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 276 Fallout
- Israel Adesanya continued to show he’s the best middleweight in the world, and one of the best fighters in the world, with a clear decision win over Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC 276 on Saturday. It was far from the most exciting fight, as Cannonier seemed to play cautious and only want to battle in the clinch. Adesanya did a better job of striking, but he also didn’t take a lot of chances and played it conservatively. He admitted afterwards that he had a bad performance, but it was a clear win and Cannonier really had no shot. Adesanya is still one of the biggest stars in the promotion and not every fight is going to be the most exciting, and his next fight looks like it should be a banger, which we’ll get into.
— Undertaker (@undertaker) July 3, 2022
- Alexander Volkanovski might be the best pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts today. He had an absolutely outstanding performance in retaining the UFC Featherweight Championship in his trilogy bout against Max Holloway, winning on 50-45 scores across the board. Volkanovski looked better than ever, which is saying something as he’s now won 22 straight fights, looking like the elite of the elite inside the Octagon. It’s hard to imagine anyone beating him at 145 lbs. after that showing, but there is a long line of contenders. He mentioned he wants to stay busy and that being a two-division champion is the goal, and that he’s willing to defend both titles constantly should he also win the UFC Lightweight Championship. He’s just getting better each time out, which is saying something once you’ve hit the level of being champion.
- Alex Pereira firmly established himself as next for Israel Adesanya with his first-round knockout of Sean Strickland. It was expected that the winner would be fighting Adesanya, and Pereira was being fast-tracked towards a shot against Adesanya given their history. All he had to do was get by Strickland, and he did in impressive fashion after landing a left hook that stumbled Strickland and followed it with a right hand to finish it off. Pereira will jump way up into the rankings and the showdown with Adesanya could happen before the end of the year. The whole reason Pereira was signed was to make this fight, and you strike while the iron was hot, and it is a good chance for the rest of the middleweight division to sort itself out, as, and this is before the new rankings come out, only one fighter inside the top ten is coming off a win in their last fight.
- The fight between Pedro Munhoz and Sean O’Malley had a disappointing end after an accidental eye poke from O’Malley on Munhoz left Munhoz unable to see and the fight had to be stopped and called a no contest. Munhoz was eventually diagnosed with a scratched cornea and his eye was still completely closed as of Sunday. It was an interesting chess match of a fight before the end and I’m not sure O’Malley was going to win it the way it was going, so he might have gotten lucky here. I don’t anticipate them running it back.
- There were a lot of young prospects who scored wins on the show including Jalin Turner, Ian Garry, Dricus Du Plessis, Andre Muniz and Maycee Barber. Turner had a quick finish of Brad Riddell while the rest won by decision, but each should move themselves up the rankings and towards the title picture. Bryan Barberena also scored an impressive finish of Robbie Lawler in the second round in an exciting fight. There was lots of strong showings on the card.
- Jim Miller became the all-time UFC wins leader on Saturday with a second-round submission of Donald Cerrone, getting Cerrone to tap to a guillotine choke in an exciting fight. It is the 24th UFC win for Miller, and it came in his 40th UFC fight. He has the goal of ending his career at UFC 300 in 2024, which would make him the only fighter to fight at UFC 100, UFC 200 and UFC 300. Miller did sign a four-fight extension to his contract during the week, so he’s definitely not going anywhere.
- The loss for Donald Cerrone marked the end of his career, as he took of his gloves and famous cowboy hat and left them inside the Octagon and said he’s ready to go be a movie star. He said afterwards that he’s not having fun anymore fighting but that it’s been a fun ride. He did leave the door open a little, saying he might get the itch in a year or two and who knows, but this was more than likely it for him. He’ll go down as one of the most exciting fighters in UFC and WEC history and was always a fan favorite.
- Cerrone wasn’t the only one who hung up their gloves on Saturday, as Jessica Eye announced her retirement following a loss to Maycee Barber. She took off her gloves and called it a day and said in her post-fight scrum that she wanted to walk away before being told to go away and that she has interest in becoming a pro wrestler. She did fight for a UFC title once before and will be in highlight reels for years to come for all of the wrong reasons, but she walks away at the right time, as, much like Cerrone, she was on a massive skid and her future was going to be in question anyways as the loss was her fourth straight.
