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.

DWCS Week 4 Recap: Who won UFC contracts last night?

UFC, Dana White

The UFC hosted their fourth week of the 2020 run of Dana White’s Contender Series. Up until now, White has been very generous giving out contracts through the first three weeks. Already, the promotion has welcomed 12 new fighters to the UFC.

Last night, there were some incredibly impressive performances. We saw finishes, and some solid action all around. With how impressive things were last night, the UFC shelled out four new contracts last night.

The UFC Welcomes Four New Fighters

White had nothing but glowing things to say about the winners of last night’s fights. Only one winner last night didn’t walk away with a contract and that was 23 year old Anthony Romero (8-0).

White said he wants Romero to continue to get better and gain more experience before jumping into the UFC. Now, let’s look at the four fighters who did get contracts.

Collin Huckbody

The first UFC contract of the evening was handed out to middleweight Collin Huckbody (8-2). Huckbody took on Kyron Bowen in the first fight of the night. Huckbody came into last night with five of his seven wins coming via submission.

When the fight started, Huckbody was able to get it to the ground pretty easily. He was able to work his way to mount and secured an arm-triangle for the first round submission. White was extremely impressed and gave the Minnesota based fighter a contract to jump into the UFC‘s middleweight division.

Jeff Molina

The second contact of the evening was handed out to flyweight Jeff Molina (8-2). Molina was in an incredible fight with Jacob Silva in the third fight of the evening. It was an entertaining flyweight scrap that left many saying that both guys deserved contracts.

White said how he loved the mentality that Molina fights with. He said he was perfect for the UFC and that’s what won Molina the contract. While Silva lost and didn’t get a contract, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the UFC sooner than later as well.

Rafael Alves

The third UFC contract was handed out to featherweight contender, Rafael Alves (19-9). Alves had a mishap entering the octagon when he did his signature backflip to entering the octagon. White mentioned in the post-fight press conference how he couldn’t stand that.

Despite that, Alves put on a very strong performance in his fight. He looked dynamic and explosive. He pulled off a slick guillotine in the second round to finish off Alejandro Flores. White called Alves a physical freak, and Alves was awarded a UFC contract.

Jamie Pickett

The final UFC contract of the evening was handed out to a guy who was making his third appearance on the Contender Series. Middleweight Jamie Pickett (11-4) had gone 0-2 in his first two attempt in trying to get into the UFC.

For Pickett, the third time was definitely the charm. Pickett looked fantastic last night and finished his opponent in the second round with an astonishing 22 punch combination. White loves fighters who go for the finish, and that finish was spectacular.