Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action in a big way yesterday (Sat., Jan. 16, 2021) with UFC Fight Island 7, which provided fight fans with an exciting afternoon of fights on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates. In the headlining act, Max Holloway put on a tremendous performance against Calvin Kattar, earning a lopsided unanimous decision win (see it again here). In the co-main event, Carlos Condit defeated Matt Brown in another entertaining bout.
Biggest Winner: Max Holloway
This one is easy because “Blessed” looked better than ever, dominating Kattar for 25 minutes to pick up a much-needed win after dropping two straight. His boxing was absolutely top notch, and it needed to be because he was taking on one of the best boxers at 145 pounds. But, “Blessed” was more than up to the task, going toe-to-toe with “The Boston Finisher,” tagging him at will while eating several of his foes good shots. In the fifth and final round, Holloway went full Matrix, tagging Kattar with a no-look straight right, slipped a four-punch combination, all while talking to Jon Anik and Co. It was a sight to behold. With the win, Holloway reminded everyone that he is still at the top of his game and he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He put himself at the top of a short list to face the winner of the recently-announced title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega.
Runner Up: Li Jingliang
Many likely weren't giving “The Leech” a high percentage of beating Santiago Ponzinibbio — myself included — but the Chinese-born star silenced everyone and picked up the biggest win of his career, putting “Gente Boa” to sleep with a spectacular first round knockout. Li has now won four of his last five and this specific victory should give him a huge bump up the Welterweight ladder. All in all, he now has seven knockout wins inside the Octagon.
Honorable Mention: Alessio Di Chirico
Di Chirico went on record saying he wasn’t too impressed with what Joaquin Buckley had done ahead of their Middleweight scrap, not even this spectacular knockout did much for the Italian-born fighter. Come fight night, Di Chirico backed up his talk by absolutely flattening “New Mansa” with a head kick before ending his night with some follow up strikes. On top of ending Buckley’s momentum, he also scored an extra $50,000 in post-fight bonus money. The win also snapped his three-fight losing streak, so it was huge on all fronts.
Biggest Loser: Santiago Ponzinibbio
It had been more than two years since “Gente Boa” stepped foot inside the Octagon, and it had been even longer than that since he last tasted defeat. Indeed, the last time he was in the losers column was back in 2015. Since then, he racked up an impressive seven-fight win streak. Despite putting in all that work, he was never able to get close to a shot at the title. And when you couple that with his extended hiatus, Ponzinibbio’s momentum slowed down tremendously. Now, the loss will force him to start form scratch, and it will be a hard road to get back into the rankings because the 170-pound weight class is absolutely stacked.
For more UFC Fight Island 7 results and coverage click here.