The UFC’s broadcasting debut on ABC did not disappoint whatsoever on Saturday afternoon. Not only were fans treated to six hours’ worth of fights on ESPN Plus and ABC, but UFC president Dana White confirmed that UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will be returning to fight one of the top lightweight contenders.
In the featherweight main event, Max Holloway defeated Calvin Kattar via a unanimous decision victory. Holloway put on a clinic against Kattar and his gas tank did not wither at all through the five rounds. It was a terrific action-packed fight that could have been stopped in the fourth but it lasted the entire 25 minutes.
Holloway looked sharp in the first round as he dictated the pace and forced Kattar to fight off of his back foot for most of the round. Holloway landed several spinning back kicks to Kattar’s midsection to close out the round. Holloway ramped up the production in the second round and he rocked Kattar on several occasions and he knocked down Kattar. In the final seconds, Kattar was a bloody mess and he was saved by the bell after he absorbed a barrage of punishment from Holloway.
Kattar had a few moments of glory in the third, but Holloway took over and forced Kattar to work off his back foot for the remainder of the round. The fourth round was a struggle for Kattar after he took a flurry of shots from Holloway and the fight was nearly stopped by the referee Herb Dean. Kattar’s toughness and determination allowed him to stay in the fight and survive for another round. In the final round, Holloway continued his dominant performance by showcasing his striking skills and he even took time in the action to look at the commentary team to let them know that he is the best boxer in the UFC.
To many, Holloway is the uncrowned featherweight champion because of his two razor thin decision losses against the current champion Alexander Volkanovski. Holloway made a strong case to be the next in line to fight the winner of Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega. Holloway deserves to fight for the title next and he could reclaim his title before 2021 ends. Even if Volkanovski wins the bout against Ortega, he needs to face Holloway for a third time because of the master class performance in Abu Dhabi that Holloway put on.
In the co-main event, Carlos Condit looked impressive against Matt Brown in an all-out brawl that resulted in Condit claiming a unanimous decision victory over Brown. Condit put on a clinic with his wrestling ability on the ground, whether he was in the top position or when he had to fight off his back.
Condit is now on a two-fight winning streak and he still has entertaining matchups waiting for him in the welterweight division. A title fight seems to be out of the picture for Condit, but he can still take part in fights against ranked welterweight opponents. It was not that long ago when Condit was nearing retirement and now, he could continue his career. What could be a factor in his future with the UFC is that his contract is up with the promotion, but the win could mean for a contract re-signing.
In other main card fights, Li Jingliang defeated Santiago Ponzinibbio via first-round TKO. Alessio Di Chirico scored a first round TKO victory on Joaquin Buckley with a vicious head kick that dropped Buckley. Overall, the card was a massive success, and it was a phenomenal showing of MMA to a new audience on network television who may have never seen the sport before. This Fight Night card was a terrific primer for the next two cards on Wednesday and Saturday.