Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Kattar event is in the books, and now it’s time to go to the scorecard to see who the big winners were at Etihad Arena.
I might as well join the chorus of those proclaiming Max Holloway’s main event win over Calvin Kattar as one of the greatest performances we’ve seen in the Octagon. On from start to finish, Holloway’s effort was a reminder that the best days of the former featherweight champion may still be yet to come, and for him to do it in the UFC’s first event on ABC made it even more impressive because somewhere, someone who never saw MMA before watched Holloway’s master class and said, “I think I’m gonna stick around and watch some more of this stuff.” That’s big.
See All The Results From UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs Kattar
Every fight is important in the UFC, but some hold more weight than others, and that was the position Italy’s Alessio Di Chirico was in on Saturday night against rising star Joaquin Buckley following three straight losses. But with his job possibly on the line, Di Chirico stepped up with a head kick knockout that not only put him back in the win column, but also earned him a Performance of the Night bonus and the kind of momentum he can use moving forward in a wide-open middleweight division.
Take away Li Jingliang’s March 2020 loss to Neil Magny, and few welterweights have been as consistently exciting and successful as “The Leech,” who picked up perhaps the biggest win of his career on Saturday when he knocked out Santiago Ponzinibbio in the first round. It was another impressive notch in the belt of the China native, who has six post-fight bonuses since making his UFC debut in 2014. There’s no denying that Li is one of the best 170-pounders in the game, and he proved it again.
Kudos to Punahele Soriano and Dusko Todorovic for putting their unbeaten records on the line in their Saturday bout. As I wrote last week, that’s a rarity, but it shows the confidence both young men have in their skill sets. With that said, wow, what a win by Soriano, who showed that Hawaiian “Just Scrap” mentality to catch up to and finish Todorovic with a series of laser-like left hands. After more than a year on the sidelines, “Puna” is back, and what a welcome return it is.
Refreshed, recharged and with a clean bill of health after nearly two years away, Carlos Condit has now won two in a row in the Octagon, defeating Court McGee and Matt Brown in back-to-back bouts. For reference, that’s the first time “The Natural Born Killer” has achieved that feat since he beat Dong Hyun Kim and Nick Diaz consecutively in 2011-12. That’s an amazing milestone for the 36-year-old, who is showing that sometimes a break from the daily grind can be the best catalyst for success.