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Monday MMA Round-Up: UFC on ESPN+ 64 & Open Scoring

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 21: Ketlen Vieira of Brazil reacts after her split-decision victory over Holly Holm in a bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 21, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look back at the week that was and look ahead to the week that is in the world of mixed martial arts. It was a quiet week, mostly, but it’ll be an even quieter week coming up, so let’s dive right into the happenings.

Looking back at UFC on ESPN+ 64

  • Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 64 event was a mixed bag. It ended with a boring main event that saw Ketlen Vieira win a close split decision over Holly Holm in a highly-debated outcome. The co-main event between Michel Pereira and Santiago Ponzinibbio was a fantastic fight, and, honestly, would’ve made for a much better main event. There were some exciting finishes from the likes of Chidi Njokuani, Joseph Holmes, Uros Medic and Chase Hooper, and there were some close fights that were uneventful. You didn’t miss much if you missed the show, to be honest.
  • It’s starting to sound like a broken record, but Saturday showed more proof that it is time for open scoring. There was nothing egregious as far bad corner advice from anyone like usual, but there were several close fights that knowing the score would’ve been good, especially the main event. It also would help with the coaching, as Holm stuck to a gameplan for the entire fight, and had she known she was losing, perhaps they would’ve made adjustments in the corner. It’s just time for it to happen.
  • Another broken record in this column, but I want the UFC Apex era to end. There were some exciting fights early on during Saturday’s card, and it was just so quiet that it made it boring. Some of those fights would’ve gotten big reactions from crowds. As far as I know, the plan is still for at least one event a month there thru at least July, but it is time to get out of there. It’s so boring there.
  • UFC 277 was officially announced for the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on July 30 during Saturday’s UFC broadcast. Also, as noted in last week’s column, it will be headlined by UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Julianna Pena defending against Amanda Nunes. The rest of the main card features an interim flyweight title fight and a lot of notable fighters, and is shaping up to be a strong card.
  • Ariel Helwani reported in his Substack column that the hope for the July 16 UFC event is to hold it at the UBS Arena in Long Island, New York, and for the main card to air on ABC, but both of those aren’t 100 percent just yet. There has been no main event announced for that show, yet, but the targeted headliner has been between Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez. If the show takes place in Long Island, it wouldn’t surprise me if Chris Weidman returns there from his gruesome leg injury suffered in April 2021.
  • UFC’s debut for Paris, France was officially announced for September 3, taking place at the Accor Arena. They didn’t officially announce any fights, but Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa will be the main event as was reported weeks ago. The plan is to re-book Robert Whittaker vs. Marvin Vettori for the card after it was postponed from the UFC 275 card. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Katlyn Chookagian vs. Manon Fiorot take place on the card.
  • While I said that Boston was the front-runner for UFC 278 on August 20 last week, reports are now that the front-runner is actually Salt Lake City, Utah. Both places have been discussed. In a perfect world, Kamaru Usman would be defending the UFC Welterweight Championship against Leon Edwards on that date, but Usman is still recovering from hand surgery and it is still unknown exactly when he’s going to be ready to return.
  • Aleksandar Rakic did suffer a torn ACL in the fight with Jan Blachowicz last weekend at UFC on ESPN 36 and will be undergoing surgery soon, if he already hasn’t had it. It is the third time he’s suffered a torn ACL, but the first time in his right knee. He’ll be out of action likely for a year or more.
  • Tony Ferguson isn’t ready to hang up the gloves, but he is ready to be part of a team again. He said he will be reaching out to various training camps and finding the right fit for him and join a big camp to get ready to get back to action.
  • Eagle FC 47 was a fun show on Friday night, though it had an unfortunate end for Junior Dos Santos, as he separated his shoulder in the main event against Yorgan De Castro, and De Castro ended up taking the win as a result. Dos Santos was looking good through the first two rounds and was on his way to winning before the end. I hope we see Dos Santos fight again. Other winners on the card included current Bellator fighter Islam Mamedov, and former UFC fighters Maki Pitolo, Andrew Sanchez and Roosevelt Roberts.
  • I miss Memorial Day Weekend in Las Vegas and UFC events going hand-in-hand.

