UFC books headliner between Chan Sung Jung and Dan Ige

The UFC might not have any fights today, but that isn’t keeping them out of the news. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report today that the promotion has finalized a headliner between Chan Sung Jung (16-6) and Dan Ige (15-3).

The matchup of the top ten UFC featherweights will headliner a Fight Night on June 19th. The promotion also finalized the Fight Night main event for the following week featuring heavyweights Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov. 

A matchup against The Korean Zombie is exactly what Dan Ige has been asking the UFC for. Ige just knocked out Gavin Tucker in seconds a few weeks ago and immediately called for a fight with TKZ.

Dan Ige is now 7-1 in his last eight UFC appearances with the lone loss coming to Calvin Kattar. Ige has been wanting another shot at the division’s elite to show that he can compete for a title.

Well, it doesn’t get much more elite than the Zombie. This is going to be a big test for Dan Ige and if he’s able to pull it off, expect him to get a potential title eliminator at 145 in his next UFC matchup.

UFC return for TKZ

Last October, Chan Sung Jung found himself in a title eliminator against Brian Ortega. Had TKZ won that fight, he would have earned a shot against the UFC featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovksi.

Due to Ortega’s inactivity, The Zombie was the favorite heading into the matchup. However, Brian Ortega dominated the fight and Jung suffered his first loss in the octagon since 2018.

Now, TKZ is looking to get back on track and start marching towards the featherweight title. That journey starts at the UFC Fight Night on June 19th. If Jung is able to defeat Ige, he will likely be right back in the title picture. This is a huge matchup for the featherweight division.

UFC: Josh Emmett has dealt with setbacks, but hopeful for late 2021 return

One of the more exciting contenders in the UFC‘s featherweight division is Josh Emmett (16-2). Emmett is arguably the biggest power puncher in the division and all of his fights have fans on the edge of their seats.

Last June, Emmett took on Shane Burgos. The fight was being hyped up and both men delivered on the highest level. It was an absolute war and Emmett ended up coming close to getting the finish in the third round.

Ultimately, the judges unanimously gave the fight to Emmett. It was the third straight UFC victory for Emmett and he was 5-1 in his last six inside the octagon. With the win, Emmett jumped into the top six at featherweight.

However, Emmett didn’t come through the fight unscathed. Emmett completely tore his knee early on in the fight. He continued to fight through the pain which is remarkable considering the way he performed.

With that injury, Emmett has been out of commission since that fight. Emmett told MMA Fighting that he had reconstructive surgery and was undergoing physical therapy at the UFC‘s PI after the fight.

He was recovering and was hoping for a summer return. However, his pain started getting worse and it was discovered that he needed another procedure. Now, he’s still not clear to train and a UFC summer return is not in the cards.

UFC’s plans for Emmett

Emmett told MMA Fighting that he still wants to return late in 2021. When he returns, he wants to take on someone in the UFC’s top five which makes sense given his ranking and current winning streak.

That said, who should the UFC pair Josh Emmett up with? There are rumors circulating that the promotion might be interested in booking Chan Sung Jung (16-6) against Dan Ige (15-3).

Whoever were to win that fight would be ranked in the top five. Given the potential winner’s standing in the division, I think it would be the perfect opponent for Emmett’s UFC return. Now, we don’t know if that fight is getting booked for sure, but either one of those guys are great options for Josh Emmett.

After huge knockout win at UFC Vegas 21, what’s next for Dan Ige?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 21, we got to see a big matchup in the featherweight division. Top ten contender, Dan Ige (15-3), was set to take on rising contender, Gavin Tucker (13-2). Tucker stepped in for Ryan Hall to take this matchup against Ige.

UFC Vegas 21 was looking like a big opportunity for Gavin Tucker. Originally, Ryan Hall was set to take on Dan Ige, but an injury to his hip forced him out. That’s when Tucker stepped in to take on the top ten featherweight.

With a win, Tucker would vault into the UFC rankings. Riding a three-fight win streak, Tucker was ready to play spoiler. However, Dan Ige was motivated to get back on track after having his six-fight win streak snapped in his last fight.

Ige took on Calvin Kattar during the promotion’s first trip to Fight Island in a headliner. Calvin Kattar proved to be too much for Ige and after the loss, Ige looked to reset. His wife is getting ready to have a baby so he was more motivated than ever heading into Saturday.

