After dominating Giga Chikadze at UFC Vegas 46, what’s next for Calvin Kattar?

UFC

The first UFC event of 2022 did not disappoint in the main event. Top featherweights went to war as Calvin Kattar (23-5) took on Giga Chikadze (14-3). Chikadze had been unbeaten inside the octagon and many thought he would run away with the main event at UFC Vegas 46.

However, Calvin Kattar set out to prove that he wasn’t going to be easily defeated. In the opening minutes, Chikadze looked very strong. He was much faster than Kattar and he was hitting him with brutal kicks. However, you could see Kattar’s game plan from the jump.

Kattar wanted to pressure Chikadze and constantly make him move backwards which would drain his energy. He also landed a takedown in the first round. Starting in the second round, Kattar really started to take over and brutalize Chikadze.

The pressure that Kattar fought with at UFC Vegas 46 was something to behold. He sliced up Chikadze with lead elbows and constantly was touching him with jabs and straight punches. That said, Chikadze didn’t give up and he kept firing back big power shots back at Kattar.

Despite his best shots, Chikadze couldn’t get Kattar out of there at UFC Vegas 46. In the end, it was a dominant shutout for the Boston Finisher.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 46?

Before this past weekend, everyone was talking about Giga Chikadze and a potential UFC title shot. Nobody was talking about Calvin Kattar and it looked like he took that personally. He bounced back in a big way after his brutal loss to Max Holloway last year.

Now, Kattar is not in a position to challenge for the title, but this puts him right back in the mix. Before he can get a title shot, he’s going to need another big win or two. With that, who should the UFC pair Kattar up with next?

In looking at the featherweight division, there’s one name that stands out to me. That name is Brian Ortega (15-2). To me, T-City would be the perfect next opponent for Kattar. Ortega has only been bested by Volkanovski and Holloway during his run in the UFC. If Kattar could get passed Ortega, it would prove that he’s ready for a title shot.

What’s next for Yair Rodriguez after UFC Vegas 42?

Yair Rodriguez

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 42, we saw a featherweight showdown between two of the best in the world. Former undisputed champion Max Holloway (23-6) was back as he took on the returning Yair Rodriguez (13-3, 1 NC).

It was the first time that Rodriguez had fought in over two years so you could say the UFC was throwing him into the fire. Back in January, Holloway put on his best career performance when he dismantled Calvin Kattar on Fight Island.

Given the layoff and how Holloway looked, nobody was giving Rodriguez a chance. Despite being ranked in the top five, Rodriguez was a massive underdog. Holloway could be found as a -800 favorite which is insane to think about given how talented Rodriguez is.

However, nobody really knew what to expect. Well, Rodriguez showed up in a big way at UFC Vegas 42. From the opening bell, he went right after Holloway. He landed brutal calf kicks and big combinations up top. He even seemingly hurt the former champion a couple of times.

However, the champion showed great resolve and came on strong as the fight went on. In the end, Holloway did enough late and fought hard to win a decision, but the fight couldn’t have been closer in my opinion.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 42?

Yes, Yair Rodriguez did not get his hand raised this past weekend. However, he didn’t walk out of UFC Vegas 42 a loser. In fact, his stock rose in my opinion given the way that he fought the former champion.

Given the way his last fight went, what should the UFC do next. In my opinion, there are two fights that I think would be perfect for Rodriguez. The first fight is against “T-City” Brian Ortega (15-2).

Ortega only has two losses and both of those came in UFC title shots. There’s no doubting that Ortega is the third best featherweight in the world. Rodriguez is near the top as well and he proved that on Saturday night.

I think that once these two heal up after the wars they’ve had, a showdown in the spring would be a sensational fight. Another wildcard option would be Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1).

It’s now been over two years since Zabit has last fought in the UFC. However, when he was fighting, he was being looked at as a world champion. Him and Rodriguez have been paired together a couple of times and the fight has always fallen through.

