Alessio Di Chirico heads into today’s UFC Fight Island 7 in the unenviable position of 0-3 in his last three fights. With few fighters lasting in the Octagon to see 0-4, the pressure is on the Italian to score a win over Joaquin Buckley.
Di Chirico spoke to MMA Fighting about the match-up and why he’s thrilled to be fighting someone with a bit of buzz around them.
“I was super excited,” said Di Chirico. “He’s a very good fighter and I’m really into fighting the best guys I can fight. You’re not into UFC for the easy fights.”
Though he has respect for Buckley’s talent, Di Chirico said he was unimpressed by Buckley’s had sudden rise to prominence—off the back of highlight reel KOTY over Impa Kasanganay—within the stacked UFC ranks,
“Oh man, I’m not impressed by his surge. He did an impressive KO so it’s right he went viral. I was disappointed and sorry for Impa. I knew him in Vegas and he was sweet. I’m sure he’ll be back. There was some genius behind that kick. Well done.”
When studying Buckley, Di Chirico smartly decided to check out a fight featuring a common opponent: Kevin Holland, a leading pick for 2020’s Breakout Fighter of the Year.
“Obviously I watched that fight [with Holland],” said Di Chirico. “Joaquin had a very short notice. It’s fair to say that. But you know, I think he’s way much better than that clown known as Kevin Holland.”
Holland finished Buckley by third round TKO when they tussled at the UFC APEX centre last August. The win over Buckley was one of five Holland scored in a banner year that ended with his improbable KO over Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza.
Di Chirico fought Holland in 2019, losing the contest by unanimous decision. That was the first loss on this current three fight losing skid. After dropping the decision to Holland, he dropped two more unanimous decisions to Makhmud Muradov and then Zak Cummings.
Before running into Holland Di Chirico was on a two fight winning streak with a split decision over Julian Marquez and a KO of Oluwale Bamgbose. His current record stands at 3-5 in the UFC and 12-5 overall.
Di Chirico vs. Buckley goes down on the main card of UFC on ABC: Holloway vs. Kattar. The main event is a top featherweight duel between former champ Max Holloway and rising star Calvin Kattar. Also on the main card Carlos Condit faces Matt Brown and Santiago Ponzinibbio returns versus Li Jingliang.