The fight promised to deliver a lot of action. Little did we know that the UFC Vegas 21 featherweight contest wouldn’t even last 30 seconds. Shortly after the fight started, Ige landed a blistering right hand that put Tucker out. A very quick night at the office for Dan Ige.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 21?

UFC Vegas 21 was huge for Dan Ige. It was what you look for when you put a top ten contender up against someone unranked. You look for the fighter to show why they are ranked in the top ten and that’s exactly what Dan Ige did.

As mentioned, Ige’s wife is getting ready to have a baby so he will take a little time off from training. Once he’s ready to get back into the swing of things, what should the UFC do in terms of the next opponent for Ige?

In looking at the rankings, I think a perfect opponent would be Chan Sung Jung (16-6). The Korean Zombie is coming off of a loss, but he’s a former UFC title challenger with a ton behind his name. This would be a great next step for Dan Ige and I think many fans would sign up to see this fight.

UFC: Dan Ige now will face Gavin Tucker after Ryan Hall’s injury

The UFC has found a new opponent for Dan Ige (14-3). Originally, Ige was supposed to face Ryan Hall (8-1) on March 13th. However, recently, Hall suffered an injury to his hip and had to pull out of the featherweight matchup.

There was initial talk about the promotion pushing back the fight until April or May. That is when Hall will be ready to compete again. However, Dan Ige insisted on staying on the March 13th card due to the fact that he has a baby due in April.

The UFC then went to work on a replacement opponent and they found one. Dan Ige is now going to be taking on Gavin Tucker (13-1) in a few weeks at The APEX. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was first with the news. Tucker is unranked, but he’s one of the best prospects in the featherweight division.

Dan Ige will be fighting for the first time since his headliner last July against Calvin Kattar. It was a huge opportunity for Ige to leap in the rankings had he won. However, he came up short and lost by unanimous decision. However, he did represent himself well that night.

Ige is currently ninth in the UFC‘s featherweight division. From a rankings perspective, this is a bit of a risky fight taking on Gavin Tucker. However, the promotion is known for loving guys who just want to fight and that’s what Ige wants.

Big UFC opportunity for Gavin Tucker

As mentioned, this is a very big opportunity for Gavin Tucker. Tucker currently isn’t ranked in the UFC’s rankings, but he’s right on the edge. He made his debut with the promotion back in 2017.

After winning in his UFC debut, he dropped his second fight by decision. That loss was also the first and only loss of his career. Since then, Tucker has bounced back nicely with three consecutive wins.

We just saw him back in December at UFC 256 when he defeated Billy Quarantillo by decision. Now, he’s getting someone in the UFC’s top ten. Should Tucker pickup the win, you know he will have a ranking by his name the following week. This should be a fun scrap on March 13th.

UFC booking Dan Ige – Ryan Hall (Report)

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a really good matchup in the featherweight division. First reported by BJPenn.com, the promotion is finalizing a featherweight contest between Dan Ige (14-3) and Ryan Hall (8-1).

The fight is currently being targeted for March 13th. Of course that card has already had two big fights announced for that this week in the headliner between Khamzat Chimaev and Leon Edwards as well as a big time heavyweight matchup. 

Now, the March 13th main card is getting a really solid UFC featherweight matchup. For Dan Ige, this will be his first fight since he lost to Calvin Kattar back in July. It was Ige’s first UFC headlining spot and he just came up short.

The loss snapped a six-fight winning streak for Ige. Ige hadn’t lost since his UFC debut which took place back in early 2018. Ige will enter the octagon on March 13th ranked 11th in the division.

UFC Matchup for Ryan Hall

The one fighter that the UFC seems to have the most difficult time booking a fight for is Ryan Hall. We haven’t seen Ryan Hall inside the octagon since July of 2019 when he defeated Darren Elkins by unanimous decision.

Hall has only competed four times in the UFC and he’s the season 22 winner of The Ultimate Fighter. He won TUF back in 2015 and he’s only won three fights since. However, they were three impressive wins.

Hall was able to pickup wins over Gray Maynard and former two-division UFC champion, BJ Penn. Hall has been impressive when he’s fought, however, the issue with Hall has been his inactivity. He’s just the one fighter in the division that nobody seems to want to fight.

With being given Dan Ige, we can rest assured knowing that Hall has an opponent which should make for an exciting fight. It’ll be fascinating to see the way this matchup unfolds. Hall has a funky style, and he’s extremely dangerous on the ground. I’m very intrigued by this matchup.

