The Etihad Arena on Yas Island, UAE was home to a great night of fights at UFC Fight Island 7: Holloway vs. Kattar. The card saw three (T)KOs and seven decisions, including two split-decisions.
The prelims opened with Austin Lingo defeating an overmatched Jacob Kilburn via lopsided unanimous decision. Vanessa Melo followed up with a spirited fight with Sarah Moras that saw Melo take a unanimous decision victory. Ramzan Emeev won a split-decision over David Zawada in a fight that was so close it could have gone either way. Carlos Felipe defeated Justin Tafa via split-decision in a fun fight that saw the two swing hell for leather to the end, but in my opinion, Tafa won the fight. UFC newcomer, Joselyne Edwards Laboriel defeated Yanan Wu via unanimous decision that showcased her diverse skillset and powerful striking.
The main card opened with Punahele Soriano’s use of Dusko Todorovic for a heavy bag, knocking him down multiple times with huge bombs. After the last one (third, I think?), Herb Dean mercifully intervened. That was a first round mauling. Next was Alessio Di Chirico demolishing Joaquin Buckley in a little over two minutes. I can’t do this fight the justice that our PBP guy, Tim Burke did with his commentary:
“Body kick from Di Chirico. Front kick. Buckley throws. Low kick from Di Chirico. Straight right from Buckley. The next right scores. High kick from Di Chirico. Di Chirico with a counter to a Buckley right. Side kick from Di Chirico. Body punch from Buckley. Jump knee from Di Chirico. Head kick from Di Chirico catches Buckley leaning and HE’S DOWN AND OUT! Di Chirico jumps him with GnP but he was out as soon as the kick landed. WOW!”
Not to be outdone, Li Jingliang dusted Santiago Ponzinibbio in the first round, as well. After a slow start, the heat got turned up to 11 in the last two minutes of the round with the two trading hard kicks and punches. Then the Ponz swung but got hit with a counter left sledgehammer that had him out before he hit the floor like a sack of bricks. The Leech jumped on him but the fat lady had already warbled her sad song for Santiago.
The co-main event was an exciting, back-and-forth affair that saw both men have big moments, and while the judges went 30-27 across the board, I thought Brown took the first round. That’s two in a row for the Natural Born Killer. WOOHOO!
The main event was a total banger, albeit a lopsided one. Holloway wasted no time getting going, uncharacteristic of his normal feeling out process. From the very beginning, he commanded the fight. He beat up Kattar with punches, kicks and the nastiest elbows. Tons of them. It was hard to watch the last three rounds and the fight could’ve and should’ve been stopped in the fourth (even the third would’ve been fine). In any event, it was a masterful performance from Hollway.
Performance of the Night: Di Chirico, Jingliang
Punahele Soriano (KO via punches at 4:48 of round 1), Alessio Di Chirico (KO (head kick), 2:12 of round 1), and Li Jingliang (KO (punch), 4:25 of round 1) all stopped their opponents inside the distance but it would be Li Jingliang and Alessio Di Chirico would take home the POTN bonuses.
Fight of the Night: Holloway vs. Kattar
Austin Lingo (30-26, 30-26, 30-27), Vanessa Melo (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), Ramazan Emeev (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), Carlos Felipe (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), Joselyne Edwards (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Carlos Condit (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) and Max Holloway (50-43, 50-43, 50-42) all finished their respective fights, but it was Max Holloway’s one-sided beating of Calvin Kattar that would take FOTN honors.