UFC: Will Giga Chikadze replace Holloway against Yair Rodriguez?

Last week we learned that the main event between former UFC champion Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez was off. Holloway sustained an injury and had to pull out of the Fight Night main event that was scheduled for July 17th.

At first, it looked like the UFC was focused on getting the fight rescheduled. However, we have now learned that the promotion has been shopping for replacements in order to keep Rodriguez on the July 17th card.

The top name on the replacement list is the native of Georgia, Giga Chikadze (13-2). Chikadze made his UFC debut back in September of 2019 and he’s already fought six times for the promotion. He’s gone a perfect 6-0 inside the octagon.

After some close decisions to start his UFC career, Chikadze has been incredibly dominant. His last two performances really stood out as he stopped James Krause-Simmons and Cub Swanson in the first round by TKO.

The Cub Swanson victory was incredibly impressive and Chikadze has been moving up in the UFC‘s welterweight division. The promotion has called Chikadze about being the replacement and he says he’s accepted. However, he posted on his Instagram page that Rodriguez is playing games.

Will the UFC book the fight?

As you can see from the above video, Chikadze has accepted the UFC’s offer to replace Holloway. However, Rodriguez has yet to accept the fight and is said to be weighing his options.

A lot will come down to how long Max Holloway is going to be out. Rodriguez hasn’t fought in nearly two years and he needs to get back in the cage. However, it’s obvious that he relishes the opportunity to fight someone like Max Holloway.

Giga Chikadze is an incredibly dangerous fight for Rodriguez. Chikadze could use him as a stepping stone and Rodriguez wouldn’t gain a ton by picking up the win himself. If Holloway isn’t going to be out too long, I expect Rodriguez to hold out for the former UFC champion.

However, if Holloway’s return is going to take some time, he should take this fight with Chikadze. He needs to get back in there and Chikadze would be a great fight for him.

After UFC Vegas 29 victory, what’s next for Chan Sung Jung?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 29, Chan Sung Jung (17-6) took on Dan Ige (15-4) in the main event. The matchup was a pivotal one for the featherweight division. The winner was expected to move up towards the top of the rankings.

Heading into UFC Vegas 29, there were a lot of questions surrounding The Korean Zombie. Jung’s loss to Brian Ortega last October took a lot out of him. The damage he’s taken over his career and the loss to Ortega had The Zombie briefly considering hanging up the gloves.

However, Jung decided that he wanted to fight on and he took the matchup with Dan Ige. Ige was coming off of a 20 second knockout and he was looking for that one signature win that would put him in title contention.

The fight on Saturday night was very back-and-forth. Both men had their moments, but at UFC Vegas 29, there was one man that was clearly getting the better of things and that was Chan Sung Jung.

Dan Ige showed that he can hang with The Zombie, however, Jung was too much for him on Saturday night. In the end, all three judges gave the fight to Chan Sung Jung and as a result, the UFC‘s Korean Zombie is back on track.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 29?

After the event, there was one name on the mind of TKZ. Jung took to the post-fight press conference where he made it clear that he wanted to face former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway (22-6) in his next fight.

Jung said that he doesn’t believe Holloway has the power to hang with him. Holloway recently was scratched from his UFC main event against Yair Rodriguez next month. The former featherweight champion had to pull out due to an injury.

The promotion is leaning towards rebooking the fight, however, there has been replacement talks. If Rodriguez gets a replacement opponent, I think a fight between Holloway and Jung would be fantastic. It would provide a true number one contender in the UFC’s featherweight division.

UFC headliner between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez postponed

Some unfortunate UFC news was broken this morning by ESPN Deportes. The outlet reported that the highly anticipated headliner next month between Max Holloway (22-6) and Yair Rodriguez (13-2, 1 NC) is off.

The fight was set to headline a UFC Fight Night on July 17th. ESPN reported that Holloway has sustained an injury and will not be ready to compete next month. However, the promotion is keeping the fight together and is already working on new dates.

At this time there is no word on the severity of the injury to Max Holloway. This fight was being looked at as a title eliminator as both Holloway and Rodriguez are ranked at the very top of the UFC‘s featherweight division.

Back in January, Max Holloway put on the best performance of his career. On Fight Island, Holloway fought Calvin Kattar and broke virtually every significant strike record. In reality, that performance should have earned him another shot at the UFC title.

Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega were set to fight at UFC 260 in March for the featherweight title. The winner of that fight would have lined up perfectly with Max Holloway, however, Volkanovski got COVID and that fight was pushed back.

Better timing for the UFC

Volkanovski and Ortega ended up coaching The Ultimate Fighter and now they are currently scheduled to fight at the end of September at UFC 266. Again, there’s no word on the severity of Holloway’s injury. However, this fight getting pushed back actually works out better in lining up the two headlining featherweight fights.

The early word is that the fight could be rescheduled for September or early October which again lines up perfectly. This featherweight headliner is the biggest fight of Yair Rodriguez’s UFC career.

By the time the fight comes together, Rodriguez would have nearly been off for two years. The last time we saw Rodriguez in the UFC was October of 2019 when he defeated Jeremy Stephens. There have been a number of issues that have kept him out of action.

