Max Holloway is Perfect
UFC Fight Island 7 Aftermath: Max Holloway Displays Perfection

UFC Fight Island 7 Aftermath: Max Holloway Displays Perfection

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Holy crap did Max Holloway deliver or what at UFC Fight Island 7? The card was the first MMA event on ABC and, to be honest, they couldn’t have picked a better fight. In today’s Aftermath edition, we look at not only Holloway, but several of our other favorite fighters on the card. Let’s dive in.

I Missed Like Crazy on Joaquin Buckley

Next opponent for Joaquin Buckley: Deron Winn, Punahele Soriano

If you follow me on Rokfin (you should, I post tons of cool stuff on there, and it’s free to sign up), you probably saw my Beforemath section. In that column, I essentially called this fight a layup for Joaquin Buckley. Read the excerpt below:

This fight is just a showcase for Buckley. Di Chirico has struggled in the UFC, compiling a 3-5 record and losing his last three. The former IMMAF Champion simply hasn’t got it going since joining the promotion as an undefeated prospect. This fight gives Buckley another shot at boosting his profile among the casual viewers as the knockout artist that’s actually a damn good fighter. While I don’t expect Joaquin Buckley to get a ranked matchup with a win at UFC Fight Island 7, he surely will be heading in that direction with his third straight win. 

UFC Fight Island 7 Beforemath on Rokfin

This doesn’t look good in hindsight. But, we all know I’m about holding journalists accountable for their often bad takes. So, I will eat crow here. Buckley came into UFC Fight Island 7 with huge momentum. With a knockout of the millennium candidate and a second follow up knockout in the follow up, I thought Buckley was a shoo-in to beat Alessio Di Chirico. Di Chirico showed that while Buckley is exciting, he’s not perfect. Buckley ducks and dips, leaving himself exposed when he’s coming forward and that’s how he was stopped.

Now, Buckley has all that hype behind him dissipated. There are sill some great fights out there for Buckley in the UFC, even if I don’t think he can be champion until he fixes his issues. Deron Winn is one such fight I would like to see. Banger versus wrestler, this fight can be a great test to the chin of Winn and the takedown defense of Buckley.

My second option for Buckley would be Punahele Soriano, who also won on UFC Fight Island 7. His fight went just under a round and Soriano and Buckley would be a crackerjack of a fight that has two fighters with lightning fast and powerful hands. You don’t often see the UFC putting prospect versus prospect anymore but this fight has fun written all over it.

Jingliang Li Rudely Welcomes Ponzinibbio Back To The UFC

Next opponent for Jingliang Li: Vicente Luque, Chiesa/Magny Winner

Jingliang Li is often slept on.While he’s no world beater, he is a quality fighter that brings a fun show every fight. His losses, especially recently, have been all to guys who should beat him. Now, Li has won the fight he should not have in the eyes of Vegas. Santiago Ponzinibbio was out of action for two years and his first fight back gave him no love. Li managed to knock out Ponzinibbio in the first round with a big left hook. Li now has the opportunity to move into the rankings and with the win over Ponzinibbio, we could see him take the spot of Conor McGregor who isn’t really a welterweight anyway.

As for what’s next, it’s only ranked opponents. Vicente Luque is my big pick for Jingliang Li. As we saw at UFC Fight Island 7, Li has great hands and is very tricky, even for savvy strikers like Ponzinibbio. The next step forward is against Vicente Luque. Luque is another player on the feet and should Jingliang Li beat him, he’s ready for legit top ten opponents. This fight would be prime on the next Weili Zhang fight card that is rumored to be in China.

The other option would be the winner of Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny on Wednesday at UFC Fight Island 8. Those two replaced Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev in the main event and is a big stepping stone for each fighter. Li and the winner of that matchup could be a great addition to that aforementioned Zhang card in China.

UFC Fight Island 7 Shows Us Old Guys Fighting Can be Fun

Matt Brown and Carlos Condit have been wanting to fight each other for years. Now in the twilight of their careers, the two finally have squared off and to be honest, the fight wasn’t half bad. It’s always a shame seeing older guys fight up and comers. With the young guys feeding on these legends, it always hurts me to watch. That’s part of the reason why I thought Mike Tyson’s Legends Only League is a good idea. Brown and Condit should not be fighting young guys for their health’s sake.