UFC: Three biggest stars to come out of the contender series

Tomorrow night marks the return of UFC president Dana White’s Contender Series. The contender series made it’s debut back in 2017.

The show has produced incredible fights and the show has introduced us to many fighters who are now prominent in the UFC.

With the return of the series starting tomorrow, I decided to take a look at the three biggest stars, in my opinion, to come out of Dana White’s contender series.

Suga Sean O’Malley

To me, the biggest star is not questionable. The biggest star to come out of the contender series is Suga Sean O’Malley (12-0). O’Malley burst onto the scene when he knocked out Alfred Khashakyan on the show.

Since his appearance on the show, O’Mally has gone 4-0 in the UFC. He had some USADA issues that kept him out of action for a couple of years, but he’s returned in full force in 2020.

O’Malley has scored back-to-back first round knockouts looking better than he ever has. At just 25 years old, the Suga Show is becoming must see TV. He has all the makings to be the next superstar. O’Malley fights Chito Vera at UFC 252 in a couple of weeks.

Geoff Neal

Handz of Steel Geoff Neal (13-2) appeared on the contender series back in 2017. That night, Neal knocked out Chase Waldon in the first round earning himself a shot in the UFC.

Since joining the promotion, Neal has looked incredible. Neal has gone 5-0 with only one fight going the distance. Neal has the makeup to be a big star in the UFC. He’s got incredible talent and a killer instinct.

Because he is so dangerous, the promotion was having a difficult timing finding Neal a fight in 2020. It became so bad that Neal had to pick up a job serving tables just to make some extra money.

However, Neal was recently booked to take on fellow top 15 welterweight Neil Magny on August 29th. If Neal looks impressive in that contest, he might only be a couple of wins away from getting a shot at the title.

Edmen Shahbazyan

Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1) was making headlines last week because everyone believes he’s going to be a star. The 22 year old went into UFC Vegas 5 at 11-0 with 10 first round finishes. One of those finishes came in the contender series.

Shahbazyan was humbled over the weekend by Derek Brunson and he suffered the first loss of his career. Again, at just 22, the future is very bright for Shahbazyan. The man could still become world champion one day.

He’s still going to be ranked in the top ten of the UFC‘s middleweight division despite the loss. With the talent and following he has already, you can’t deny that he’s one of the biggest stars we’ve seen come out of the show.

Other UFC notables

In addition to the three that I mentioned, there have been several other big time fighters to come out of the show. Fighters like Dan Ige, Ian Heinisch, Maycee Barber, Greg Hardy, Ricky Simon, and Ryan Spann amongst others.

White’s show has been incredibly successful about finding some premier talent. I’m pumped that the show is coming back, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the future stars of the UFC.

UFC on ESPN 13 Recap: Calvin Kattar outpoints Dan Ige over five rounds

UFC

Round two went off on the UFC‘s Fight Island this evening. The main event of the evening featured a featherweight contest between Calvin Kattar (22-4) and Dan Ige (14-3). The second card on Fight Island didn’t disappoint.

Kattar out strikes Ige over five rounds

The main event of the evening featured two top ten UFC featherweights going to war in Kattar and Ige. A win for either man in this contest would likely mean a crack at someone inside the top five.

Both men started out the fight just feeling the other out, not throwing a ton. Ige rushed in a couple of times with shots, but Kattar evaded the shots easily. Kattar seemed really patient right out of the gate while Ige seemed more aggressive.

About two minutes in, Kattar started to press forward throwing his jab. After Ige landed a decent body shot, Kattar ripped a right hook and left uppercut. Kattar landed a couple of good shots before Ige shot for a takedown.

Kattar defended the takedown well and both men returned to their feet. Ige was throwing hard, but Kattar just seemed a little smoother on the feet. Ige had his moments in round one, but the first goes to Kattar.

Both men started slow in round two not throwing much in the opening minute. Ige got the action started with a good body shot, but as soon as it landed, Kattar started moving forward. Kattar did a fantastic job early of catching Ige.

About halfway through the round, Ige landed a massive shot to Kattar’s nose which got the blood flowing. Kattar had his nose broken in his previous fight and it clearly started bothering him.

Ige really started to get comfortable and confident in the latter half of the second round. With about thirty seconds left in the round, Kattar got more aggressive throwing some combinations. Good bounce back round for Ige who takes this one evening up the fight 1-1.

