Editorial – UFC Kansas City: What’s Next – 6 great fights to make after this weekend’s action in Missouri

Max Holloway reintroduced sparring into training ahead of UFC Kansas City win

UFC Kansas City was Max Holloway’s night. ‘Blessed’ came out of this weekend’s affairs as the King of Kansas City. After a gruelling affair against Englishman, Arnold Allen, who was previously unbeaten in the UFC, the Hawaaian edged the contender on the scorecards. It should be noted, however, that it was far by less than ‘Blessed’s’ usual runaway victories. Some fans are even asserting that it is Allen who was the rightful winner, showing the competitive nature of the enthralling bout.

In this piece, we look at potential match-ups for some of the big winners, and unfortunate losers that fought this weekend.

UFC Kansas City post-fight matchmaking

Max Holloway 

Dana White rules out UFC Hawaii event in the future Max Holloway
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

UFC Kansas City was a blessing in disguise for ‘Blessed’.

The former long-reigning king of the division showed that just because he can’t quite get the strap off of Alexander Volkanovski’s waist, that doesn’t make him anyone’s stepping stone. Arnold Allen gave him all that he could handle, but it was the vintage volume from Holloway that sealed his victory.

“Blessed” is now calling for a fight with ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan-Sung Jung. This makes little sense rankings-wise, but with the losses to Volkanovski, Holloway has very little in the way of fresh opponents.

Allen is a better win than ‘The Korean Zombie’ these days, so this would be more fan service than anything else. What could be guaranteed is that the fight would be one for the ages. Former foe Volkanovski is calling for Holloway to make the move to lightweight, although his previous bout against Poirier at 155 may be discouraging.

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Elsewhere, the winner of Josh Emmett vs Ilia Topuria could be another option, with the winner surely forcing Volkanovski to fight them.

Arnold Allen

The eight-year, ten-fight unbeaten streak inside the UFC has come to an end for Arnold Allen. He can hold his head high though, having had an extremely competitive fight against one of the very best fighters the division has ever seen.

Periods of low-volume striking probably cost the Englishman, who came on strong in the fifth round, but it was too little, too late. It showed many watching that although he may not be number one yet, Allen is most certainly in the top five featherweights in the company.

A rematch with Calvin Kattar would make sense, although he may be out til early 2024, with an injury from their original fight. In the meantime, Brian Ortega appears to be the logical choice. Ranked third and fourth respectively, this could headline, or co-main event the UFC Fight Night heading to London in July.

Edson Barboza

Knee from Barboza at UFC Kansas City
Knee from Barboza at UFC Kansas City

Edson Barboza is one of the deadliest strikers to ever grace the octagon, and once again at UFC Kansas City, it was the ever-lethal knees of the Brazillian that ended the bout. Looking as comfortable as he ever has, he peppered his opponent Billy Quarantillo with hard, stiff kicks. For the closing sequence, Barboza deployed a knee, with his back to the cage, and rendered “Billy Q” defenseless.

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At 37, he is no spring chicken. He has fought most of the divisions elite, which often leaves just dangerous newcomers. Sodiq Yusuff is the name that makes the most sense. It would be an exciting match-up that would force Yusuff to sink or swim, and Barboza a chance to show, once again, that he is lethal to any fighter at 145lbs.

Ion Cutelaba

The UFC’s resident madman came out on top this weekend. Former heavyweight Tanner Boser felt the power of the Moldovan madman at UFC Kansas City as he broke a three-fight loss streak by way of knockout by way of TKO in the first round, using his fists frantically to pound Boser to the canvas.

Modestas Bukauskas makes sense and should be a fun affair between two of Europe’s premier 205-pounders. Bukauskas is currently on a three-fight win streak, with his most recent being over Tyson Pedro. The pairing makes sense, possibly on the UFC London card that is upcoming.

Pedro Munhoz

The foil for many an up-and-comer, Pedro Munhoz delivered once again this weekend, much to the disappointment of Chris Gutierrez. After dropping his opponent in the first round, Munhoz looked like the better fighter in the pairing. Despite his streaky form on the record books, Munhoz is still in the realms of the elite.

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Umar Nurmagomedov would be interesting. The 16-0 prospect needs a test of this magnitude, and Munhoz is exactly the type of fighter to let us know what the young Russian is made of.

Bill Algeo

Bill Algeo gave a good account of himself in Kansas City, well at least inside the cage.

Having impressively submitted TJ Brown in the second round with a rear-naked choke, he unleashed his inner Colby Covington. After removing his gloves, and appearing to be about to retire, Algeo then cut a promo on the crowd in attendance at UFC Kansas City, stating :

“Listen, I would never retire in a dump like Kansas City,” Algeo told the crowd at T-Mobile Center. “I look around here and all I see is a bunch of Croc-wearing’, Uber Eats drivin’, Bud Light drinkin’ … sons of guns. I ain’t never retiring! Woo!”

Taking the WWE merger to heart, Algeo matches up well with recent 145lb debutant Jack Shore, in what would be a stiff test for both men.

Clay Guida looks to have his next bout lined up already, with Dana White reportedly unhappy at the old-timer’s fake retirement. Lucie Pudilová will be fighting the Kansas City judges, as some truly awful judging handed her an eighth professional loss.

Who do you think Max Holloway should take on next?