Is Bellator’s Patricio Pitbull on the same level as Alexander Volkanovski?

Last weekend at Bellator 255, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (32-4) choked out Emmanuel Sanchez in the first round of their title fight. The matchup was also the semi-final matchup in Bellator‘s Featherweight Grand Prix.

After the fight, Patricio Pitbull and his management have talked about how he’s the best featherweight in the world. They told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani this week that they are more than willing to take on the UFC champion, Alexander Volkanovksi (22-1).

A huge feather in the cap of Pitbull is his knockout of Michael Chandler. Chandler is getting ready to challenge for the vacant UFC lightweight championship and Pitbull knocked him out in the first round after catching him with a looping hook around the ear.

Granted, the stoppage was premature in my opinion, but nevertheless, that’s how Patricio Pitbull became a two-division Bellator champion. With that said, is Patricio Pitbull on the same level or is he even better than the best the UFC has to offer?

Bellator vs UFC

This is yet another time where we are comparing the two biggest MMA promotions. Is Bellator on the same level as the UFC? 99% of the time the answer to that question is going to be an emphatic no.

However, Patricio Pitbull is a very special fighter and many believe he is one of if not the best featherweight in the world. At the same time, I think it’s very important to remember the competition level here.

Let’s take a look at the last four wins for the UFC champion. Volkanovski has defeated Max Holloway twice, Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes. That is quite astonishing considering how great all three of those fighters are.

The last five wins for the Bellator champion include Emmanuel Sanchez twice, Juan Archuleta, Pedro Carvalho, and Michael Chandler. Archuleta is the bantamweight champion and Carvalho and Sanchez are not on par with UFC competition.

I will give the Bellator champion all the credit in the world for the Chandler win. That is by far the best win of his career. However, I just can’t say that Patricio Pitbull is better or even on the same level as Alexander Volkanovski.

ESPN’s divisional rankings have this one right. They have the Bellator champion in fourth behind Volkanovski, Max Holloway, and Brian Ortega. I think that’s where he should be. I believe he could be a top five fighter in the UFC, but in my opinion, he wouldn’t be the best.

UFC: Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega named coaches of The Ultimate Fighter

On a night where Bellator returned, it might be the UFC that steals the headlines. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was told by Dana White tonight that Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC) will be the next coaches of The Ultimate Fighter.

The UFC had been searching for coaches and this one materialized due to a fight cancellation. Originally, Volkanovski was going to defend his featherweight title against T-City at UFC 260.

However, Volkanovski tested positive for COVID and the fight was called off. As a result, the UFC started working on a new date and the idea for them coaching The Ultimate Fighter began to materialize.

The show is set to begin filming later this month. Originally, the UFC was targeting Colby Covington – Jorge Masvidal as the coaches of TUF, however, things changed when the promotion shifted to Masvidal – Usman.

Combine that with the cancellation of the UFC 260 title fight and it was the perfect storm that led to Volkanovski and Ortega coaching. This will be the UFC‘s first season of TUF on the ESPN platform.

UFC featherweight title

As mentioned, the show begins filming later this month and will air in the early summer. The show usually runs for six weeks. The UFC is currently planning on Ortega and Volkanovski fighting after the show concludes.

Given the timeframes and what is currently booked, we will likely see the title fight in either August or September. For Volkanovski, he’s going to be searching for his second successful UFC title defense.

Many don’t believe that he won his first title defense against Max Holloway. This fight is pivotal in showing the world that he’s the best. For Brian Ortega, he’s going to get his second chance at capturing UFC gold.

His first attempt came against Max Holloway and he was completely dominated. However, Ortega returned last year after a lengthy layoff and looked like he could be the best featherweight in the UFC. This year’s TUF and this featherweight title fight should have fans excited.

BREAKING: Alexander Volkanovski – Brian Ortega off UFC 261

On the night where everyone should be excited to watch Kevin Holland and Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22, the promotion announced some tough news this evening. The UFC announced that the featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC) is off.

The fight was scheduled to be the co-main event of UFC 261 next weekend. According to the promotion, Volkanovski was pulled from the card due to COVID-19 protocol. As of now, the promotion will move forward with the card as is and the featherweight title fight will be booked for a later date.

However, at this time, there’s no word on exactly when the fight will take place. While the news just came out, one of the best targets to watch out for is UFC 262. That event will be held in Houston and is currently scheduled to be headlined by Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC flyweight title.

What’s the UFC’s plan?

As mentioned there is no target date at this time. Given the fact that both men are healthy and ready to go, you’d have to think that the UFC will look to turn this around as soon as possible. I cannot see a situation where this fight gets beyond the date of UFC 262 if both men are healthy.

Volkanovski was looking to defend his featherweight title for the second time. Last July at UFC 251, Volkanovski won a razor thin split decision over Max Holloway. The win was the second straight for Volkanovski over Holloway.