- With so much of UFC’s roster descending upon Las Vegas this week for International Fight Week and the new UFC Fan Expo, called UFC X, it goes without saying this weekend did have a few incidents. Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo had a confrontation outside of UFC X where they looked to be building up a fight between the two, and it looked pretty staged to be honest. Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler got into it during the UFC 276 show during a break in the action, and it escalated to the point where security had to come over to keep them separated. Lastly, Nate Diaz had a moment with one of the guys who host the Full Send Podcast, who had been recently saying bad things about Nick Maximov, a training partner and close friend of Diaz, which led to Diaz slapping the guy backstage. I’m sure other stuff happened as well that hasn’t gotten out, but these things tend to happen when you have so many fighters in the same location at the same time.
- Kayla Harrison scored yet another impressive win in the main event at PFL 6, finishing Kaitlin Young in the first round in a dominant performance. She ends the 2022 PFL Season as the second-ranked fighter in the women’s lightweight division, and she seems headed for yet another showdown with Larissa Pacheco in the finals, which would be a rematch of the 2019 finals. The two other women to advance to the 2022 PFL Playoffs in the women’s lightweight division are Martina Jindrova and Olena Kolesnyk.
— PFL (@PFLMMA) July 2, 2022
- Those representing the welterweight division in the 2022 PFL Playoffs were also determined at PFL 6 on Friday, and, to be honest, it’s kind of a mess in how it came together with the four who advanced all having six points. Sadibou Sy won a decision over Rory MacDonald at PFL 6, which got him into the playoffs. MacDonald is in the playoffs as well as the top seed despite losing, as he won his first fight on the season by finish in the first round. Carlos Leal also made the playoffs despite fighting just once. His case is interesting as he won by decision, which is just three points, but Leal also got three points this past weekend due to receiving a walkover win after Nikolai Aleksakhin pulled out following weigh-ins. Magomed Umalatov also made the playoffs despite just one fight during the regular season, but it was a first-round knockout of Jarrah Al Silawi on Friday. Yeah, that’s all confusing.
- Sarah Kaufman announced her retirement from MMA this past week at the age of 36. She was one of the more well-known names when women’s MMA was starting to get big as she fought both with UFC and Strikeforce, and was the inaugural Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. She last fought in November 2021, scoring a first-round knockout over Jessy Miele for the BTC promotion in Canada. She finishes with a 22-5 with one no contest record, holding wins over the likes of Miesha Tate, Shayna Baszler, Liz Carmouche, Leslie Smith and Alexis Davis.
- Bo Nickal was announced as competing on Dana White’s Contender Series during this upcoming edition, with some time in August being the plan. Nickal is a three-time NCAA Division One national champion and made his MMA debut in June, winning by knockout in 33 seconds. He has serious star power, and I expect him to be signed if he scores an impressive win.
The Crystal Ball
- Israel Adesanya retained the UFC Middleweight Championship with a clear decision win over Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC 276. It wasn’t the most exciting fight, but Adesanya did everything he needed to in scoring the win. The middleweight division needs some time to figure things out, but, luckily for him, Adesanya’s next challenge looks to be the one he wants the most. He’s going to fight Alex Pereira next, there’s zero doubt about it.
- Alexander Volkanovski ended the trilogy with Max Holloway 3-0 after scoring a decision on straight 50-45 scorecards, which was the best performance of Volkanovski’s career and a statement that he may be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. He talked about wanting to go for the lightweight title next and wanting to be active. I actually see him defending the UFC Featherweight Championship next and his next challenger being Josh Emmett.
- Alex Pereira was looking to score a big win on Saturday and get himself a shot at the title next, and he did exactly that in finishing Sean Strickland in the first round in an impressive showing. Pereira is just 3-0 during his UFC tenure, but given their history and what the champion wants next, Pereira is going to get a title shot at Israel Adesanya next. It’s also good for the middleweight division as new contenders can start getting themselves in the mix.
- Bryan Barberena had yet another exciting fight, this time with Robbie Lawler, a fight he’d been dreaming of being in since before his career even started, and he score the second-round finish of Lawler. It is Barberena’s third straight win and he’s got wins in four of his last five. The crystal ball sees Barberena fighting Jake Matthews next.
