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. UFC was back in action this week, kicking off a lot of upcoming events, so let’s dive right in to all of what’s going on.
Alexander Volkov is back in win column
- Alexander Volkov redeemed himself in the main event of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 65 event, finishing Jairzinho Rozenstruik in just over two minutes, which puts him back in the win column. It might’ve looked like a quick stoppage by Herb Dean at first as Rozenstruik escaped trouble easily, but that was partly due to Dean grabbing onto Volkov during the ending sequence, and the stoppage was justified. The win keeps Volkov ever so slightly in the title picture and away from the dreaded gatekeeper status, where Rozenstruik likely finds himself.
- Movsar Evloev firmly established himself as a contender in the featherweight division with a dominant decision win over Dan Ige in the co-main event on Saturday. Evloev used his wrestling and a strong stand-up game, and overcame getting tagged several times, to score the biggest win of his career. He’s still in search of his first finish inside the Octagon, but he’s right in the mix with a bunch of other featherweights.
- I know Alexander Volkanovski has flirted with the idea of moving up to challenge for the UFC Lightweight Championship if he defeats Max Holloway in their trilogy bout at UFC 276 on 7/2, but there are plenty of challenges left for him at 145 lbs., and only more contenders starting to step up. There’s at least five different potential challengers next for him should he get past Holloway, and there’s plenty of intriguing fights for him. Hopefully, he decides to stay in the division, but the lure of being a two-division champion is always something worth chasing.
- There were a bunch of impressive finishes on Saturday’s show from the likes of Lucas Almeida, Karine Silva, Ode Osbourne, Alonzo Menifield, Benoit Saint-Denis, Tony Gravely and Erin Blanchfield. If it was a show you missed, yes, there were lots of fights with 14 in total, but five first-round finishes made this an easy show to watch.
- The fight between Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Felice Herrig saw a full range of emotions. Kowalkiewicz turned in an impressive performance, submitting Herrig in the second round to end a five-fight losing skid, and she showed plenty of emotion afterwards, celebrating and crying at the same time. It was a performance reminiscent of when Kowalkiewicz was a title contender, and should serve as a huge confidence boost for her. On the flipside, Herrig left her gloves inside the Octagon after the fight and officially announced her retirement. She ends her career with a 14-10 record and four straight losses, but she was one of the better known names in the early times of women’s mixed martial arts. Happy trails to Felice!
- Deiveson Figueiredo is upset about an Interim UFC Flyweight Championship being introduced and has been talking about vacating the regular flyweight championship and moving up to bantamweight. It would be a dumb move on his part, as he would lose champion pay, pay-per-view points and guaranteed top two position on a big card, so he’d be leaving lots of money on the table. I get being upset about an interim title happening, but he originally said he would fight in the summer, and when they offered a fourth fight against Brandon Moreno, a fight he doesn’t want, he suddenly needs time off to nurse a hand injury. He needs to defend against the winner of the interim title fight between Moreno and Kai Kara-France, then make the decision on your future.
- ONE Championship announced that their debut event on Amazon Prime will take place on August 26 in prime time in the United States, which is a Friday night. Traditionally, that has been a bad night for getting viewers for MMA, but this is kind of a big deal for ONE Championship in trying to make an inroad in America. They had shows on TNT in the past that didn’t get much viewership, and I’m not expecting this to be watched by much more than the hardcores, but good on them for securing a deal like this.
- Ryan Hall suffered a torn ACL during training and will be out of action until 2023. This is unfortunate news as he was expected to fight on the 8/13 card. Hall is one of the more fascinating fighters in the sport for his style, but he hasn’t fought much due to fighters turning down fights against him because of that style. Here’s hopes for a full recovery and we see him fighting more than he has.
- In a fight that many were expecting when Julia Budd signed with PFL, she’ll take on Kayla Harrison in the main event of PFL 6 on July 1. It felt like the hopes were that these two would meet in the finals, but Budd lost her first fight in the regular season, though she scored three points due to her opponent missing weight, meaning she has the same amount of points as Harrison, who won her first fight. Talk about a confusing system. Anyways, this is probably the biggest fight they can make in the division and will definitely be the toughest test Harrison has faced to date.
- If you’re looking for a prospect to keep your eye on, Bo Nickal is that guy. Nickal is a three-time NCAA Division 1 champion in freestyle wrestling and the 2019 Dan Hodge Trophy winner as the best collegiate wrestler in the world. He made his professional MMA debut in Jorge Masvidal’s iKON Fight Championships promotion on Friday and scored a 33-second knockout win. The race to sign him will be very interesting.
