Matches to Make After UFC on ABC 1

By Brian Knapp Jan 17, 2021

Calvin Kattar was matched with the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time and will forever serve as a reminder of the breathtaking brutality a motivated Max Holloway can bring to bear.

Kattar spent five excruciating rounds being systematically dismantled and figuratively dismembered by the former Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight titleholder, as Holloway rolled to a one-sided unanimous decision in the UFC on ABC 1 headliner on Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Scores were 50-43, 50-43 and 50-42 in an early frontrunner for “Beatdown of the Year.”

Holloway landed no fewer than 56 strikes in any round, topping out at an almost unthinkable 141 in the fourth. By the time massacre was over, he had outlanded Kattar by a 445-133 margin in the significant strikes department. Stunning statistical data backed up his virtuoso performance, as Holloway established UFC single-fight records in eight different categories: striking differential (312), significant strikes landed (445), significant strikes attempted (744), distance strikes landed (439), significant head strikes landed (274), significant body strikes landed (117), total strikes landed (447) and total strikes attempted (746).

In the aftermath of UFC on ABC 1 “Holloway vs. Kattar,” here are five matches that ought to be made:

Max Holloway vs. Alexander Volkanovski-Brian Ortega winner: Holloway left tread marks on Kattar in the main event, as he ran over the Methuen, Massachusetts, native, accelerated through impact and kept right on going. He made one of the sport’s Top 10 featherweights look decidedly ordinary, a sense of awe and wonder in tow. Holloway’s effort left no doubt about the direction he was headed, and despite two previous losses to Volkanovski, he now carries the mantle as the clear No. 1 contender at 145 pounds. Volkanovski will defend the undisputed featherweight crown against Ortega at UFC 260 on March 27.

Carlos Condit vs. Dhiego Lima-Belal Muhammad winner: Condit continued to breathe new life into the latter stages of his career in the co-headliner, where he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Matt Brown in their twice-postponed showdown. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for “The Natural Born Killer,” who has rebounded from a five-fight losing streak to post victories in each of his last two appearances. While his days as a top-shelf welterweight are clearly over at the age of 36, Condit figures to be a valuable gatekeeper in the UFC for as long as he chooses to sling leather. Lima and Muhammad are set to square off at UFC 258 on Feb. 13.

Jingliang Li vs. Vicente Luque: Opportunity knocked, and Li answered. The China Top Team standout filled in for Muslim Salikhov on short notice and wiped out the returning Santiago Ponzinibbio with a sweeping left hook in the first round of their welterweight showcase. Ponzinibbio met his end 4:25 into Round 1, as the American Top Team rep suffered his first defeat in nearly six years. Li has rattled off eight wins across his past 10 outings, as he has become more and more of a factor at 170 pounds. Luque last competed at UFC Fight Night 173 in August, when he put away Randy Brown with a second-round knee strike and follow-up punches.

Punahele Soriano vs. Dalcha Lungiambula-Markus Perez winner: The undefeated Soriano rose to the occasion in his first main-card assignment, as he buried Dusko Todorovic with punches in the first round of their middleweight feature. Todorovic, who entered the cage with a perfect 10-0 record, succumbed to blows 4:48 into Round 1. Still rough around the edges and just eight bouts into his professional career, the charismatic Soriano has plenty of time to develop his skills—provided matchmakers can resist rushing him through the line. The Hawaiian does not turn 29 until November. Lungiambula will lock horns with Perez at UFC on ESPN 20 on Jan. 20.

Alessio Di Chirico vs. Kyle Daukaus: On the verge of becoming an afterthought in the middleweight division, Di Chirico snapped out of a three-fight funk and perhaps sprang a career-altering upset by knocking out Joaquin Buckley in the first round of their battle at 185 pounds. The Italian drew the curtain 2:12 into Round 1, as he recorded his first win since July 2018 and ensured he would wake up to a secure roster spot. However, with a middling 4-5 mark through nine appearances in the UFC, there are more questions than answers involving the 31-year-old Di Chirico. Daukaus last fought at UFC 255, where he took a unanimous decision from Dustin Stoltzfus on Nov. 21.
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