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

UFC Fight Island 7 Preview: Santiago Ponzinibbio – Jingliang Li

One of the storylines I’m most intrigued by tomorrow at UFC Fight Island 7 is the return of Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-3). The top Argentinian welterweight will fight for the first time since 2018 when he takes on Jingliang Li (17-6) on the main card.

A couple of years ago, Ponzinibbio looked like he was on his way to being a force in the UFC‘s welterweight division. Ponzinibbio had won seven fights in a row including wins over Neil Magny, Mike Perry, and Gunner Nelson.

However, it was the manner in which Ponzinibbio won some of these matchups. He completely starched the durable Neil Magny when those two fought in 2018. Ponzinibbio looked like he could become the UFC‘s first champion from Argentina.

However, his career has been derailed by injuries over the past couple of years. That Magny knockout was the last time we’ve seen Ponzinibbio in action. His return has been anticipated by many and the UFC gave him a great opponent for his return.

Standing in the way of a successful Ponzinibbio return is Jingliang Li. Li was riding high entering 2020 after he had won three straight. He got a big opportunity against Neil Magny back in March. He lost that fight by unanimous decision.

Since then, we haven’t seen Li back in the UFC. However, he’s been working hard to improve and he looks to be a tough challenge for Ponzinibbio. Whoever wins this fight should be ranked in the top 15 when the rankings are updated next week.

UFC Fight Island 7 Prediction

The one thing I really like about this matchup is the pressure that Li is going to put on Ponzinibbio. Ponzinibbio is going to be fighting for the first time in over two years at UFC Fight Island 7.

Li is not going to let him get super comfortable in the cage. He’s going to come right out with pressure and force Ponzinibbio right into the fire. Li is the type of guy who’s not going to blow you away with anything he does, but he’s tough and he pushes the pace.

When it comes to predictions, it all comes down to which Ponzinibbio we see tomorrow. If he’s back into his normal form, I think he’s going to land a clean counter and get the finish. However, if he’s too timid, Li can win this fight on points with his activity alone.

At the end of the day, I believe that Ponzinibbio is one of the better welterweights in the UFC. I think he’s going to fight with something to prove and I think he will get the stoppage win tomorrow.

Prediction: Santiago Ponzinibbio by TKO – Round 2

UFC Fight Island 7 Preview: Matt Brown – Carlos Condit

Tomorrow at UFC Fight Island 7, fight fans are getting to see a fight that we’ve waited years for. After years of this fight being discussed, we will finally get to see Matt Brown (22-17) and Carlos Condit (31-13) go to war.

Matt Brown is looking to bounce back from his knockout loss that happened back in May at the hands of Miguel Baeza. That loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for Brown where he had knocked out Ben Saunders and Diego Sanchez.

It’s been a very interesting ride for Matt Brown in the UFC. Brown had always been considered kind of a journeyman fighter early on. A fighter who was extremely entertaining, however, he could never get to the top.

Then we hit 2012. Staring in 2012, Matt Brown went on a seven-fight winning streak which included a win over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. That winning streak put him in a title eliminator against Robbie Lawler where he ultimately fell short.

While he’s had some entertaining fights since, he’s not been able to get back to that level in some time. Carlos Condit has been going through the same thing. Condit snapped a five-fight losing streak back in October on Fight Island.

The former interim UFC welterweight champion has struggled a lot since 2016. Like Brown, Condit lost a crucial fight to Robbie Lawler which seemed to really turn his career downhill. He’s looking to win his second straight tomorrow in what’s his final fight on his UFC contract. 

UFC Fight Island 7 Prediction

In reality, this is just a really fun matchup. These two are legends to the die-hards and even if they are far pass their primes, it’s just going to be fun to see these two mix it up at UFC Fight Island 7.

When it comes to the prediction, to me it’s going to come down to how Condit fights. For Carlos Condit to win, he needs to stay away from wild exchanges. I believe he’s got the technical advantage.

Matt Brown has the raw power advantage and for him to win, he needs it to be a brawl. If Condit is drawn into a brawl with Matt Brown, he might run the risk of getting knocked out or losing a decision.

Given the gravity of the situation for Condit, I expect him to fight smart. Don’t get me wrong, we are going to see some big exchanges, but I think Condit is going to work from the outside and edge this one out. I actually see this one going the distance.

Prediction: Carlos Condit by Unanimous Decision

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

Carlos Condit’s contract expires after UFC Fight Island 7

Carlos Condit

The Natural Born Killer has a lot on the line at UFC Fight Island 7. Former interim welterweight champion, Carlos Condit (31-13), will be fighting his final fight on his current deal with the UFC on Saturday night.

Condit is taking on Matt Brown (22-17) in a fight that fight fans have been waiting years for. The two gritty veterans are expected to put on a show and nobody is expecting this fight to go the distance.

It’s been a rough few years inside the UFC for Carlos Condit. Back in April of 2009, Condit made his debut with the promotion and lost a split decision to Martin Kampmann. After that, he went on an incredible run.

Condit won four straight fights which earned him a shot at Nick Diaz. The two headlined UFC 143 for the interim welterweight title and a chance to fight Georges St. Pierre for the undisputed title.

Condit won the fight and the interim title by unanimous decision. The Natural Born Killer went on to lose to GSP when they fought later in that same year. However, he did have his moments including dropping GSP with a headkick.

Rough UFC run over the last seven years

Entering 2013, Condit was looking to get back in the rhythm after losing to GSP. He started the year off by fighting Johny Hendricks and he lost by decision. After that fight, he was able to stop Martin Kampmann to avenge his earlier loss.

Tyron Woodley would be next up and he stopped Condit by a leg kick which ended up tearing the ACL of Condit. After that, Condit ended up taking a year off from the UFC to rehab his knee. He returned successfully against Thiago Alves in 2015.

That’s when Condit got his second title shot. He took on Robbie Lawler at UFC 195 and put on a clinic. Most people, including myself, felt that Condit should have won the decision and walked out with the title. However, the judges gave the fight to Lawler.

After that fight, Condit would lose four straight fights through the end of 2018. Condit made his UFC return back in October against Court McGee. Having lost five in a row, it was do or die for Condit. Condit ended up pulling out a big decision win.

Now, he will make the walk looking to win his second straight fight. Condit hasn’t won multiple fights in a row since 2012. Considering the UFC’s current state and this being the last fight on his deal, Condit needs to win on Saturday night and he needs to do it with style.

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.