Check out this week’s “Spinning Back Clique,” MMA Junkie’s weekly live show that takes a spin through the biggest topics in mixed martial arts.
This week’s panel of Farah Hannoun, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Nolan King will join host “Gorgeous” George Garcia live at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) to discuss and debate:
Lightweight champion Islam Makhachev looked better than ever when he took out featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski with a first-round knockout after he landed a head kick at UFC 294. Makhachev put a stamp on his rivalry with Volkanovski, has won 13 straight, is 14-1 in the UFC, has finishes in six of his past seven – is he the real deal, or is the jury still out on him as a potential all-time great?
Volkanovski took his second crack at Makhachev’s lightweight title and the opportunity to become a two-division champ on less than two weeks’ notice. He fared far worse in the rematch than in their February fight, when he lost a decision – but in a fight many scored in his favor. He admitted after this latest loss it might have been a bad idea to take a fight with that high of stakes on that short of notice. Can the UFC and other fighters learn something from it, or is the risk still worth the potential reward?
In the UFC 294 co-main event, former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman stepped up on short notice to fight Khamzat Chimaev at middleweight. And though Usman lost the fight, some thought he may have won – or at least could have left with a draw. Chimaev likely is next for new champ Sean Strickland, but should did he do enough to truly earn it? Is he championship material? And what’s next for Usman with three straight losses?
UFC 294 had its fair share of weird moments in Abu Dhabi. In one, the cageside doctor told a fighter who was in the middle of recovery time for a low blow that he had not been kicked in the groin. The fighter, Victor Henry, never recovered, left the arena in an ambulance, and had to be treated at a local hospital from the low strike. On the main card, the same doctor asked Johnny Walker what country he was in after an illegal strike from Magomed Ankalaev, and when he didn’t get a satisfactory answer said the fight should be stopped. It was, and that decision nearly set off a brawl and forced UFC CEO Dana White into the cage to help settle things down. What do we make of all the shenanigans at UFC 294?
After months and months of being in the news about his dispute with the UFC and his free agency move to the PFL and boxing opportunities, Francis Ngannou finally will fight again Saturday when he boxes Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia. We’ll look ahead to his boxing debut and what the future holds for him outside the UFC.