After knockout loss at UFC Fight Island 7, where does Joaquin Buckley go from here?

Joaquin Buckley

One of the UFC‘s most hyped prospects entering 2021 was Joaquin Buckley (12-4). Buckley had perhaps the viral knockout of the decade back in 2020 and he followed that up with another brutal knockout win back at UFC 255.

Dana White has said in multiple interviews that he was one of the fighters to watch in 2021. The promotion decided to throw Buckley on the main card for their debut on ABC. They gave Buckley, Alessio Di Chirico (13-5), as an opponent at UFC Fight Island 7.

Di Chirico is a tough fighter, however, he had lost three straight entering Saturday. To me, this had a UFC showcase fight written all over it. In the past, Di Chirico had struggled against powerful punchers who pushed the pace.

Well, that’s exactly who Joaquin Buckley is. That said, I figured Buckley would storm through Di Chirico on Saturday as did most of the MMA community. Boy, was everyone wrong about that one.

Di Chirico looked incredibly sharp striking from the outside. Buckley looked frustrated and he wasn’t able to get in on Di Chirico during the exchanges. Di Chirico was sharp and was throwing shots down the middle that continuously popped Buckley.

Then out of no where, Di Chirico landed a beautiful headkick that sent Buckley crashing down. A few follow up shots later the referee called a stop to the fight and Alessio Di Chirico stopped the UFC hype train of Joaquin Buckley.

What’s next after UFC Fight Island 7?

Joaquin Buckley is still a very exciting prospect for the UFC, but let’s be honest, this was a big setback. He was given this opportunity against a guy who had lost three straight fights. Buckley was supposed to deliver and further push his stock.

However, the exact opposite happen. He lost in devastating fashion when he was a big favorite. Now, the UFC is going to have to figure out a good opponent to assist Buckley in regaining some of the steam that he had.

I thought for sure that the next fight would come against James Krause (28-8). Those two are from the same area in the US and they have major beef. However, with this loss, I’m not sure that Krause will be as interested as he was before.

The UFC needs to look for an opponent that will stand in trade with Buckley for his next fight. Win or lose, the fight will need to be entertaining. I like Jamie Pickett (11-5) as a potential option for Buckley’s next matchup.

Alessio Di Chirico knocks out Joaquin Buckley in the first at UFC Fight Island 7

The second fight on the main card of UFC Fight Island 7 looked on paper like it was going to be a showcase matchup. One of the UFC’s top prospects, Joaquin Buckley (12-3), was returning to take on Alessio Di Chirico (12-5).

2020 was a great year for Joaquin Buckley. In July, he wasn’t even on the UFC roster. However, when Kevin Holland needed an opponent, Buckley stepped up on just seven days notice to take on Holland.

Buckley had just secured a knockout in LFA that impressed the UFC. While Buckley lost to Holland, the promotion decided to keep him around. After that, he had two sensational knockout wins including one that went viral.

Dana White has seemed very excited about Buckley as a prospect in the middleweight division. The UFC decided to give him Di Chirico which on paper looks like a fight that should go for Buckley.

Alessio Di Chirico is not a bad fight, however, he’s not really special. He entered the octagon today on a three-fight losing streak. He was fighting to stop the Buckley hype train but he might also be fighting for his job in the UFC.

UFC Fight Island 7 Recap

Round 1

The second fight at UFC Fight Island 7 kicked off with a body kick from Di Chirico. Buckley pressed forward trying to pressure Di Chirico, but Di Chirico was doing a good job of keeping him at range with his kicks.

Di Chirico then started working low kicks on Buckley. Buckley seemed a tad tentative after taking some decent kicks from Di Chirico. Halfway through the first round and Buckley was still struggling to get inside on Di Chirico.

Out of no where Di Chirico lands a flush head kick to the temple of Buckley and Buckley’s out! Unbelievable performance at UFC Fight Island 7 for Alessio Di Chirico.

Alessio Di Chirico def. Joaquin Buckley by KO – Round 1

UFC Fight Island 7 Preview: Joaquin Buckley – Alessio Di Chirico

Joaquin Buckley

Tomorrow at UFC Fight Island 7, we will see the return of a middleweight who has a lot of eyes on him in 2021. New Mansa, Joaquin Buckley (12-3), is back in action as he takes on Alessio Di Chirico (12-5) on the main card tomorrow.

Joaquin Buckley had a very interesting 2020. He fought for the first time on July 31st for LFA and he won by second round knockout. The UFC called up the Bellator veteran and asked him if he’d step in to face Kevin Holland on one week’s notice.

Buckley was knocked out in the third round by Kevin Holland. However, the UFC decided to keep him around. He then got a shot against Impa Kasanganay on Fight Island. That is where he pulled off possibly the knockout of the decade. You can view that knockout here. 

After Buckley knocked out Impa, he went on to knockout Jordan Wright at UFC 255. Buckley has a lot of momentum entering this year and there are a lot of eye balls on him. The opposite could be said of his opponent tomorrow afternoon.

Standing in front of Buckley is Alessio Di Chirico. Di Chirico is an seven-fight veteran in the UFC. However, he will make the walk having lost three in a row. One more loss and he might be out the door.

Di Chirico currently holds a record of 3-4 in his seven fights. His last three losses have included a loss to Kevin Holland and a loss to Zak Cummings. Di Chirico is a solid overall fighter, but it’s going to take a lot for him to win tomorrow.

UFC Fight Island 7 Prediction

In all honesty, this fight seems like a showcase fight for Joaquin Buckley. Di Chirico is not a bad fighter by any means, but the UFC is putting a lot of stock in Joaquin Buckley and I think they wanted his 2021 to start off well.

Di Chirico has struggled against fighters who push the pace and walk him down. Well, that’s really all Buckley does. Buckley is going to come forward tomorrow and put a lot of pressure on Di Chirico while looking for the knockout.

The one thing going for Di Chirico is that he’s durable. He’s never been finished by strikes in his career. If he can whether the storm early from Buckley, he might have an advantage later in the fight.

If I’m in the Di Chirico camp, I’m going to try and grapple as much as possible. Try to tire out Buckley and hopefully win the later rounds. If he just strikes with Buckley at UFC Fight Island 7, he’s going to be in big trouble.

Ultimately, I think Buckley is going to pickup the win tomorrow. Di Chirico’s only real chance is to tire out Buckley and win by points in my opinion. Call me a believer of the hype, but I think Buckley gets another knockout tomorrow.

Prediction: Joaquin Buckley by TKO – Round 2