Zabit’s management has said that he’s getting ready to come back. Whenever he’s ready, I think a fight between him and Rodriguez would present an interesting new challenger for whoever is the featherweight champion at the time.

After successful title defense at UFC 266, what’s next for Alexander Volkanovski?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 266, Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) defended his featherweight title against Brian Ortega (15-2, 1 NC). Ortega was getting his second crack at UFC gold while Volkanovski was trying to defend for the second time.

When this fight was first announced, I really liked Ortega’s chances. The Brian Ortega that fought Chan Sung Jung last year looked like he could be the guy to take out Volkanovski. Or, so I thought.

Volkanovski has had an interesting run so for as UFC champion. He did the unthinkable when he defeated Max Holloway (22-6) to win the title. Then he barely edged out Holloway in the second fight to retain.

However, the split decision nature of the second fight has casted some doubts regarding his status as UFC champion. Well, Saturday night he did a pretty damn good job of silencing those who casted doubt.

From the opening bell, Volkanovski controlled the fight. Sensational feints and pinpoint striking had Ortega flustered throughout the fight. However, there was one moment where the fight almost went to Ortega.

Ortega locked in a mounted guillotine in the third round. It was so deep that I was tapping from my chair at home. However, the UFC champion gutted it out and survived. Ultimately, he won a lopsided unanimous decision.

What’s next after UFC 266?

Volkanovski now finds himself in an interesting spot after UFC 266. To me, the clear option for his next opponent is the trilogy with Max Holloway. However, Holloway has a fight with Yair Rodriguez in November so there’s likely going to be a layoff for the champ.

Nobody is expecting Holloway to have troubles with Yair Rodriguez so I think the plan is already in place for the UFC to do the trilogy. However, there could be an outside the box idea that could get considered.

Henry Cejudo (16-2) continues to tease a comeback. The former two-division UFC champion and Olympic Gold Medalist retired last year after defending his bantamweight crown. He’s talked about his desire to capture a belt in three weight classes which has never been done.

I do not expect the UFC to go in this direction, but I wouldn’t dismiss it either. If Volkanovski wants to fight relatively close to the beginning of the year, they might have to go a different direction than Holloway. That direction could be the King of Cringe.

What’s next for Brian Ortega after UFC 266?

Brian Ortega, UFC

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 266, the featherweight title was on the line. After coaching on The Ultimate Fighter, Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) defended his UFC title against Brian “T-City” Ortega (15-2, 1 NC).

I was incredibly intrigued by what kind of fight we would see from both men. Somehow, Volkanovski always seems to fly under the radar. Probably considering the fact that most believe he lost his second fight to Max Holloway.

Nevertheless, he holds two wins over Holloway and a win over Jose Aldo. He was the slight favorite, but there were a lot of people high on Brian Ortega. To be honest, I was one of them.

After Ortega’s performance against The Korean Zombie, I was convinced he was going to win the UFC title. However, over the last couple of weeks, I changed my pick leading up to the fight because I overlook Volkanovski so much and I’m glad I switched.

Ortega was game, but all night Volkanovski was a step ahead. However, there were two moments where Ortega almost got the win. In the third round, Ortega locked in a deep mounted guillotine choke.

Volkanovski admitted that he thought he was going to lose the belt, but he survived. Later in the round, Ortega almost got a triangle choke but against the champion slipped out. At the end of the day, Ortega came close, but Volkanovski retained at UFC 266.

What’s next for T-City after UFC 266?

Brian Ortega has now had two shots at UFC gold and he’s been brutalized in both of those fights. Max Holloway beat him up so bad that the doctors had to call a stop to the action.

The doctors almost had to call a stop to the fight on Saturday as well. However, despite how swollen and bloody Ortega got, he never stopped trying. In fact, he pushed forward and threw everything he had in the final round on Saturday night.

To me, it’s clear that Brian Ortega is not the best featherweight in the UFC, but he might be the toughest. His heart is unmatched and he wasn’t going anywhere despite the damage he took from the champion.

