. Not because I don’t think their skill can translate to the big league, but because the UFC is where streaks come to an end.
We’ve seen crazy KO/submission streaks die on a regular basis over the years, especially when those streaks are built in regional promotions. To make this point even more clear, Edwards had won 8 of her 9 wins by KO/submission coming into her fight against Yanan.
She got the job done, but by decision. Nonetheless, I’m excited to see who the matchmakers put her against in her next bout. Joselyne Edwards is name you’re going to want to remember.
Li Jingliang def. Santiago Ponzinibbio (KO Round 1 – Left hook)
The result of Santiago “Argentine Dagger” Ponzinibbio’s first trip to the octagon since 2018 was a surprise to many, and a given to few. Those of us who were surprised to see a hesitant, tentative, trigger-shy version of Ponzinibbio probably subscribe to the Dominick Cruz philosophy that ring rust isn’t nearly as big of a factor as many believe it to be.
Then again, two-years of inactivity due to blood infections and bouts of arthritis put the “Argentine Dagger” in prime position to experience ring rust – It’s not like Ponzinibbio couldn’t find an opponent or spent time vacationing and unwilling to fight.
Waking up in a discombobulated fog only to be blinded by bright lights and held by the man you’ve spent weeks preparing to defeat is all the bulletin board material the welterweight contender will need to get back on track in his next bout.
And for the aforemention conditions that led to Ponzinibbio’s KO loss against “The Leech,” I’m going to give him a break. His 7-fight win streak is over, but the future is still bright for the 34-year old Argentinian.
COLD AS ICE
Vanessa Melo def. Sarah Moras (29-28 x 2, 30-27)
Competing no more than twice a year since her UFC debut in 2014, Sarah “Cheesecake” Moras is off to a rough start in 2021. Moras was considered to be a moderate betting favorite going into her matchup against Brazil’s Vanessa Melo.
Melo, who was riding a 5-fight win streak prior to entering the UFC, lost all three of her big league bouts by pretty considerable margins to the likes of former Bantamweight title challenger Irene Aldana, Tracy Cortez, and Karol Rosa.
Considering Moras has fought the likes of Julianna Pena, Raquel Pennington, Jessica Andrade, Macy Chiasson, and Sijara Eubanks, one would think her overall experience would lend to a much needed victory after her 2020 loss to the aforementioned Eubanks.
Her in octagon performance against Melo was filled with jabs (and a lot of kiai’s, which have the potential to make attacks feel more substantial to fans and the judges), but that was about it. Moras was out struck 56-44 in terms of significant strikes and neither fighter secured a takedown.
For context, Moras has landed 44 significant strikes in each of her last three-trips to the octagon, which is tied for her most voluminous output in the UFC. With rumors of the company’s looming roster cuts, you’d imagine “Cheesecake” needs to increase her output if she wants to remain in the UFC.
After Further Consideration is the blog space for the All Factors Considered camp. The Stock Report is subjective and represents the stances, views, and opinions of the All Factors Considered camp solely.