- Pedro Munhoz didn’t have an easy night at the office on Saturday as he suffered a scratched cornea in his fight against Sean O’Malley, and the fight was stopped in the second round and goes down as a no contest. I don’t see them running this back as Munhoz may be out for a while. The crystal ball says Munhoz should fight Rob Font when he’s ready to return.
- Sean O’Malley was looking to have a break out performance on Saturday, but it ended up being an unfortunate end to his fight against Pedro Munhoz. He accidentally poked Munhoz in the eye in the second round, and the fight ended up being stopped and ruled a no contest. As noted above, I don’t see them running this one back. I see O’Malley fighting Cody Garbrandt next.
- Jalin Turner was extremely impressive on Saturday in scoring a submission win over Brad Riddell in just 45 seconds with a guillotine choke. It is Turner’s fifth straight win, all of which have seen him score a finish. He’s ready for the top competition. With someone on their way back to the lightweight division, I’d like to see Turner fight Dan Hooker next.
- Jim Miller became the winningest fighter in UFC history on Saturday with a second-round submission of Donald Cerrone. It is his 24th UFC win, and he also became the first fighter to reach 40 UFC fights. He also has a new contract and has now won three straight. He’s not going to fight the elite in the division next, but he’s going to always been in a prominent spot on the card. The crystal ball sees him fighting Tony Ferguson next.
- Ian Garry continues to show why he’s one of the bright prospects under UFC contract as he scored an impressive decision win over Gabe Green on Saturday. Green is very tough to finish and Garry nearly did so, but it was a clean victory nonetheless. Garry is now 10-0 in his career, with a 3-0 UFC record. He’s still going to be brought along slowly, so I would like to see him against Jeremiah Wells next.
- Dricus Du Plessis is a name everyone needs to keep an eye on in the middleweight division, as he came back from losing the first round to win the last two rounds and score a decision win over tough veteran Brad Tavares. Du Plessis is now 17-2 in his career and has a 3-0 record. He called for someone in particular for his next fight, someone he was once scheduled to fight, and it makes sense. The crystal ball sees him against Kelvin Gastelum next.
- Andre Muniz moved himself up the middleweight ladder on Saturday and should be inside the top ten after a dominant decision win over Uriah Hall. Muniz moved to 5-0 during his UFC run and it was his ninth straight win overall. He’s ready for top ten competition next. The crystal ball sees him fighting Derek Brunson next.
- Maycee Barber continued to stay in the win column on Saturday, scoring her third straight win with a decision win over Jessica Eye. It is the biggest win on Barber’s resume thus far and she continues to move up the flyweight ladder. She said afterwards that it was the last fight on her contract and she wants a new deal, but she acted like she always wants a huge pay increase as well, which could make for interesting negotiations. Assuming she signs a new deal, the crystal ball sees her fighting Jennifer Maia next.
- Julija Stoliarenko was in a must-win situation on Saturday and she came through in scoring her first UFC win in her fifth try with a 42-second submission of Jessica-Rose Clark with an armbar that saw Clark’s elbow be dislocated. The win keeps Stoliarenko under a UFC deal and secures her another fight. The crystal ball sees her fighting Pannie Kianzad next.
The Chopping Block
- Jared Cannonier fought hard to try and win the UFC Middleweight Championship on Saturday, but his gameplan just didn’t work and he came up short in trying to dethrone Israel Adesanya’s reign at the top. While Cannonier didn’t get the job done, he remains among the best the middleweight division has to offer. His roster spot is SAFE and I’d like to see him fight Sean Strickland next.
- Max Holloway remains one of the best fighters in the world, but it appears he’s only going to be the second-best featherweight in the world for the rest of his career as he came up short in the trilogy bout with Alexander Volkanovski and is now 0-3 against the champion. Holloway’s position on the roster is SAFE FOR LIFE, but his next move will be interesting as he could stay at featherweight or move up to lightweight. I think he stays at featherweight for now and fights Chan Sung Jung next in a fight everyone has wanted to see for years.
I’m still up 2-0 on knockdowns for trilogy. Prob gonna need a 4th to settle this. 😂 Just playing. Congrats to my brother @alexvolkanovski . Go get that 55 strap. You earned the shot. You’re #1 P4P right now. pic.twitter.com/5lUNWZVbRA
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) July 3, 2022
- Sean Strickland talks a big game, for better or worse, but he was going into a bad style match-up for him on Saturday against Alex Pereira. A win would’ve gotten him a title shot, but instead he was on the wrong end of a first-round knockout loss. Even though he says controversial things, Strickland’s roster spot is SAFE and I see him fighting Jared Cannonier next.