After this loss, he’s going to need to take some time off. However, when he’s ready to return, I think he’ll be right back in the mix. The Max Holloway – Yair Rodriguez fight is being looked at as a title eliminator in November.

Personally, I think a great fight would be with him and whoever loses that fight. That would give him enough time off, but it would also give him someone in a similar position. That’s what I think the UFC should do next for Ortega.

Alexander Volkanovski defeats Brian Ortega in a classic at UFC 266

In the main event of UFC 266, we saw a showdown for the featherweight championship. The undisputed UFC champion Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) was back to defend his title against “T-City” Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC).

Alexander Volkanovski lost his fourth professional fight which occurred in 2013. He hasn’t lost since. The champion is a perfect 9-0 in the UFC which includes two victories over Max Holloway. Volkanovski was hoping to add Ortega to his hit list.

That said, Brian Ortega was not going to be an easy challenge to overcome. T-City looks like a completely different fighter than he was a few of years ago when he got his first crack at the UFC title against Max Holloway.

After nearly a two year layoff due to injuries, Ortega returned last October and outclassed Chan Sung Jung. In that fight he showed tremendous improvement in his striking. He believes he’s now ready to become the UFC featherweight champion.

UFC 266 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 266 main event started with a touch of the gloves. Volkanovski throws a low kick to start the striking. Ortega looking to strike from range here in the opening minute. Body kick lands from the champion.

Low kick from Volkanovski and Ortega comes up top with a head kick attempt. Ortega pushes forward with a couple of nice jabs. A nice jab from Volkanovski as Ortega enters range. Big overhand right from the champion.

Nice low kick lands for Ortega. Ortega lands a jab that looked like it wobbled the legs of Volkanovski briefly, but he appears okay. Volkanovski goes right back to pressuring and lands some nice leg kicks.

Body kick from Volkanovski and he lands a check left hook. Jab lands for Ortega. Stiff jab from Volkanovski. Big right hand lands for Volkanovski. Both men are bleeding here near the end of the first.

Nice combination lands for Volkanovski and Ortega lands a nice leg kick. Body kick from the champion and Ortega lands a couple of nice straights. Ortega lands a couple of nice shots near the end of the first, but I have it 1-0 Volkanovski at UFC 266.

Round 2

Both men had their moments in the first at UFC 266 and neither gained a ton of momentum. The second starts with another touch of the gloves and Volkanovski goes right back to the pressure with low kicks.

Body kick from Volkanovski is countered by a beautiful combination from Ortega. Low kick from the champion lands and Ortega counters with a jab. Left hook from Volkanovski. Powerful leg kick from Ortega spins around Volkanovski.

Volkanovski lands a body kick flush. He steps in but Ortega lands a nice combination to back him off. Good lead hook from the champion. Volkanovski stepping up the pressure here.

Nice right hand by Ortega lands but Volkanovski is just plotting forward. Jab from Ortega countered by two leg kicks from Volkanovski. Huge combination lands for the champion and he’s getting more aggressive here.

Powerful leg kick from Ortega backs Volkanovski up for a second. However, the champion keeps moving forward. Another good 1-2 lands for Volkanovski. Jab from Volkanovski countered by a leg kick from Ortega. The second ends nd I think it’s 2-0 Volkanovski at UFC 266.

Round 3

Brian Ortega has had moments, but he needs to win this round. They touch gloves to start the third and Ortega lands a jab to start the striking. Good low kick counter from Volkanovski. Volkanovski lands another kick and that one seemed to hurt Ortega a little.

Ortega tries to counter but doesn’t land. Pressure from the champion who’s looking for that leg kick. Ortega steps in and eats a massive combination from Volkanovski. Ortega seems a little wobbly here and Volkanovski is putting a ton of pressure on him.

However, a big combination from Ortega stops the pressure. Nice overhand shot from Volkanovski. Ortega is really busted up now, but he comes back and lands a good shot. Big left hand lands for Volkanovski.

Nice left hook lands for Ortega but his nose looks smashed. Nice jab from the champion. Volkanovski slips and Ortega takes big advantage. Ortega locks in a mounted guillotine and it’s very tight.