Here are the fights I would make next for those who fought at UFC On ESPN+ 65 on Saturday:
- Alexander Volkov vs. Derrick Lewis-Sergei Pavlovich winner
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Chris Daukaus
- Movsar Evloev vs. Bryce Mitchell
- Ode Osbourne vs. Jeff Molina
- Alonzo Menifield vs. Philipe Lins
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jinh Yu Frey-Vanessa Demopoulos winner
- Damon Jackson vs. Darren Elkins
- Erin Blanchfield vs. Jessica Eye-Maycee Barber winner
Here are the fights that were announced over the past week:
- Mario Bautista vs. Brian Kelleher — UFC Fight Night — June 25
- Kayla Harrison vs. Julia Budd — PFL 2022 6 — July 1 (MAIN EVENT)
- Ian Garry vs. Gabe Green — UFC 276 — July 9
- Shane Burgos vs. Charles Jourdain — UFC Fight Night — July 16
- Matt Schnell vs. Su Mudaerji — UFC Fight Night — July 16
- Dwight Grant vs. Dustin Stoltzfus — UFC Fight Night — July 16
- Jessica Penne vs. Emily Ducote — UFC Fight Night — July 16
- Orion Cosce vs. Blood Diamond — UFC 277 — July 30
- Ignacio Bahamondes vs. Ludovit Klein — UFC 277 — July 30
- Viviane Araujo vs. Alexa Grasso — UFC Fight Night — August 13
- ONE Championship Flyweight Champion Adriano Moraes vs. Demetrious Johnson — ONE Championship 161 — August 26 (MAIN EVENT)
- Robert Whittaker vs. Marvin Vettori — UFC Fight Night — September 3
- Alessio Di Chirico vs. Roman Kopylov — UFC Fight Night — September 3
- Zarah Fairn vs. Ailin Perez — UFC Fight Night — September 3
- Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Jailton Almeida — UFC Fight Night — September 10
- Hannah Cifers vs. Melissa Martinez — UFC Fight Night — September 10
- Trevin Giles vs. Louis Cosce — UFC Fight Night — September 10
- Leah Letson vs. Chelsea Chandler — UFC Fight Night — October 1
- Vinc Pichel vs. Jesse Ronson — UFC Fight Night — October 1
Coming up this week
Here are the notable MMA events taking place this week:
- UFC 275 takes place on Saturday, June 11, from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. The main card airs on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10:00 p.m. ET, while prelims air on ESPN2 at 8:00 p.m. ET, and early prelims air on ESPN+ at 6:30 p.m. ET. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Glover Teixeira defends against Jiri Prochazka in the main event.
- There will be four special Road to UFC events airing from Kallang, Singapore, on Thursday, June 9 at 2:30 a.m. ET and 5:30 a.m. ET, and on Friday, June 10 at 2:30 a.m. ET and 5:30 a.m. ET, all of which will air on UFC Fight Pass.
- Cage Warriors 139 takes place on Friday, June 10, from San Diego, California, airing at 8:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- LFA 134 takes place on Friday, June 10, from Belton, Texas, airing at 9:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
This week in MMA history
On June 8, 2019, one of the more decorated UFC fighters of the past several years accomplished the feat of becoming a two-division champion at UFC 238 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. It came in front of 16,083 fans and a gate of $2.034 million.
In the main event, UFC Flyweight Champion Henry Cejudo became a two-division champion, winning the UFC Bantamweight Championship after finishing Marlon Moraes in the third round. The bantamweight title was vacant after former champion TJ Dillashaw was stripped of the title following a failed drug test. Cejudo would make one defense before taking a break from the sport, but he’s expected to return to action this year.
In the co-main event, UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko made her first defense, and it was a successful one with one of the most terrifying knockouts in UFC history when she head-kicked Jessica Eye out cold. Shevchenko has defended the title five times since then, and is going into another title defense this upcoming weekend at UFC 275. Also on the main card, Tony Ferguson scored a doctor stoppage at the end of the second round of Donald Cerrone, Petr Yan won a decision over Jimmie Rivera, and Blagoy Ivanov won a decision over Tai Tuivasa. Among the winners on the prelims included Tatiana Suarez, Aljamain Sterling, Alexa Grasso, Calvin Kattar and Katlyn Chookagian.
You can watch UFC 238 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+ 65, look back at The Ultimate Fighter, look ahead to UFC 275 and talk all of the news and notes of the week. In The Clinch is part of The Fight Game Media Network of podcasts, which are available free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We also are supported through our Patreon page.