Ige started round three moving forward right away. Kattar seemed a bit more aggressive to round three throwing a bit more early. Ige did a pretty good job of landing calf kicks early in the third.

Kattar was pushing forward a lot more in round three, but Ige was doing a really good job of exploding forward landing shots. With about two minutes left in the round, Kattar landed some clean shots that caused Ige to shoot for a takedown.

To me, it was evident that Kattar had the better hands, but he was just waiting too much. With about a minute left, Kattar got a bit more aggressive which allowed him to land some good shots. Close round, but I go with Kattar in round three.

Kattar opened the main event rounds trying to work off the job. Ige shot in for a deep takedown, but he was not able to get Kattar down. Kattar backed Ige back towards the fence and started throwing some heat.

Ige tried for another takedown, but again was not able to get Kattar down. Kattar seemed to be upping the pressure to start the fourth. Ige would shoot forward with shots, but they were coming a little slower than they were in previous rounds.

Kattar started landing more and more leg kicks in the fourth which caused constant stance switches for Ige. Ige was still game, but he just didn’t seem as fresh as Kattar. Good fourth round for Kattar who’s up 3-1 on my scorecard.

Entering the final round, Kattar looked very confident on his feet. Every time that Ige rushed in early, Kattar would land a smooth counter shot. Kattar did a really good job through the first half of the round of fighting from a distance.

Both men exchanged with big shots about halfway through the round. Ige tried again for a takedown, but Kattar again defended. Ige was officially 0-7 on takedowns at this point. With ten seconds left, Kattar threw some massive shots which forced another Ige takedown attempt. Kattar reversed and landed some bombs as the fight ended.

Entertaining fight, and I give the final round as well as the fight to Calvin Kattar 49-46. The judges agreed giving the fight to Kattar on all scorecards (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).

Tim Elliott edges Ryan Benoit in an entertaining scrap

The co-main event of the evening featured a flyweight contest between former UFC title challenger, Tim Elliott (16-11-1) and the powerful, Ryan Benoit (10-7). Elliot came into tonight with his back against a wall after going 1-4 in his last five fights.

Elliott immediately came out looking to put pressure on Benoit. Both men appeared to just be gauging the range early on. After about two minutes, the two men started opening up and Benoit landed some big shots.

Elliott tried to get the fight to the ground, but Benoit defended nicely. Elliott continued to keep Benoit on his back foot with his awkward movement and pressure. Benoit seemed to be waiting a little too much in the first round.

Elliott tried for a couple of more takedowns but couldn’t land one. Benoit landed a massive body shot which caused Elliott to shoot again. Elliott was able to land two quick takedowns in the last minute. Very close round, but because of the constant forward pressure and late takedowns, I’ll give it to Elliott.

Elliott danced his way in to start round two, but Benoit landed some decent shots to start. Benoit landed another big kick, but Elliott was able to counter with a few good shots of his own. Elliott was doing a really good job at constantly moving forward.

However, about two minutes in, Benoit started to land some really big shots as Elliott was coming in. Elliott’s pressure was forcing the shots and Benoit landed a takedown, but shot right into a guillotine. Elliott had the choke tight, but couldn’t finish it.

After a scramble, Benoit caught Elliott in a deep knee bar that caused Elliott to wince in pain. Somehow, Elliott didn’t tap despite the obvious pain. Both men ended up back on their feet with a minute left.

Benoit landed some really good shots again as Elliott plotted forward. Very entertaining round that I’ll give to Benoit. I had it even going into the final round.

Both men got right back after it to start the third round. Elliott continued moving forward putting pressure on Benoit. After a takedown attempt, Elliott landed some really good knees and elbows.

It appeared early in the third that Benoit looked a little tired. Elliott flashed a really good jab that was touching Benoit. Elliott appeared to have hurt his right hand in one of the grappling exchanges. Despite that, Elliott was getting the better of the striking exchanges.

Elliott continued to pepper Benoit with good jabs late in the round. Benoit threw some massive shots and landed some good ones. Nothing seemed to hurt Elliott significantly. In the last ten seconds, Benoit tried to go all out for a finish, but couldn’t land the big shot.

This was a very entertaining fight in the UFC‘s flyweight division. I gave the third round to Elliott which would give him the fight 29-28 in my opinion. In the end, all three judges agreed giving Elliott the unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Jimmie Rivera decisions Cody Stamann

The third fight of the main card could have honestly been a main event between UFC bantamweights Jimmie Rivera (23-4) and Cody Stamann (19-3-1).