Playing matchmaker

Here are the fights I would make next for those who fought at UFC on ESPN+ 64 on Saturday:

  • Ketlen Vieira vs. Julianna Pena-Amanda Nunes winner
  • Holly Holm vs. Yana Kunitskaya
  • Michel Pereira vs. Sean Brady
  • Chidi Njokuani vs. Joaquin Buckley-Albert Duraev winner
  • Tabatha Ricci vs. Sam Hughes
  • Jun Yong Park vs. Kyle Daukaus-Roman Dolidze winner
  • Joseph Holmes vs. Bryan Battle
  • Jailton Almeida vs. Maxim Grishin
  • Chase Hooper vs. Luis Saldana

Fight announcements

Here are the fights that were announced over the past week:

  • Ricardo Ramos vs. Danny Chavez — UFC Fight Night — June 18
  • Tafon Nchukwi vs. Carlos Ulberg — UFC Fight Night — June 25
  • Brad Riddell vs. Jalin Turner — UFC 276 — July 2
  • Cody Brundage vs. Tresean Gore — UFC Fight Night — July 9
  • Ricky Simon vs. Jack Shore — UFC Fight Night — July 16
  • Li Jingliang vs. Muslim Salikhov — UFC Fight Night — July 16
  • Billy Quarantillo vs. Bill Algeo — UFC Fight Night — July 16
  • Makwan Amirkhani vs. Jonathan Pearce — UFC Fight Night — July 23
  • UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes — UFC 277 — July 30 (MAIN EVENT)
  • Drew Dober vs. Rafael Alves — UFC 277 — July 30
  • Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Sam Alvey — UFC Fight Night — August 6
  • Aspen Ladd vs. Sara McMann — UFC Fight Night — August 13
  • Gerald Meerschaert vs. Bruno Silva — UFC Fight Night — August 13
  • Azamat Murzakanov vs. Devin Clark — UFC Fight Night — August 13
  • Martin Buday vs. Lukasz Brzeski — UFC Fight Night — August 13
  • Aoriqileng vs. Jay Perrin — UFC 278 — August 20
  • Trey Ogden vs. Daniel Zellhuber — UFC Fight Night — September 10
  • Nikolas Motta vs. Cameron VanCamp — UFC Fight Night — September 10

Coming up this week

There’s no UFC this week, but here are the other notable MMA events taking place this week:

  • Lux Fight League 22 takes place on Thursday, May 26, from Mexico City, Mexico, airing at 7:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
  • Cage Warriors 137 takes place on Friday, May 27, from Colchester, England, airing at 1:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
  • CFFC 109 takes place on Friday, May 27, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, airing at 7:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
  • Unified MMA 45 takes place on Friday, May 27, from Enoch, Alberta, Canada, airing at 10:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
  • Cage Warriors 138 takes place on Saturday, May 28, from Colchester, England, airing at 1:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
  • Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat 2 takes place on Saturday, May 28, from Wheatland, California, airing at 6:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
  • Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat 3 takes place on Sunday, May 29, from Wheatland, California, airing at 8:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.

This week in MMA history

Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie at UFC 60, 2006

On Saturday, May 27, 2006, the UFC’s Memorial Day Weekend tradition started, but it didn’t start in its eventual home of Las Vegas, instead taking place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, as UFC 60 took place in front of 14,802 fans for a gate of $2.9 million, and drew 620,000 pay-per-view buys.

The main event was a much-anticipated battle between the old guard and the new guard as it marked the return of UFC 1, 2 & 4 tournament winner Royce Gracie stepped inside the Octagon for the first time in over eleven years to battle UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes in a non-title fight. Hughes was one of the biggest stars the promotion had at the time as UFC was surging in popularity, and Gracie was the biggest early star as UFC began. It felt as a passing of the torch as Hughes dominated Gracie and finished him late in the first round.

Also on the main card, Dean Lister submitted Alessio Sakara in the first round, Diego Sanchez won a decision over John Alessio, Brandon Vera submitted Assuerio Silva in the first round, and Mike Swick submitted Joe Riggs in the first round. The winners on the prelims included Jeremy Horn, Spencer Fisher, Gabriel Gonzaga and Melvin Guillard.

You can watch UFC 60 on UFC Fight Pass here.

In The Clinch

This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will look back at UFC on ESPN+ 64, Eagle FC 47 and The Ultimate Fighter. We will also look back at all of the news and notes from the week, plus look back at some Memorial Day Weekend memories of the past. In The Clinch is part of The Fight Game Media Network, with all podcasts available FREE on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can also support all of us on our Patreon page.

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