The champion almost seems out but somehow survives. Volkanovski then gets top position and he’s pouring it on Ortega badly. Then Ortega locks in a triangle choke and it’s very deep.

Once again the champion survives and pushes through. Volkanovski starts raining down massive shots to the end the round. Goodness gracious what a round at UFC 266.

Round 4

Entering the fourth and the fans are on their feet at UFC 266. The doctors almost stopped it in between rounds but we fight on. Volkanovski immediately on the pressure to start the fourth round.

Low kick lands for the champion. Two straight jabs from Volkanovski. Ortega is still trying to recover a bit. The challenger is plotting forward now and lands a nice right hand. Good jab from Volkanovski finds the mark.

Powerful left hook lands from the champion. Ortega gets a body lock and gets a takedown. The challenger immediately tries to jump on another choke, but he can’t lock it in. Volkanovski ends up on top and the ground and pound starts.

Big elbows from Volkanovski landing here. Ortega is still trying to attack with submissions, but he seems really exhausted here. Big shots landing from the champion. Volkanovski postures up and he’s landing massive shots on Ortega.

The referee is looking at stopping this one. More big shots from Volkanovski land. Volkanovski backs up and lets Ortega stand up. Ortega looks out on his feet, but he makes it to the end of the round. 4-0 Volkanovski at UFC 266.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC 266 and Ortega is going to need a miracle here. They touch gloves and here we go. Ortega pushes forward and tries to land a big shot but nothing home.

Head kick attempt from Ortega and Volkanovski is pressing forward. Big jab from Volkanovski lands. He doubles up on it which forces a takedown attempt from Ortega. Volkanovski backs him up and lands an elbow against the fence.

Nice little right hook lands for Ortega. Ortega coming on a little here the fifth and he’s really trying. Volkanovski lands a nice combination which slows him down a bit. Ortega is now the one pushing forward as Volkanovski is slowing a bit.

Big right hand over the top from Ortega. These two are just standing and trading. Nice uppercut and right hand from Ortega. Now it’s Volkanovski who starts pressuring the challenger.

Nice jab lands for Volkanovski. Flying knee to the body lands for Ortega. Ortega is wearing damage but he’s just walking forward through everything. They both trading big shots. Ortega goes all out in the final seconds but can’t find the finish. He will win the final round, but not the fight.

Alexander Volkanovski def. Brian Ortega by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-44, 49-46)

UFC 266 Preview: Alexander Volkanovski – Brian Ortega

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC 266, we will see a showdown for the featherweight championship. The undisputed UFC champion Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) is back to defend his title against “T-City” Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC).

This fight comes on the heels of the two men coaching opposite each other on this season of The Ultimate Fighter. Originally, they were supposed to fight in March, however, the fight got pushed back after the champion came down with covid.

Alexander Volkanovski lost his fourth professional fight which occurred in 2013. He hasn’t lost since. The champion is a perfect 9-0 in the UFC which includes two victories over Max Holloway. Volkanovski is hoping to add Ortega next to his hit list.

That said, Brian Ortega is not going to be an easy challenge to overcome. T-City looks like a completely different fighter than he was a few of years ago when he got his first crack at the UFC title against Max Holloway.

After nearly a two year layoff due to injuries, Ortega returned last October and outclassed Chan Sung Jung. In that fight he showed tremendous improvement in his striking. He believes he’s now ready to become the UFC featherweight champion.

UFC 266 Prediction

I’m expecting Brian Ortega to start out really strong at UFC 266. To be completely honest with you, I think he’s going to take the champion by surprise throughout the first two rounds on the feet.

Perhaps, maybe even Ortega hurts the champion here or there. However, I think Volkanovski is going to press through it. On pure activity, I really like Volkanovski the longer the fight goes.

The champion has shown the ability to make adjustments on the fly and adapt to whatever his opponent is doing. He did that in his last fight with Max Holloway and I think he’ll do it again tomorrow night.