Because the fight came together on short notice, the two bantamweights met at the featherweight limit of 145 pounds.

Both men opened the fight with power shots with Stamann throwing a hook and Rivera a leg kick. After gauging the distance, Rivera landed a massive hook to the body then a hook to the head. After Rivera slipped from a kick, Stamann stormed forward landing some nice shots.

Rivera then caught a leg kick from Stamann and countered with a shot that put Stamann down momentarily. Stamann got back to his feet, but Rivera tried to take him down. Stamann pulled off a nice reversal before taking Rivera down momentarily.

The referee separated the two men despite Stamann having control of Rivera’s back. Once they were back to striking, Rivera was getting the better of the striking exchanges. Close round one, but that separation really hurt Stamann. 10-9 for Rivera after one.

The second round started with Stamann immediately shooting in for a takedown. After briefly being taken down, Rivera popped right back up. After being controlled from the back, Rivera reversed the position and took Stamann down.

Stamann popped right back up following the takedown. The two men broke from grappling with about two minutes left in the round. Rivera pressed forward cutting off the cage from Stamann. Rivera landed some decent shots in the last couple of minutes, but Stamann held his own. Close round, but I lean Rivera again.

Early on in the final round, Stamann shot in for another takedown. Prior to the shot, Rivera did land a couple of clean shots. Rivera defended the takedown nicely before reversing the position.

Rivera landed some nice shots against the cage before the two men separated. Stamann would land shots here and there, but Rivera was consistently landing a little more in the third. With two minutes left, Stamann shot in for another takedown, but again Rivera defended.

Rivera briefly locked in a guillotine, but Stamann defended nicely. The two men separated again with about a minute left. Both men started trading shots in the final minute. An entertaining end to a pretty decent fight.

I gave the third round to Rivera giving him the fight 30-27. The judges agreed giving the fight to Rivera by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Talia Santos dominant over Molly McCann

The second fight on the main card tonight featured a women’s flyweight contest between Molly McCann (10-3) and Talia Santos (16-1).

McCann came into tonight trying to win her fourth consecutive fight while Santos was looking to bounce back from her first career loss.

McCann sprinted across the octagon to start the fight. Santos backed her up with a couple of clean straight shots using her reach advantage. McCann landed some pretty decent hooks as Santos tried to come in. Both women landed some really good shots in the early exchanges.

McCann was hitting Santos with some clean shots which cut the Brazilian. Santos seemed to be kick heavy early landed some nice ones to the body. With about 90 seconds left in the round, Santos landed a big takedown. McCann got back to her feet, but was hit with some nasty knees to the body. Entertaining round one that I gave to Santos.

McCann came right out with urgency in round two. Santos seemed pretty composed trying to fight from distance. McCann pushed Santos against the fence looking for a takedown early in the second.

After a couple of failed attempts, the two ladies separated. Santos landed some nice body kicks before securing another takedown, and immediately transitioned to the mount. Santos came close to securing a choke as McCann tried to work her way back up.

McCann used the cage to get up but Santos dragged her right back to the ground. McCann kept working off of her back to get up, but Santos did a fantastic job of controlling her. Two straight rounds for Santos.

McCann stormed forward again to start the third throwing big shots. However, Santos did a fantastic job at keeping the fight at distance landing some clean shots. McCann was wearing the damage early in the third round.

Clearly no quit in McCann as she continued to storm forward throwing everything, but nothing significant was landing. Two minutes into the final round, Santos secured a takedown after McCann landed a couple of good shots.

The rest of the round consisted of McCann trying to get back to her feet just to have Santos drag her right back down. Santos controlled the round as she did the fight.

I gave the third round and the fight to Santos 30-27. The judges unanimously agreed giving the decision to Talia Santos (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). This was the first win in the UFC.

Lazzez defeats Alhassan in impressive UFC debut

Opening up the main card this evening was the fight I had been looking forward to between UFC welterweights, Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-2) and Mounir Lazzez (10-1).

Many were looking forward to this one due to the fact that the two men had a combined 18 knockouts between 19 wins.

Lazzez stormed right to the center but he was met immediately by Alhassan early in the first. Alhassan backed Lazzez up against the fence early and started landing bombs on Lazzez. For a second Lazzez seemed rocked, but he survived the storm. Alhassan seemed to be very tired after the initial exchanges.

