This past Saturday on the main card of UFC Vegas 80, we saw a big time showdown in the welterweight division. Joaquin Buckley (17-6) was making his second appearance at 170 pounds as he took on the tough and durable Alex Morono (23-9).
A lot of eyes were on Buckley entering this contest and he was the betting favorite. However, it felt like a lot of people were sleeping on Morono who had gone 5-1 in his last six with the lone loss coming to Santiago Ponzinibbio. Buckley looked good in his first fight at 170, but Morono would be a test.
Turns out, it was a test that Buckley passed with flying colors. From the power to the speed, Buckley was just a step ahead of Morono throughout the night. One thing I was incredibly impressed with was the cardio of Buckley. He has made the transition to 170 seamlessly and he hasn’t sacrificed his power or cardio.
Buckley came close to getting a finish in the third round, but Morono lasted until the final bell. In the end, it was a lopsided decision win for Buckley at UFC Vegas 80.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 80?
Make no mistake about it, Joaquin Buckley belongs in the welterweight division. Much like Kevin Holland, Buckley is thriving since moving down to the welterweight division. With a second win under his belt, what should the UFC and Buckley do next?
In looking at the welterweight division, there are a couple of fights that I like for Buckley next. One fight would be against Khaos Williams. Williams is coming off a win back in May and I think him and Buckley would make for a helluva scrap. However, there’s another fight coming up next month that I have my eyes on.
At the UFC Fight Night on November 18th, undefeated rising contender Michael Morales is facing off against Jake Matthews. Whoever wins that fight would be another great fight for Buckley sometime in early 2024. If I’m the UFC, I’m looking at those guys for his next fight.