We are in for a tremendous main event, but I truly believe that the UFC title is going to stay with New Zealand’s City Kickboxing tomorrow night. It’ll be close, but Volkanovski will retain.

Prediction: Alexander Volkanovski by Split Decision

After sensational win at UFC Vegas 35, what’s next for Giga Chikadze?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 35, we saw a big time showdown in the featherweight division. Two of the very best and most dynamic strikers in the promotion went head-to-head as Giga Chikadze (14-2) took on Edson Barboza (22-10).

Since moving down to 145 pounds, Edson Barboza has looked tremendous. Had it not been for poor judging, he would’ve carried a perfect record at 145 pounds into UFC Vegas 35‘s main event.

That said, Chikadze was going to be his toughest test to date. Barboza has always been known for his tremendous striking. However, this was really the first time he was going to be going up against someone that’s at a higher level.

Giga Chikadze showed just how special he is on Saturday night. Barboza has always stifled opponents with his speed and power. However, he was lacking in both of those categories compared to Chikadze on Saturday night.

Giga landed beautiful kicks throughout the first couple of rounds. He also had bursts where he was so much faster compared to Barboza. Eventually, he caught him with the shot he was looking for. In the third round, Chikadze poured it on and stopped Barboza at UFC Vegas 35.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 35?

After the fight was over, there was one name on the mind of Giga Chikadze. That name was former UFC featherweight champion and arguably the greatest featherweight in the history of the promotion, Max Holloway (22-6).

Holloway was supposed to headline a Fight Night in July against Yair Rodriguez. That bout was expected to be a UFC title eliminator, however, Holloway had to pull out of the fight with an injury.

Currently, the UFC is targeting that fight for November according to Dana White. However, Chikadze might have changed the plan. There’s no word on it yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the promotion tries to get Chikadze in that spot.

If Holloway isn’t next, Chikadze wants to be the backup fighter for the UFC 266 main event. Next month, Alexander Volkanovski will defend against Brian Ortega. If one of those guys falls out, Chikadze wants to be the backup. I could see the promotion doing that as well.

Either way, Chikadze is going to be at the very top of the UFC’s featherweight division once the new rankings come out. Don’t be surprised to see the featherweight from Georgia in a title eliminator in his next fight.

UFC’s TUF 29 bantamweight final is set

Tonight on the UFC‘s Ultimate Fighter on ESPN+, we saw the final semi-final matchup in the bantamweight division. Team Ortega’s Vince Murdock (12-4) was taking on Brady Hiestand (5-1) of Team Volkanovski.

Prior to this episode, Team Volkanovski’s Ricky Turcios (10-2) punched his ticket to the UFC‘s Ultimate Finale. He did so by defeating Liudvik Sholinian by decision. Hiestand was looking to make the bantamweight finale a Team Volkanovski exclusive event.

Prior to the fight on tonight’s episode, the two coaches squared off in the coaches challenge. The challenge on this season was a good ole fashion game of cornhole. Brian Ortega seemed much more confident than the UFC champion Volkanovski going into the challenge.

The winning coach was set to receive $10,000 along with $1,500 for each member of his team. Ortega was able to win the game of cornhole then he turned to UFC president Dana White and asked if he could make his winnings $12,000.

White agreed and Ortega said that he was distributing the $12,000 to the fighters of Team Volkanovski so every fighter would get $1,500. A very classy move by T-City.

UFC’s Bantamweight Finale Set

After the coaches challenge, it was time to move on to the fight. Again, the winner was going to be fighting at The Ultimate Finale with a shot to earn a contract with the UFC.

When the fight started out, Hiestand immediately moved forward with pressure. Murdock looked to strike on the outside, but Hiestand did a really good job of closing the distance.

Hiestand was able to get in deep on a double leg and he took Murdock to the ground. Once the fight was on the ground, it was all Hiestand. Hiestand passed Murdock’s guard with relative ease and eventually found himself in an extremely dominant position.