Lazzez started to find his rhythm about halfway through the round. He started landing some nasty leg kicks and knees to the body. The Sniper looked insanely loose near the end of the round landing clean shots. Lazzez also landed a takedown at the end of the round to seal the round for the UFC newcomer.

Alhassan looked extremely tired to start the second round. Lazzez looked fresh coming out for the second landing good kicks and jabs. Alhassan continued to plot forward, but he was getting touched up coming in. Lazzez stormed forward after landing a few really clean shots.

Alhassan appeared rocked against the cage as Lazzez flooded him with shots. Alhassan ripped back with a few hooks, but nothing damaging landed. Lazzez shot in for another takedown halfway through the round taking Alhassan down.

The referee stood up the two men after less than a minute on the ground. Once back on the feet, Lazzez landed some nasty shots against the fence before taking Alhassan down again. After only seconds on the ground, the referee stood up the two men once again in an odd officiating call just before the round ended. Another round for Lazzez.

Both men came out for the third round and exchanged leg kicks. The pace had slowed significantly from both men in the third. Lazzez landed a massive knee on Alhassan as Alhassan shot in for the takedown. Alhassan got two quick takedowns, but Lazzez bounced right back up.

Lazzez reversed position against the cage before taking Alhassan down with about two minutes left in the round. Lazzez landed some massive elbows from side control. With 10 seconds left Alhassan got back up and threw some haymakers before the final bell. I lean Lazzez in that final round and give him the fight 30-27.

The judges agreed giving the fight unanimously to the UFC newcomer Lazzez (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Final Takeaways from UFC on ESPN 13

If you wanted to see finished, UFC on ESPN 13’s main card didn’t deliver, but the night was filled with some entertaining fights. The prelims had some great contests as well. A solid night of fights which served as a great appetizer for Saturday’s round three from Fight Island.

UFC on ESPN 13 Preview: Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige try to inch closer to a title shot

UFC

The UFC has round two on Fight Island tomorrow night. In the headliner, Calvin Kattar (21-4) takes on Dan Ige (14-2) in a battle of two top ten UFC featherweights. A win for either man could inch them closer to the title. Should be a solid night of fights so lets dive into the main card.

Calvin Kattar vs Dan Ige

The main event is a fight that I’m really looking forward to. Calvin Kattar is definitely one of the best featherweights in the world.

He’s coming off of a knockout victory over Jeremy Stephens back at UFC 249. Prior to that he lost a decision to Zabit Magomedsharipov, but Kattar was really coming on in that fight. He’s been tested by some of the best guys in the world.

When any fight is on the feet, Kattar is a tough challenge for anyone. He has very smooth boxing, but he also has a variety of clean striking techniques like the knockout elbow he landed against Stephens.

Ige comes into this fight on an impressive six fight winning streak. He’s slowly taken on better and better competition as the winning streak has occurred with his most impressive win coming in his last contest.

Ige has decent striking, and he does a really good job of transitioning striking to takedowns. I think he will have to try to get Kattar to the ground in this one if he wants to have a chance to win. Both of his last two wins were split decisions, but he’s going to have to do more to win this one.

Ige is really good, but I’m not sure he’s on Kattar’s level. When the fight’s on the feet, Ige is going to have his hands full. Expect Ige to have some moments, but I expect Kattar to get his second finish in the last couple of months in this one.

Prediction: Calvin Kattar by TKO – Round 3

Tim Elliot vs Ryan Benoit

The co-main event of the evening features a flyweight contest between Tim Elliot (15-11-1) and Ryan Benoit (10-6).

For Elliot, this is a massive fight for him. The former title challenger is just 1-4 in his last five fights including losing three in a row. A loss tomorrow night could spell the end for Elliot in the UFC.

Elliot is extremely active and does a lot of things well. He’s got a very unique style, but he’s always busy. He’s good on the ground, and his awkward stand-up allows him to land some decent shots. He’s also got a very good chin.

Benoit has some of the best power in the division, and it’s effortless power. If Benoit lands clean, he’s going to hurt you. Benoit fought for the first time back in December after a two year layoff and he lost a split decision.

Benoit is going to want to keep this standing and he’s going to be looking for the knockout. Elliot’s activity and frantic pace will give the judges a lot to look at. To me the fight comes down to how it’s one. If there’s a finish, Benoit is taking it. If it goes to the cards, I think Elliot will take this one due to his fighting style.

