UFC On ABC 1 takes place this coming Saturday night on Fight Island and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar
After losing the featherweight title to Alexander Volkanovski in 2019, Holloway came close to grabbing it back in their rematch last year, but ultimately lost out by split decision, so now he has to rebuild towards another title shot as he takes on the 6th ranked Kattar.
Holloway has actually now lost three of his last four fights and he’s taken a fair amount of damage along the way, but at 29-years-old there’s no suggestion he can’t become champion again in the future, though he certainly can’t afford to take someone of Kattar’s ability lightly.
Kattar should present a significant challenge for him as he’s a skilled boxer who has also proven to have stopping power, finishing four of his six UFC wins to date by strikes against reputable opponents like Jeremy Stephens, Ricardo Lamas, Chris Fishgold and Shane Burgos.
Still, Holloway is also known for his masterful boxing and is more clinical with his crisp combinations and also demonstrates a great command of range, works angles well and overall has a more diverse striking arsenal.
Both men have never been stopped due to strikes in their career’s so far and I think that record may remain intact here, with Holloway edging the exchanges over 25 minutes to emerge with a unanimous decision victory.
Pick: Max Holloway wins by decision.
Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown
Two elder statesman of the 170lb weight class who have each openly toyed with the idea of retirement in recent years clash here as they look to rekindle some of their former glory.
Brown is longer in the tooth, having now reached 40-years-old and there are obvious concerns that age has caught up with him as not only has he lost six of his last nine fights, but he’s been stopped by strikes on three occasions after never having been finished in that manner prior to that.
The 36-year-old Condit did manage to pick up a confidence-boosting win last time out, but it still has to be stressed that he’s lost eight of his last 11 fights. That being said, though he’s been in some major wars over the years, he’s still only been TKO’d once (and that was due to a knee injury), with submission losses being more of an issue for him over the years.
Despite being more fragile these days, don’t expect Brown to change up his strategy too much as he’s still potent offensively and is at his best when he’s pressing forward and imposing his will with hard-hitting punches and elbows.
Condit’s also dangerous though and with less miles on the clock, his chin still intact and without too much of a threat to his underwhelming takedown defense here I can see him hurting Brown and securing a second round TKO stoppage.
Prediction: Carlos Condit to win by TKO in Rd2.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Li Jingliang
Ponzinibbio’s riding a seven-fight winning streak heading into this fight, though some of the momentum from that has waned somewhat due to the fact that injuries have kept him out of the Octagon for the past two years.
Meanwhile, Jingliang is coming off a loss, but had won three fights prior to that and will likely stick to his usual gameplan in the hope that he can take advantage of Ponzinibbio’s ring rust with pressure-heavy, high volume offense and a significant grappling threat.
It remains to be seen if Ponzinibbio’s injury woes have taken a toll on him, but if he’s anything like his old self he’ll be in good shape here and will also implement a high-volume approach, but with the added advantage of being the slicker, more technical striker, while still carrying big power in his punches.
Jingliang is hard-headed though, so while his more reckless approach might provide openings for Ponzinibbio to exploit, he’ll probably have to settle for a decision victory here.
Pick: Santiago Ponzinibbio wins by decision.
Joaquin Buckley vs. Alessio Di Chirico
Buckley could do no wrong in 2020, delivering the most viral highlight finish in UFC history courtesy of an out-of-the-blue spinning back kick and then following that up a few months later with another KO stoppage.
Despite that the UFC seems to be not getting too carried away with the 26-year-old just yet as they’ve put him up against Di Chirico, who is barely hanging onto his spot in the UFC after suffering three losses in a row.
So, this does feel like a fight where the UFC is hoping to keep the Buckley hype train on the track, but Di Chirico is an experienced fighter who has never been finished by strikes in his career, so it’s not a given that he emerges victorious.
That being said, Buckley’s the faster man and with his proven punching power I think he can emerge with a TKO finish here mid-way through the fight.
Pick: Joaquin Buckley wins by TKO in Rd2.
Dusko Todorovic vs. Punahele Soriano
With only one win each under their belt so far in the UFC it’s perhaps a bit unfortunate that one of these two fighters undefeated career records is about to end here.
The 26-year-old Todorovic is 10-0 so far and it’s easy to see why as he’s a well-rounded fighter who utilizes that intelligently by mixing things up between his striking, clinch work and wrestling to good effect.
Soriano is two years his senior and can also lay claim to a fairly well balanced skill-set, though he’s not as composed as Todorovic on the feet and so can get a little bit more wild.
It has all the making of a close fight, but I like Todorovic’s composure and fight IQ, which together with having a slight edge in the striking department should help him edge this one by decision.
Pick: Dusko Todorovic wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Phil Hawes vs. Nassourdine Imavov
Wu Yanan vs. Joeelyne Edwards
Omari Ahkmedov vs. Tom Breese
Carlos Felipe vs. Justin Tafa
David Zawada vs. Ramazan Emeev
Sarah Moras vs. Vanessa Melo
Austin Lingo vs. Jacob Kilburn