He started raining down punches and the referee called a stop to the action in the first and the UFC featherweight champion has two fighters competing at the finale. After the fight, we learned that Murdock suffered a knee injury early on in the round.

UFC Bantamweight Finale – Ricky Turcios vs Brady Hiestand

Volkanovski – Ortega and Shevchenko – Murphy booked for UFC 266

The UFC is planning a massive event for their September PPV. First we learned earlier today that the matchup between Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) and Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC) was finalized for UFC 266 on September 25th.

The rematch between the two legends will be a five-round, non-title, non-main event matchup. This is only the second time that the UFC has ever done this. Nate Diaz – Leon Edwards was the first matchup to get the non-main event five-round treatment.

Now, we have learned that the promotion is adding two title fights on top of it. Dana White confirmed with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto this evening that the promotion had finalized a featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and top contender Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC).

Both men are fresh off of their coaching stints on The Ultimate Fighter and they are ready to battle it out. Originally, the two men were supposed to fight back in March. However, the UFC featherweight champion came down with COVID and the fight got pushed back.

The delay ended up being a blessing in disguise as the two men coached on TUF which created more intrigue around the matchup. While this featherweight title fight is exciting, it’s not the only title fight that’s heading to UFC 266.

UFC flyweight title on the line

White also told ESPN this evening that the flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko (21-3), will be defending her title against Lauren Murphy (15-4). The matchup will be the co-main event of UFC 266.

Murphy has won five fights in a row on her way to earning this shot at Shevchenko. She’s also one of the few flyweights in the top ten that hasn’t had a chance to fight Shevchenko. On September 25th, she will get her chance.

Lauren Murphy is going to be a massive betting underdog and for good reason. You can easily make the argument that skill-for-skill, Valentina Shevchenko is the best female fighter on the planet. Honestly, it is something truly special to watch her compete inside the octagon.

The only losses she has in the UFC have come against Amanda Nunes at 135 pounds. Granted, I still maintain that I thought Shevchenko won the last time they fought. At flyweight, Shevchenko is a perfect 7-0. During that stretch, she has four finishes and in her three decisions, she’s lost a grand total of two rounds.

UFC: TUF 29 Episode 1 Recap

UFC, Dana White

Last night, the UFC‘s Ultimate Fighter reality show made it’s return on ESPN+. This season is being coached by featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and top contender Brian Ortega.

The two men were supposed to fight back at UFC 260, but Volkanovski got COVID and the fight was cancelled. With that, the UFC pivoted to having the two top featherweights coach against each other on The Ultimate Fighter.

After the show concludes, the two men will fight. Currently, the UFC is targeting September for their title fight. This season of TUF features prospective bantamweights and middleweights.

Last night, the UFC’s reality show kicked off with coaches evaluations, team selections, and of course the first fight. There wasn’t a ton of drama in the first episode, but we did see the first finish of the year inside the UFC‘s APEX.

UFC TUF 29 Fight 1: Petroski – Phillips

Kicking off the action in TUF 29 was a middleweight matchup between Andre Petroski (5-1) and Aaron Phillips (5-2). Team Ortega picked this matchup first after the UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski picked the first fighter.

Petroski was representing Team Ortega while Phillips was on Team Volkanovski. During the show, Phillips had talked about the fact that he lacked traditional training and learned a lot of his techniques from YouTube videos.

Not exactly the upbringing in martial arts you would expect from a potential UFC fighter. Nevertheless, he’s fought to a 5-2 record and made his way on to The Ultimate Fighter.

When the fight started out, both men took their time to just feel the other out. The first have of the round saw Phillips explode forward a few times, but really there wasn’t a ton of action in terms of the striking.

Just after the halfway point, Petroski shot in for a takedown and got Phillips down. Petroski immediately moved to side-control and started looking for an arm-triangle. He switched it to a guillotine after he moved to the mount.

The choke was in deep and Phillips was forced to tap. Andre Petroski won the UFC’s first fight of the season in it’s debut on ESPN+ by first round submission. A good way to start the season and a good way to start TUF.