Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action in a big way yesterday (Sat., Jan. 16, 2021) with UFC Fight Island 7, which provided combat fans with an exciting night of fights on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In the headlining act, Max Holloway put on a performance for the ages against Calvin Kattar to earn a unanimous decision win (see it again here). In the co-main event, Carlos Condit defeated Matt Brown in another entertaining bout years in the making.
Winner: Max Holloway
Who He Should Face Next: Zabit Magomedsharipov
I know people want to see “Blessed” fight for the title again, but as great as his big win over Kattar was, I’d love to see him face Zabit next. Magomedsharipov was in line to face Yair Rodriguez on a few occasions, but injuries (and other issues) canceled those bouts. “Zabeast” is currently ranked No. 3 and is on an amazing 13-fight win streak and has won 18 of 19 in his career. He is also undefeated inside the Octagon (6-0). That’s too good of a record to not get a title eliminator fight at the very least. Like Holloway, all Magomedsharipov knows is how to push forward, so a fight between these two men would be fireworks. Furthermore, Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega aren’t scheduled to fight until the end of March, which means Holloway is likely looking at a summer return if he opts to wait for a title shot.
Winner: Carlos Condit
Who He Should Face Next: Robbie Lawler rematch
Don’t look now, but Condit has won two in a row after suffering a brutal five-fight losing streak. Still, “The Natural Born Killer” has a long way to go before he gets a spot on the rankings. Call me crazy, but I would love to see Condit run it back with Robbie Lawler. The two men initially threw down at UFC 195 four years ago, with “Ruthless” taking home a razor-thin split decision win, along with his Welterweight title. Of course, those championship fight days are far behind both men, especially for Lawler, who has lost four in a row. But given how close their initial encounter was, I’d be happy to see them throw down one more time.
Winner: Li Jingliang
Who He Should Fight Next: Muslim Salikhov
Jingliang stepped in for Salikhov after he was forced out of his scheduled bout against Ponzinibbio, so why not have “The Leech” face off against him next? Salikhov is on a four-fight win streak and has won 15 of his last 16 fights. It would be a great match up of streaking and consistent fighters who are both trying hard to make a move into the Top 15 at 170 pounds.
Winner: Alessio Di Chirico
Who He Should Fight Next: Darren Stewart
Di Chirico picked up a huge (and much-needed win), knocking out Joaquin Buckley in the first round. And not only did it earn him his first-ever UFC post-fight bonus award, it stopped the bleeding of a three-fight losing streak. A fight against Stewart seems appealing because it will put together two fighters who haven’t had the best run as of late against one another. “The Dentist” is coming off a loss to Kevin Holland, his second loss in last three fights.
Winner: Punahele Soriano
Who He should Fight Next: Deron Winn
Soriano continued to build on his momentum by winning his eighth straight fight to remain undefeated (8-0, 2-0 UFC). With back-to-back knockout victories on his resume, Soriano is looking for more after a year-long break, and a fight against Winn sounds like a great one to make. Winn recently got back in the win column by defeating Antonio Arroyo last month, but he hasn’t had the success many expected of him, going just 2-2 inside the Octagon so far. Soriano will definitely test him again — and vice versa — so UFC matchmakers would be missing on a great and competitive match up if they don’t book this.
For more UFC Fight Island 7 results and coverage click here.