However, he’s back and he’s ready to go. This fight should be a fantastic one whenever it takes place and it will provide a clear-cut number one contender in the UFC’s featherweight division.

UFC books headliner between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez

The UFC has finalized a sensational headliner in their featherweight division. Dana White broke the news tonight to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that the promotion had finalized a main event between Max Holloway (22-6) and Yair Rodriguez (13-2, 1 NC).

The matchup will headline a UFC Fight Night on July 17th. This is by far the biggest opportunity in the career of Yair Rodriguez. Rodriguez has had a ton of hype surrounding him since he joined the UFC a few years ago.

His flashy style and highlight reel knockouts made him an instant fan favorite. However, he was rushed to the top quickly and Frankie Edgar completely dominated him at UFC 211. That loss alone forced Rodriguez to stay away for over a year.

Once he made his UFC return, Rodriguez knocked out Chan Sung Jung in the final seconds of their fight. A year after that matchup, he defeated Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision.

The problem for Rodriguez has been his activity level. Since the Frankie Edgar loss at UFC 211, Rodriguez has only fought three times. Due to a suspension and injuries, this fight against Holloway will be his first since October of 2019.

The former UFC champion returns

Back in January, Max Holloway fought in his first non-title UFC fight for the first time since 2016. The former champion was coming off back-to-back losses to Alexander Volkanovski and he was looking to make a statement.

Standing in his way was Calvin Kattar. Kattar played the part of sacrificial lamb as Max Holloway put on a performance like we’ve never seen before. Holloway set virtually every UFC striking record as he battered Kattar for five rounds.

The Max Holloway we saw in January looked like the best featherweight in the world. After that performance, it looked like Holloway would get his title shot in the summer.

However, Alexander Volkanovski got COVID and his UFC title fight with Brian Ortega was pushed back. So, Holloway was left with either waiting things out or taking another fight. When the UFC offered him this main event, he jumped at the chance. If you’re a fight fan, you should be pumped for this one.

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: 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.

After getting battered at UFC Fight Island 7, what’s next for Calvin Kattar?

UFC

UFC Fight Island 7 was an opportunity for Calvin Kattar (22-5) to have a big coming out party on the biggest of stages. The promotion was making their debut on ABC and Kattar was in the main event against former featherweight champion, Max Holloway (22-6).

Kattar is known for his incredibly crisp boxing and he talked a lot about it during the leadup. Hell, even I said in my preview of UFC Fight Island 7 that Max Holloway would need to mix it up a lot in order to win. I wasn’t sure how he would do in pure boxing with Kattar.

Well, there’s not an aspect of striking where Max Holloway didn’t dominate at UFC Fight Island 7. This fight was supposed to be very close on paper, however, Max Holloway simply showed the world that there are levels to this.

Calvin Kattar was completely dismantled over five rounds by the former champion. Kattar landed some good shots here and there, but at the end of the day, this was an extremely one-sided beating by Max Holloway.

To give you an idea of how lopsided it was, think about this. Holloway landed a UFC record 445 significant strikes. Calvin Kattar only landed 133. Holloway landed 312 more significant strikes and the scorecards read 50-43, 50-43, 50-42.

What’s next after UFC Fight Island 7

Let me just say this, Calvin Kattar is still one of the better featherweights in the UFC. You can’t just have the 2020 that he had without being near the top of the division. However, Max Holloway showed us that Kattar has a long ways to go.

I think it’s going to take some time before we see Kattar again in the UFC. With the beating he took, he’s going to need some time to recover and regroup. Considering his place in the division and who he’s already faced, I think there are a couple of options for his return.

One of the options I really like is a fight between him and Josh Emmett (16-2). Emmett is one of the most powerful strikers in the UFC’s featherweight division. He’s also riding a three-fight winning streak. However, he’s recovering from knee surgery.

As of now, there’s no real timeline for his return, but I think him and Kattar would match up well. Another option would be Sodiq Yusuff (11-1) who’s currently ranked tenth in the featherweight division.

Yusuff is unbeaten in the UFC and that would be another fun matchup for Kattar upon his return. Calvin Kattar is still going to be a factor at 145, but yesterday was a harsh dose of reality in that he’s not quite ready for the very best.

Max Holloway hands Calvin Kattar a five-round beatdown at UFC Fight Island 7

In the main event of UFC Fight Island 7, we had a massive featherweight contest between Max Holloway (21-6) and Calvin Kattar (22-4). Holloway was fighting in his first non-title fight since 2016 in the main event.

The former UFC featherweight champion was looking to get back on track having lost two in a row. Granted both of those losses came against the current champion, Alexander Volkanovski (22-4).

While the majority believed Holloway deserved an immediate rematch after their second fight, the UFC decided to have both guys move on for now. So Holloway decided to take this matchup against The Boston Finisher.

