It’s honestly a shock UFC 223 even happened after all the craziness before hand. Ferguson pulling out because of an LCL tear, Mcgregor attacking a bus, and Holloway missing weight. Even with all this controversy UFC 223 wasn’t a bad event. Almost all the fights on this card were entertaining, and Zabit and Kyle Bochniak’s fight alone was worth the price of admission. Rose Namajunas proved her first win wasn’t a fluke, and UFC fans can finally call Khabib a champion. Now it’s time to recap the big fights of UFC 223, and give my take on what fights should be next.
Khabib vs Iaquinta: I know I was insane for picking Al Iaquinta, but who didn’t want to see that upset happen? Khabib had a dominant performance in this one, but compared to his past fights it certainly wasn’t his easiest. Al Iaquinta showed his toughness and survived all 5 rounds against Khabib. It’s worth to mention Iaquinta was scheduled to fight Paul Felder in a three round fight. When Holloway fell out Iaquinta jumped on the opportunity. Khabib did his usual dominant ground and pound in the first two rounds, but Iaquinta never gave up. During the fight Iaquinta stuffed a couple of Khabib’s takedowns and landed a couple good shots. Unfortunately for Iaquinta It wasn’t enough, and Khabib won a lopsided decision. The fight I want to see next is Khabib vs Mcgregor. If you want to see Mcgregor vs Mayweather in the octagon instead you’re crazy! The fight all the actual MMA fans want to see next is Mcgregor vs Khabib for the lightweight championship. The build up for this fight would be absolutely insane. Hopefully Mcgregor doesn’t get into too much trouble, because this fight needs to happen.
Al Iaquinta’s stock definitely rises after Saturday night. Since Iaquinta is coming off a loss after this fight I believe he should fight the loser of Gaethje vs Poirier. This would be a huge opportunity for Al, and if he wins he’s one step closer to a title shot. I think the UFC has a future star in Iaquinta. After Iaquinta’s resilience and toughness Saturday night I believe he is a future champion in the UFC.
Namajunas vs Jedrzejczyk: This fight was overshadowed by all the chaos before hand. This fight honestly should’ve been the main event, and it felt like it was. It was a back and fourth fight but Rose eventually got the win via decision. Every time Rose steps in the Octagon she looks better and better. Not only did she win, but she won a decision against arguably the best striker and point fighter in the strawweight division. Joanna did look way better than she did at UFC 217, and made it a very close fight. Joanna’s leg kicks were a huge factor in this fight, but it wasn’t enough. Rose was getting the better of Joanna in a majority of the exchanges and was the all around better fighter. The fight I want to see next is Rose Namajunas vs Jessica Andrade. Andrade is the definite number one contender in the strawweight division. She has picked up wins over Claudia Gadelah and Tecia Torres in her last two fights. It’ll be interesting to see how Rose deals with a fighter like Jessica Andrade. Andrade has some serious power in her hands. She’s a great wrestler and has an excellent ground game.
For Joanna her next fight should be a rematch against Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Karolina picked up a split decision win over Felice Herrig Saturday night. Many are saying she should be the next title challenger, but I don’t understand why. Yes Karolina has a win over the current champ, but her last two wins aren’t as impressive as Andrade’s last two wins. She beat Jodie Esquibel who isn’t ranked, and just picked up a win against Felice Herrig who’s ranked 8th. Torres is ranked 5th and Gadelah is ranked 3rd. With out a question Jessica Andrade should be the next challenger for the strawweight championship.
Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Kyle Bochniak: WHAT A FIGHT! Zabit and Bochniak put on the best fight of the year so far. Zabit looked dominant, but the toughness of Massachusetts own Kyle Bochniak is what made this fight so great. Zabit Magomedsharipov is 6,1 and is easily the most intimidating featherweight in the UFC. Kyle Bochniak simply didn’t care. Zabit’s offense simply didn’t faze him and he just kept moving forward and firing punches at Zabit. The final exchange in the third round was wild and made the crowd go absolutely insane. Zabit won a decision but Bochniak has nothing to be ashamed of after his performance. After his win Saturday night Zabit definitely deserves a top ten opponent. He called out Yair Rodriguez but Rodriguez said he already is currently in negations with another opponent. I think an interesting fight for Zabit would be Josh Emmett. It would be interesting to see if the power of Emmett would give Zabit any problems. The person I think Kyle Bochniak should fight next is Rick Glenn. Glenn is coming off a loss against Myles Jury.
Stephen Caloggero (steveo_calo)