The UFC’s return to network television was triumphant in every sense of the word. While the UFC Fight Island 7 prelims were filled with decisions, the main card produced big finishes and insane levels of violence. Today we’ll look at those who did the majority of the dishing out of said violence and where they’ll go from here.
There aren’t many instances of a fighter going 0-2 against another and still having people looking for that third shot, but people were already leaning that way with Max Holloway and his quest for a trilogy with Alex Volklanovski. Although the UFC decided to have each fighter fight someone else first, Holloway did all he could to make sure there was no doubt who was next. Volkanovski will have to keep up his side of the bargain to make it happen, but even if he doesn’t, a rematch with Brian Ortega would be intriguing for Holloway as well. No matter what, it’s the belt next for Holloway.
Max Holloway’s Next Fight: Volkanovski/Ortega Winner
Once completely written off with shouts to retire, Carlos Condit now finds himself on a nice little win streak. After beating both Court McGee and Matt Brown, there is at least a question as to whether Condit might have a little more left in the tank than we originally thought, and maybe could even fight a ranked opponent. Still, he’s at the point of his career where he should be having fun fights with veterans like Matt Brown. So if some think ranked opponent, and some think legacy fight – why not go with both? Robbie Lawler currently sits on the edge of the rankings at 170lbs. A rematch of their epic 2016 title fight likely wouldn’t be boring and would serve Condit’s purpose of slotting him into the rankings.
Carlos Condit’s Next Fight: Robbie Lawler
Li Jingliang made a statement as the biggest underdog by knocking out Santiago Ponzinibbio. Although it would have been much better for Li’s career if Ponzinibbio still had that #7 next to his name, this should still catapult him into the top 15 and makes for a lot of interesting matches in there. Among them is Vicente Luque. Both men are 4-1 in their last 5 with losses to top flight competition. Both have good wrestling and top game, but when that’s stifled, they drop bombs. A head-to-head between the two would be sure to end in fireworks.
Li Jingliang’s Next Fight: Vicente Luque
Alessio Di Chirico
This win creates a bit of a predicament for what you do for Di Chirico next. On one hand, he did just end the hype train behind Joaquin Buckley and his back-to-back violent KOs. On the other hand, he had lost three fights prior and would have likely been cut if he had not won this fight. So while we know he has some real skills, he’s also not poised for a run anywhere near the top 15. So why not pair him with someone like Karl Roberson? Roberson also doesn’t have a sterling record as of late, but it is largely due to losses against top names like Vettori and Teixeira. Not only would this provide one of them the chance to have a run and a claim to a bigger fight, but their standup skills would make for some fun exchanges.
Allesio Di Chirico’s Next Fight: Karl Roberson
Soriano made his claim to the title of one of the most exciting 185lbs prospects in the UFC this past weekend. The hype around him after his performance is likely going to get him plenty of callouts and the possibility of a fairly big name. Already, Brendan Allen has said that he’d like to face the Hawaiian. I think it makes a bit more sense for Soriano to get his hands on the man who just beat Allen though, Sean Strickland. Strickland not only is on a nice little win streak of his own, but his technical striking would be a nice test for the more wild Soriano and would help us see if he can handle what the top half of the division will have to offer him.
Punahele Soriano’s Next Fight: Sean Strickland