Check out this week’s “Spinning Back Clique,” MMA Junkie’s weekly show that takes a spin through the biggest topics in mixed martial arts.
This week, our panel discusses the aftermath of 2021 PFL Playoffs 2 and UFC on ESPN 29, including what comes next for the night’s big winners. We also look at some surprising comments from a future UFC Hall of Famer and look forward to this weekend’s lineup, which sees the UFC and PFL both in action, as well as the return of a former UFC champion in his professional boxing debut.
Our “Spinning Back Clique” panel this week of Matthew Wells, Nolan King and “Gorgeous” George Garcia discusses these topics and more with host John Morgan.
We just wrapped a busy week in MMA, and one of the most high-profile performances saw Kayla Harrison remain undefeated with another dominant victory, this time over Genah Fabian. When Bellator featherweight champ Cris Cyborg teased a future fight, Harrison said quite bluntly, “You can’t beat me.” It’s clear Harrison is one of the best pound-for-pound female fighters in the sport, but given the competition she’s faced thus far, is it fair to think she could hang with the most dominant names in the sport like Cyborg, or her own teammate, Amanda Nunes?
At UFC on ESPN 29, Jared Cannonier picked up a big win over the durable Kelvin Gastelum. Afterward, Cannonier said he believes he’s deserving of a title shot next but would also consider competing in a No. 1 contender fight if he was promised a title shot with a win. What is the right move here for Cannonier, who is an absolute specimen of an athlete, but is also 37 years old?
Outside of the main event, UFC on ESPN 29 also featured a key flyweight matchup, with Alexandre Pantoja scoring a submission win over Brandon Royval and then immediately making a case for a flyweight title shot with Brandon Moreno, who was in the building at the UFC Apex. Pantoja has a couple of wins over Moreno, but there are some cases to be made against him. Deiveson Figueiredo and Askar Askarov both believe they should be ahead in the pecking order, and Cody Garbrandt is out there as a potential ratings draw. So what makes sense for “The Assassin Baby”? Is Pantoja due?
Perhaps one of the most surprising moments of this past week was Khabib Nurmagomedov coming out with criticism of fellow former UFC champion Jose Aldo, putting off any type of discussion that the 34-year-old Brazilian was enjoying a second peak of his career. Conor McGregor sure took exception to the evaluation, but what say you: Fair or foul?
It’s another busy weekend in the sport, and it’s a particularly good one at featherweight. On Friday, PFL hosts Brendan Loughnane vs. Movlid Khaybulaev, and those two have a combined career record of 38-3-1. Meanwhile, on Saturday, it’s a striker’s delight with Edson Barboza vs. Giga Chikadze. Which of those fights is the most intriguing matchup of the weekend and why, or is there another option on the table?
The fun doesn’t end Saturday. Sunday night, it’s the fight the world has been waiting for: Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley step into the squared circle in Cleveland for the latest in an increasingly growing number of featured boxing matches. You can say you won’t watch it, but you know you want to know how it plays out. So Monday morning, what are we talking about in the wake of this fight?