A few months after that title defense for Volkanovski, Brian Ortega made his UFC return. He dominated Chan Sung Jung over the course of five rounds. That win showed everyone the amount he had improved during his time off. Injuries had kept Ortega out of the octagon since his title defeat to Holloway a couple of years prior.

This story is still developing and my guess is that we should get a new date for this fight sometime this week. If I was to put money on it, I would strongly lean towards UFC 262 considering 261 already has three title fights on the card.

UFC: Brian Ortega’s dream scenario is to win the belt then fight Max Holloway

Brian Ortega, UFC

Next weekend at UFC 260, Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC) will get his second crack at the featherweight title. This time, standing in front of him is Alexander Volkanovski (22-1). Ortega’s first attempt came back at UFC 231 against Max Holloway (22-6).

Brian Ortega was being hyped up as the guy who could take the belt away from Max Holloway back in 2018. Ortega had shown improved striking and his incredible skills on the ground were said to be a threat to the champion at the time.

However, Ortega proved to be no match for Holloway. Holloway put on a dominant performance and the doctor had to stop the fight after the fourth round and Holloway retained his UFC featherweight title.

After that fight in December of 2018, Brian Ortega took some time off. Then, he had a round of injuries that kept him out of action. During that time, Alexander Volkanovski challenged and defeated Max Holloway for the title.

Although controversial, Volkanovski then defeated Holloway a second time at UFC 251. A few months after Volkanovski beat Holloway for the second time, Ortega made his long anticipated return against The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung (16-6).

Ortega was an underdog in the eyes of many due to the layoff. However, he quickly showed UFC fans that he’s much better than he was in 2018. Ortega dominated TKZ on the feet on his way to winning a decisive decision.

Ortega’s UFC dream scenario

That performance against Jung earned Ortega this shot at UFC 260. Ortega talked with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto this week about the fight and his future with the promotion. During the interview, Okamoto asked Ortega if the belt would mean more than beating Max Holloway.

Ortega gave a very interesting answer to this question. While capturing the UFC title is a dream of his, Ortega said he wouldn’t feel like the real champ until he beats Max Holloway. Holloway is the only man to have ever defeated him inside the octagon and that eats at him.

Ortega said that his dream scenario would be to defeat Volkanovski at UFC 260 then defend the title against Holloway. In that scenario, he could avenge his loss and capture the title. However, it all has to start with next Saturday night. I will say this, after seeing Ortega in October, I believe he’s fully capable of pulling it off.

After his dominant win at UFC Fight Island 7, what’s next for Max Holloway?

Heading into UFC Fight Island 7, I thought that Max Holloway (22-6) was going to need to be on his game to defeat Calvin Kattar (22-5). Kattar looked to be a dangerous contender and he was riding a ton of momentum.

Holloway on the other hand was just 1-3 in his last four fights. While you could make the argument that he defeated Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) at UFC 251, two of the scorecards said he lost which is what matters.

I wanted to see how Holloway would do in his first non-title fight since 2016. Would we get the Max Holloway who tore through the division on his way to capturing gold? Or would we get the more flat Max Holloway that lost to Volkanovski in December of 2019?

Well, at UFC Fight Island 7, we saw the best version of Max Holloway. Holloway put on the greatest performance I’ve ever seen him have. Of course he’s had other great ones, but there was just something about this performance that stood out.

He set virtually every striking record on Saturday. He landed over 400 significant strikes and one of the scorecards even read 50-42 which is unheard of. This was a one-sided beating and Max Holloway made a statement on Saturday.

What’s next after UFC Fight Island 7?

I’ve said for the last couple of months that the Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC) that we saw fight Chan Sung Jung was the best featherweight on the roster. Just the way he looked, I was blown away. However, Saturday changed that for me.

The Max Holloway that we saw at UFC Fight Island 7 is the best in the world. If that Holloway shows up to fight, not only do I think he defeats everyone at 145, but I think nobody even comes close to beating him. He’s that good when he’s on.

However, we haven’t really seen that dominant Max Holloway in a couple of years. The last time we saw that Holloway was against Brian Ortega. If this Max Holloway sticks around, he’s going to be the UFC featherweight champion again.

In March, Ortega will challenge Volkanovski for the featherweight title. No matter what the result, there is no doubting that Max Holloway is getting the next shot. He’s the clear number one contender and even a couple of days removed, I’m still blown away by his performance on Saturday.

UFC officially books Alexander Volkanovski – Brian Ortega

Last night, it was reported that the UFC wanted to have two massive fight fights for a second March PPV. However, neither fight was finalized and neither fight was relatively close to being finalized as of last night.

That has changed today. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani was first to report that the UFC has finalized the featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). The fight will take place at UFC 260 on March 27th.