- Robbie Lawler is one of the legends in the sport and he’s destined for the UFC Hall Of Fame one day. He was looking for his second straight win on Saturday and was looking good until Bryan Barberena finished him in the second round. Lawler still has some gas left in the tank and he’s GOING NOWHERE, and I’d like to see him fight Tim Means next, as that could be another exciting fight.
- Brad Riddell looked to be on his way towards title contention a year ago, but now he’s looking to end a losing skid after being submitted in 45 seconds on Saturday by Jalin Turner, which is Riddell’s second straight loss. He might fall out of the rankings, and he’ll be looking for a bounce back fight next. His roster spot is SAFE and the crystal ball would like to see him matched up against Alexander Hernandez next.
- Donald Cerrone suffered a second-round submission loss to Jim Miller in his quest to become the all-time UFC wins leader at UFC 276. After the fights, Cerrone took his gloves and signature cowboy hat off, left them in the Octagon and announced he was RETIRED. He leaves as one of the most exciting fighters to compete under the Zuffa banner, and, in his own words, he’s now off to become a movie star.
- Gabe Green was put in a position where he was supposed to make a surging prospect look good, and he did the job on Saturday in giving Ian Garry a tough fight, but coming up short on the scorecards. Green is now 2-2 during his UFC career, but I see his contract being RENEWED and him staying on the roster. He should be looking for a fight against Andre Fialho next.
- Brad Tavares has been a UFC roster mainstay since 2010 and has been inside the middleweight rankings for quite some time, and is a respected veteran. He’s battled a lot of injuries and came back from a year off to have a fun fight against Dricus Du Plessis, but one where he came up short on the scorecards. Tavares might stay in the rankings when they’re updated and his roster spot is SAFE and I’d like to see him fight Uriah Hall next.
- Uriah Hall might officially be the gatekeeper of the middleweight division now after scoring his second straight loss on Saturday, dropping a decision to Andre Muniz. Hall looks like he’ll never be in title contention, but he has some good value as a name on any card. I DOUBT HE’S CUT but it also wouldn’t surprise me if he was. If he remains around, a fight against Brad Tavares would be a good one.
- Jessica Eye fought hard but came up short Saturday as she lost a unanimous decision to Maycee Barber. It marked her fourth straight loss. After the fight, she took off her gloves and also announced she was RETIRED. She said she wanted to choose to walk away before they told her to go away with a cut. She has shown interest in wanting to become a professional wrestler.
- Jessica-Rose Clark is going to be having some time off after Saturday after suffering a dislocated elbow in a 42-second submission loss to Julija Stoliarenko. She’s going to be out of action for quite some time after surgery, and she wasn’t happy with Stoliarenko, claiming she held onto the armbar for too long after she was tapping. Clark is well-liked so her roster spot is SAFE, but with her being out of action for a while, it’s hard to see who she could fight next. For the column sake, I see her fighting the Wu Yanan vs. Lucie Pudilova loser next.
Here are the fights that were announced over the past week:
- Lauren Murphy vs. Miesha Tate — UFC Fight Night — July 16
- Ariane Lipski vs. Priscila Cachoeira — UFC Fight Night — August 6
- Miranda Maverick vs. Shanna Young — UFC 278 — August 20
- Elise Reed vs. Melissa Martinez — UFC 279 — September 10
- Angela Hill vs. Lupita Godinez — UFC Fight Night — October 15
Coming Up This Week
Here are the notable MMA events taking place this upcoming week:
- UFC on ESPN 39 takes place on Saturday, July 9, from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The entire card airs on ESPN & ESPN+, with the main card at 9 p.m. ET and the prelims at 6 p.m. ET. Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Rafael Fiziev in the main event.
- Fury FC 66 takes place on Friday, July 8, from Visalia, California, airing at 8 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- LFA 135 takes place on Friday, July 8, from Phoenix, Arizona, airing at 11 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
In The Clinch
This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will look back at UFC 276 and all of the news coming out of the show. We’ll also take quick looks at The Ultimate Fighter and PFL 6, preview UFC on ESPN 39, and look at everything going on in the world of mixed martial arts. 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 us thru our Patreon page.