Calvin Kattar had a sensational 2020. He scored a huge knockout over Jeremy Stephens then he won the second headliner on Fight Island against Dan Ige. If Kattar was to pickup a win over Holloway, he believed it would earn him a title shot.Β 

UFC Fight Island 7 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Fight Island 7 main event got underway with a couple of quick hooks from Holloway. Kattar got his striking started with a low calf kick on the former champion. Kattar landed a stiff jab and followed it with another low kick.

Holloway then pushed forward and landed a clean combination of his own. Both men exchanged leg kicks, but Holloway was being much more active with his hands. Kattar landed another solid jab, but Holloway came in and landed another crisp combination after.

Halfway through the round and the former UFC champion was really putting the pressure on Kattar. Holloway was mixing it up extremely well going low and high. Kattar landed a couple of clean right hands over the top on Holloway with 90 seconds left in the round.

Holloway responded by throwing another good combination. Kattar was doing a good job of landing low kicks, but Holloway was really lighting him up with combinations in the first. Holloway looked much quicker in the first round.

Holloway then landed a flush spinning back kick to the body and followed it with his hands. Kattar landed some good shots, but the first round was all Holloway.

Round 2

The second round started and Kattar immediately was looking more aggressive. However, Holloway was countering well then went right back on the attack. Holloway was starting to have some fun in the second round.

Kattar was waiting too much and he was taking a lot of shots from Holloway as a result. Holloway was throwing everything from kicks to knees to hands in the second. However, a clean right hand from Kattar staggered Holloway momentarily.

Holloway seemed to recover well and went right back on the attack. Halfway through the round and the former UFC champion continued landing clean combinations. However, Kattar was landing more as the round went on.

Two minutes left in the round and Holloway unloads a big combination. Kattar took it well, but he was looking overwhelmed by the former UFC champion. Kattar just had no room to breathe in this one.

Holloway stepped in and wobbled Kattar with a massive elbow. Holloway then followed up with a vicious combination, but Kattar wouldn’t go away. Kattar was busted wide open and he tried to clinch with Holloway. Another massive elbow for the former UFC champ. Dominant round two for Holloway.

Round 3

Kattar looked really busted up as the third round started, but he was game. Holloway went right back to work with combinations as the round started. The former UFC champion was completely lighting Calvin Kattar up in the third round.

Kattar clinched with Holloway trying to slow down the onslaught in the third. Holloway separated and started landing again. However, Kattar landed a massive uppercut that stopped Holloway in his tracks. Both men then exchanged massive power shots.

Two minutes into the round and the former UFC champion landed a solid one-two down the middle. Holloway then landed a big body kick and a huge uppercut behind it. Kattar was game though but he was busted up bad.

Kattar then landed a massive overhand right on Holloway. However, Holloway continued to walk him down. Holloway ripped to the body with 90 seconds left in the round. Kattar tried to time Holloway for a big shot, but he whiffed and ate a combination for his troubles.

Holloway’s pressure was relentless and with under a minute left he ripped another massive combination. Kattar was getting no room to breathe and continued to eat big shots from the former UFC champion. Three dominant rounds in the books for Max Holloway.

Round 4

The fourth round started and again, the former UFC champion went right back to work. Kattar missed on a right hand and ate four shots after he missed. Holloway really was working the body early in the fourth round.

Kattar was whipping hooks, but Holloway’s head movement looked incredible. Holloway pressed forward and landed another big combination 90 seconds into the round. Kattar did land a really good left hook on Holloway, but the former UFC champ seemed unphased.

Three minutes left in the round and Holloway had Kattar pressed against the fence. Holloway started unleashing massive shots and Kattar was in deep trouble. Kattar was whipping shots trying to fight back, but he was getting beat down.

Two minutes left in the round and Holloway looked moments away from a finish. The body shots were doing so much damage to Kattar. However, Kattar wasn’t backing up and he was still fighting.

Holloway was actually looking a little tired and Kattar landed a big overhand right that backed up the former UFC champion. Kattar missed on a combination and Holloway landed with a clean headkick to close the round. Four to nothing in dominant fashion for Max Holloway.

Round 5

Entering the final round and Kattar was needing a miracle at UFC Fight Island 7. The two men touched gloves to start things in the fifth round. Holloway went right back to work with his combinations and ripped another shot to the body.

Kattar was still throwing heat, however, he wasn’t landing. A minute into the round and Holloway started working his jab. Holloway landed a clean right that wobbled the legs of Calvin Kattar.

The former UFC champion broke the nose of Kattar with another clean combination. Max Holloway was putting on a clinic in this one. Kattar threw back a couple of shots and did land and Holloway smiled.

Two minutes left and Holloway continued to press forward throwing shots. Holloway then lands a no look right hand and yells at Kattar that he’s the best boxer in the UFC. Kattar did land a shot, but then ate several clean shots from Holloway.

Holloway was talking mad trash in the final minute and was beating down Calvin Kattar. Thirty seconds left and Kattar threw some big shots but nothing was home. The final bell sounds and this one sided beating is over. Y’all must’ve forgot about Max Holloway!

Max Holloway def. Calvin Kattar by Unanimous Decision (50-43, 50-43, 50-42)

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.Β 

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