For Alexander Volkanovski, this title defense will feel more like a redemption. While there’s no questioning how good the UFC featherweight champion is, it feels like he has something to prove heading into his March title defense.

Volkanovski dethroned Max Holloway (21-6) in December of 2019. Nobody questioned who won that fight. However, the two ran things back at UFC 251 and the majority of people believe that Holloway won the rematch. While Volkanovski walked away with the title, he lost support as champion.

That said, he will have his chance to really prove he’s the best in March. If he’s able to come out and put on a dominant performance, it will shut up all of the doubters who are saying that he’s walking around with Holloway’s title.

UFC 260’s featherweight title fight

That said, Volkanovski is going to have his hands full at UFC 260. In my opinion, the Brian Ortega that we saw in October against Chan Sung Jung looked like the best featherweight on the planet.

Ortega was crisp in his striking and he didn’t even have to go to the ground where we know he excels. The questions surrounding Ortega have always been around how good his striking was.

Yes, he knocked out Frankie Edgar, but he was lit up by Max Holloway. After nearly two years off due to injuries, Ortega came back looking like a new fighter. His striking looked better than ever and he might be the best featherweight in the UFC.

Well, he’s going to get his chance to prove it on March 27th. This is such a fantastic matchup and as of now the plan is for it to serve as the co-main event of the preview. The promotion is still working on finalizing the main event.

UFC targeting two massive title fights for second March PPV

MMA, Stipe Miocic

Since the calendar turned over to 2021, the UFC has been busy working on building it’s biggest year yet. They are kicking off the new year with a bang with three fantastic cards on Fight Island that starts tomorrow with Max Holloway – Calvin Kattar.

Of course, the biggest star in the sport, Conor McGregor, is headlining the first PPV next weekend at UFC 257. Despite all of this excitement in the next week, it’s actually the month of March that’s getting the hype.

The UFC has already announced a massive PPV event to kick things off in March. UFC 259 is scheduled for March 6th and has three title fights booked for that card with the headliner being Israel Adesanya – Jan Blachowicz.

Tonight, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani is reporting that the promotion has plans for another massive PPV at the end of March. Per Helwani, UFC 260 is being targeted for March 27th and the card would feature Stipe Miocic – Francis Ngannou 2 and Alexander Volkanovski – Brian Ortega.

Two UFC title fights

To start things off, it should be known that neither one of these fights for UFC 260 are finalized. However, let’s move with assumption that they will get done and let’s start with the main event of the evening.

The rematch between Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Francis Ngannou (15-3) is a fight that UFC fans have been waiting for. Ngannou has knocked out four straight opponents in the first round while Miocic just concluded his trilogy with Daniel Cormier.

While Miocic dominated the first fight, the general consensus is that Ngannou will be the favorite at UFC 260. Ngannou is looking better than ever while Miocic isn’t quite as good as he was when they first fought. The winner will take on Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) later in the summer.

Then we have the co-main event of the evening. The UFC featherweight title will be on the line as Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) will be taking on Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). Volkanovski will be making his second title defense.

In my opinion, Brian Ortega looked like the best featherweight in the world when he fought Chan Sung Jung back in October. Ortega has always been known for his ground skills, but his striking looked sensational.

Factoring both of those in with his cardio and size and you have a problem for the division. Despite being the champion, Alexander Volkanovski will have a lot to prove at UFC 260.

Most people believe that he lost to Max Holloway in their rematch in July. He will need to come out and make a statement to show the world that he truly is the best in the UFC’s featherweight division. This event is not official, but if it gets done, March is going to be insane.

UFC Fight Island 7 Preview: Max Holloway – Calvin Kattar

Tomorrow afternoon, the UFC returns with a sensational card from Fight Island. In the main event of the evening we have a featherweight contest between the former champion, Max Holloway (21-6), and Calvin Kattar (22-4).

For the first time since June of 2016, Holloway is going to be fighting in a non-title fight. The Blessed title era has been a great one in the UFC and it still might not be done yet. However, he’s got some work to do to get back to the title.

Holloway is coming into this contest having lost two fights in a row to the champion, Alexander Volkanovski (22-1). However, many believe that Holloway won the second matchup between the two men.

Nevertheless, Holloway is going to be entering the octagon tomorrow looking to prove he’s still the best in the world. However, there’s a very tough Boston-Born challenger standing in front of him.

Calvin Kattar had a sensational 2020. He started the year off in May by knocking out Jeremy Stephens then he defeated Dan Ige in a main event on Fight Island. Those two wins put him on the fringe of the UFC‘s top five at featherweight.

For his sensational year, the promotion has given him another headliner against Holloway. Kattar made it clear this week that if he defeats Max Holloway tomorrow, he expects to get a UFC title shot. 

