Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) staged a special “Fight Night” event last night (Sat., June 18, 2022) inside Moody Center in Austin, Texas, featuring a Featherweight bout that saw Josh Emmett defeat Calvin Kattar via split decision in an all-out war (see it here). In the co-main event, Kevin Holland defeated Tim Means via submission in round two (highlights), while Adrian Yanez picked up a huge win by stopping Tony Kelley via strikes (watch it).
Winner: Josh Emmett
Who He Should Face Next: Arnold Allen, Rodriguez vs Ortega winner?
Winner of five straight, Emmett will likely earn himself a spot in the Top 5 after defeating Kattar. Up next, a fight against Allen seems to be the logical step to take. Allen is currently on an 11-fight win streak and is undefeated (9-0) inside the Octagon. He is currently ranked No. 6 — one spot ahead of Emmett — and is also looking for a spot in the Top 5. Speaking of which, the fighters taking the top five spots are booked or coming off losses (Kattar and Chan Sung Jung), and since Allen’s dance card is currently empty, Emmett is the perfect person to fill the void. Emmett wants a shot at the title next, but that may not happen quite yet, so another option would be to face the winner of the upcoming fight between Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega, which is set to go down on July 16, 2022. A win over either of those three contenders could get Emmett what he wants.
Winner: Kevin Holland
Who He Should Face Next: Daniel Rodriguez
Assuming he is going to remain in the Welterweight division, a fight against Rodriguez is a sneaky good pairing for both men. Holland has some name value, but he still has his work cut out for him if he wants to make it into the Top 15. As for Rodriguez, he has been nothing short of stellar so far in his UFC run, racking up an impressive 6-1 mark with his lone loss coming at the hands of Nicolas Dalby. Rodriguez is currently on a three-fight win streak and is coming off a big win over Kevin Lee in Aug. 2021. Holland has shown to have the talent and personality to make it as a UFC star, but he needs to be a bit more consistent with the wins.
Winner: Joaquin Buckley
Who He Should Face Next: Brendan Allen
Buckley picked up his third straight win after handing Albert Duraev his first loss in seven years, snapping his 10-fight win streak. Up next for Buckley, a fight against Allen makes sense. Allen is currently on a three-fight win streak and was last seen defeating Jacob Malkoun at UFC 275 a few weeks ago. Allen is 4-1 in his last five UFC fights and, like Buckley, is trying to navigate the waters to somehow get consideration for a spot in the Top 15 over someone like say Edmen Shahbazyan, who is holding on to the final spot despite a three-fight losing streak.
Winner: Damir Ismagulov
Who He Should Face Next: Renato Moicano
The Lightweight division has another up-and-coming monster to worry about because Ismagulov is continuing his ascension up the ranks. He picked up consecutive win No. 19 and improved to 5-0 under the UFC banner thanks to a big win over Guram Kutateladze via split decision. A fight against Moicano would be a good next step for Ismagulov, who is just five fights deep into his UFC career. While Moicano is coming off a tough loss at the hand of Rafael dos Anjos, he is 3-1 as a 155-pound fighter. Furthermore, he would be a stiff test for Ismagulov because of his lengthy experience inside the Octagon, having faced the best-of-the-best throughout his career. Indeed, a win over Moicano would be a nice notch on Ismagulov’s belt if he can get it done.
Winner: Adrian Yanez
Who He Should Face Next: O’Malley vs Pedro Munhoz winner?
Yanez continued his ascension up the Bantamweight ranks with a spectacular knockout win over Tony Kelley, improving his win streak to nine (five inside the Octagon). The victory also earned him his fifth straight post-fight bonus, as well as the praise of his UFC colleagues. The win could have also been good enough for him to take Raphael Assuncao’s No. 15 spot in the rankings. After all, Assuncao is on a four-fight losing streak and hasn’t won a fight in four years. As for what’s next for Yanez, could a fight against the winner of Sean O’Malley and Pedro Munhoz be on the horizon? Some may think it’s too soon, but Yanez has looked ready. Furthermore, he and O’Malley have gone back and forth on social media and “Suga” has expressed interest in the fight. Of course, O’Malley still has a very tough Pedro Munhoz in front of him, but I’d love the winner of that fight to take on Yanez next. Then again, the victor may have to be persuaded to take the fight since they will likely want a higher-ranked opponent themselves, which would be rather ironic in O’Malley’s case.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Austin news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.