Overall, the fight was fun and actually not depressing. At one point, Carlos Condit, who would go on to win the fight, had a slick trip of Matt Brown, seeing Condit tie up one side of Brown, going behind, and kicking the legs out from under him. The booth went nuts when it happened and it was super cool. Matt Brown missed an opportunity to get a wizzer in that would have prevented the takedown.

I’m not suggesting a next opponent for either of these fighters. I want Diego Sanchez against either of them, or some other old welterweight. Put them out there, let the old guys go at it. Just don’t let Matt Brown murder Sanchez again.

Good God, Max Holloway

Next opponent for Calvin Kattar: Sodiq Yusuff, Yair Rodriguez

Calvin Kattar was just not ready for Max Holloway at UFC Fight Island 7. But in all fairness, I think there is only one featherweight that is ready: Volkanovski. Kattar simply had nothing for Max Holloway. A notoriously slow starter, the ground given up to Holloway early on just snowballed for Kattar later in the fight, leaving Kattar on the receiving end of one of the worst beatings in recent UFC history.

Kattar is nowhere near ready for a run at the title and needs to work on his inactivity early. As we’ve seen, someone who starts well is going to run away with the fight by accumulating damage early on against Kattar. It will be a while before Kattar is ready to return to action but that won’t stop us form guessing on some fun matchups for him. Sodiq Yusuff is one. Yusuff has the opposite problem of that of Kattar: he starts fast and slows down. Kattar can test himself against a tough opponent and should he do well getting off the line fast, could be working his way to a rebound with a win.

No telling when Yair Rodriguez will be back. But that’s another fun fight for Calvin Kattar. Yair is flashy and fun. With the Zabit Magomedsharipov fight falling throw a gazillion times, the UFC might move on with bigger fish to fry for Zabit, leaving Yair Rodriguez out in the cold. Let’s pair him up with Kattar and test that slow start again, like with Yusuff.

Next opponent for Max Holloway: Zabit Magomedsharipov, Justin Gaethje

Max, my dude, wow! What an incredible performance by the former champion, Max Holloway. Holloway put on the best example of a clinic I’ve seen since I’ve started watching combat sports. Five rounds of pace, mixing up, and badassery. Seriously, Holloway yelling at the commentary booth that he’s the best boxer in the UFC while slipping and countering Kattar was the highlight of 2021 and it’s only January.

One thing Max does well that many don’t talk about is doubling up on his jab. He uses the first jab to get a reaction out of his opponent, especially when the momentum is already going his way. He has a slight step in on the first, drawing out the response, and then steps in big with another, something he plagued Kattar with all night at UFC Fight Island 7.

I really don’t see a title shot next for Max Holloway. But, he said in his post fight that he doesn’t care if there is one or not. He just wants great fights. Do you know what’s a great fight for Max Holloway? Zabit Magomedsharipov. Zabit is a massive fighter in Russia and if we’re talking about Max Holloway conquering as many contenders as he can to fight Volkanovski again, Zabit in Russia is next. And in all honesty, Holloway is a stylistic nightmare for Magomedsharipov. Holloway’s going to out strike him, he doesn’t get taken down, and his cardio is top tier, all three playing to the disadvantage of Zabit. Let’s do it in Russia and let Holloway corner Volkanovski again.

As I said earlier, I don’t think a title shot is in the cards for Holloway just yet. I also don’t believe he’s done at lightweight yet. He threw his name in the hat for a replacement in the McGregor-Poirier 2 fight this weekend. With Michael Chandler and Dan Hooker serving as the co-main, they’re probably who would be called on for a replacement. That said, there is another lightweight that would be incredibly fun to watch fight Holloway: Justin Gaethje. Holloway was forced to improve after losing to Alexander Volkanovski twice. I feel like he proved that he has done just that with this fight with Kattar. One of the problems in his loss to Dustin Poirier in the rematch was Poirier would be willing to sacrifice getting hit to hit Holloway because Poirier didn’t respect the hands and power of Max. Now, he showed that he can slip and duck a counter power puncher and while he may have even less power at 155, he will still bring an insane pace. You throw him in the ring with Justin Gaethje and you’ll pretty much be throwing sodium into water. Explosions are inbound.

Be sure to check out the UFC 257 Beforemath on Rokfin dropping on Thursday. Also, for premium Rokfin users, Technical Readout: Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar will be coming out this week as well! Subscribe here to get that Technical Readout as well as other exclusives like Nunes vs. Cyborg, Jordan Burroughs and more!

Blaine Henry

Just your friendly neighborhood fight fan!

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