UFC Fight Island 7 Prediction

This is going to be a very fun matchup. I’m expecting the UFC Fight Island 7 headliner to primarily be a standup fight considering the skillsets of both men. Kattar probably has the best pure boxing at featherweight.

However, Holloway has a much more diverse striking attack which will be key tomorrow. For Holloway to win the standup battle, he’s going to have to use his kicks. He’s going to have to keep mixing it up on Kattar to keep him on his toes.

If Holloway goes out and tries to just box with Kattar, he could be in trouble. I’m also going to give the power advantage to Calvin Kattar which should force Holloway to try and strike from range for most of the fight.

The style is going to determine this fight. If it’s a boxing match, Calvin Kattar is going to pickup the biggest win of his career. If they do a little more kickboxing, Holloway will win. While it’s close, I’m going to side with the former UFC featherweight champion her.

Prediction: Max Holloway by Unanimous Decision

Calvin Kattar wants a title shot with a win at UFC Fight Island 7

UFC

This weekend at UFC Fight Island 7, Calvin Kattar (22-4) has the biggest fight of his career. In the headliner, he’s taking on the former featherweight champion of the world, Max Holloway (21-6), in the UFC‘s first main event on ABC.

Kattar comes into the contest as the sixth ranked featherweight in the UFC. He’s 4-1 in his last five fights inside the octagon with the only loss coming to Zabit Magomedsharipov (22-1) in a fight that was taken on short notice.

That fight was a three round main event, however, if it had been a five round fight, many believe Kattar would have won. Instead, Zabit walked away with his hand raised that night. Kattar has since won two straight over Jeremy Stephens and Dan Ige.

The Boston Finisher knows that the opportunity in front of him at UFC Fight Island 7 is a big one. Max Holloway is considered by many in the business to still be the best featherweight on the planet.

Yes, he lost to the champion, Alexander Volkanovski (22-1), however, the majority believe he won their fight in July. Nevertheless, Holloway lost by split decision and now Kattar is getting his shot at the former champion.

Kattar spoke to the media yesterday to discuss the fight and his plans after. He made it very clear that he believes a UFC title shot should be next if he wins. Kattar told the media, “What else do you gotta do besides take out the number one guy?”

Should Kattar get a UFC title shot with a win?

Calvin Kattar is in a very interesting spot heading into Saturday night. He’s still ranked outside the top five, however, he’s taking on the number one contender. He definitely has a case for a title fight if he gets the win.

However, there is one fighter in front of him who could throw a wrench in his UFC title plans. That fighter being Zabit. Zabit already holds a victory over Kattar and he’s currently ranked third in the division.

If Kattar wins, everyone in front of him is either booked, suspended or coming off of a loss outside of Zabit. Currently, the promotion is targeting a title fight between Volkanovski and Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC) in the next couple of months.

Should Kattar get the win on Saturday, I think the fight to make would be the rematch between Zabit and Kattar. Give them both a full camp to show who is truly the better fighter between the two. If the UFC makes that fight, you’ll have a true number one contender in the division.

Max Holloway has a lot on the line at UFC Fight Island 7

This weekend in the headliner of UFC Fight Island 7, Max Holloway (21-6) will be taking on Calvin Kattar (22-4). The fight is Holloway’s first fight since he lost the rematch to Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) at UFC 251.

Granted, most people believe that Holloway won that fight. Nevertheless, Holloway will enter the cage this Saturday riding a two-fight losing streak. Saturday night is going to be a very interesting evening for Holloway.

UFC Fight Island 7’s headliner will be the first non-title fight for Holloway in almost five years. In June of 2016, Holloway fought Ricardo Lamas at UFC 199. Since then, it’s been all title fights for the blessed one.

Another reason that Saturday is so interesting is the fact that Holloway has so much on the line. Holloway is in a very difficult position at the moment having already lost to the current champion twice on paper.

End of the UFC’s Blessed Era

It’s not only that he’s lost to the current champion twice, but Holloway will enter the cage at UFC Fight Island 7 having gone just 1-3 in his last four fights. Granted, it’s all been to top competition.

He moved up and lost to Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title. Then of course, he’s had the back-to-back losses to Volkanovski. If Calvin Kattar wins Saturday evening, we might be seeing the end of the Blessed Era.

What we learned at UFC 236 was that Max Holloway is not a lightweight. When he fought Dustin Poirier, he looked so much smaller than Poirier. Featherweight is the ideal spot for the Hawaiian.

Calvin Kattar is riding a ton of momentum into Saturday evening. Holloway on the other hand is looking at a potential three-fight losing streak in the featherweight division. While it wouldn’t spell the end, it would spell a big tumble down the mountain.

For that reason, it could be looked at as a do or die at UFC Fight Island 7. There’s no shame in losing to Poirier, Volkanovski, and Kattar. However, 1-4 in five fights doesn’t show that you’re at the top of the heap in the UFC.