Prediction: Tim Elliot by Unanimous Decision

Jimmie Rivera vs Cody Stamann

The third fight of the evening is a fight that was recently added between Jimmie Rivera (22-4) and Cody Stamann (19-2-1). This fight is between two bantamweights, but due to the short notice, it’s taking place at featherweight.

This is a fight that was originally targeted for August, but after both men volunteered to replace Pedro Munhoz, the UFC decided to add this fight to the card. Rivera comes into this fight 1-3 in his last four fights.

Rivera has always been one of the better bantamweights in the world, but he’s not at the elite level. His three losses were all against the top three guys currently in the division. Rivera has a very solid overall game. Good grappling, good boxing, and really good muy thai.

Stamann comes into this fight after winning the most emotional fight of his career last month at UFC 250. Stamann had just lost his little brother, but put on one of his best performance on his way to victory against Brian Kelleher.

Stamann has shown improved striking, but he uses that to try to setup takedowns or opportunities to grapple. To me, this is Stamann’s second crack at really top tier competition after losing to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 228.

I really like Stamann, but I think I’m leaning towards Rivera in this one. I think Rivera is going to keep the fight standing, and I think his more polished striking will allow him to land at a higher rate giving him the decision in this one.

Prediction: Jimmie Rivera by Unanimous Decision

Molly McCann vs Talia Santos

The second fight on the main card of UFC on ESPN 13 is a women’s flyweight contest between Molly McCann (10-2) and Talia Santos (15-1).

McCann comes into this fight on a three fight winning streak. She’s as tough as they come and she loves to brawl. The English flyweight does extremely well at closing the distance despite her height disadvantage in the division.

She has really good hooks that she’s able to land up top or dig to the body. She’s also the type of fighter who is going to close the distance and move forward the entire time.

Santos is coming into this fight after losing the first fight of her pro career in February of 2019. The Brazilian has 10 knockouts on her record, and she’s a very good striker.Santos is solid all around, but she’s extremely unproven.

Despite having more fights than McCann, Santos hasn’t faced the same level of competition. You could say that her record was a little padded coming into the UFC. In this matchup, I think it’s a lot to ask of Santos to get passed someone as tough as McCann. I think Santos will have her moments, but expect McCann to close the distance well and land enough to score a decision.

Prediction: Molly McCann by Unanimous Decision

Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Mounir Lazzez

This might be the fight I’m looking forward to the most out of the entire card. Welterweight knockout artist, Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-1) will be taking on UFC newcomer Mounir Lazzez (9-1).

If you’re a fan of striking, this is not a fight you’re going to want to miss. These two men have 19 wins between the two of them, and 18 of those wins came by knockout. These two men are going to stand and trade.

Alhassan might be one of the scariest UFC welterweights in the world. All ten of his professional wins have come via first round knockout. In his last fight, he starched Niko Price in the first. Alhassan comes forward extremely aggressive, but he’s got good technique as well.

Lazzez was given a really rough draw in his first UFC contest. However, Lazzez does have a skillset that can help him. His nickname is “The Sniper” and that’s how he fights. He does a really good job at connecting from distance.

With these two prolific knockout artists, I do not see this fight lasting long. I really like Lazzez in this division, but this is just too much for his first fight. I think Alhassan is going to see a second round for the first time in his career, but it doesn’t last long after that.

Prediction: Abdul Razak Alhassan by TKO – Round 2

UFC on ESPN 13 Outlook

UFC on ESPN 13 is a card that doesn’t have a lot of big names, but it’s a card that the hard core MMA fans should love. From the opening fight of the main card to the main event, there are some serious fights that should entertain. Expect a lot of fireworks tomorrow from Fight Island.

UFC: Josh Emmett ready for the top five

Despite having one of the best performances of his UFC career, Josh Emmett (16-2) looked incredibly frustrated after his incredibly impressive victory on Saturday night. Not frustrated with the performance, but frustrated with all of the people who doubted him going into the fight. Admittedly, I was one of the pundits who predicted him to lose to Shane Burgos. Instead, Emmett put on the performance of his career on a likely torn ACL which was suffered seconds into the fight. With his performance Saturday, you can no longer deny that Emmett is truly one of the best featherweights in the UFC.

Frustrated with being the UFC’s Gatekeeper

“I can beat anyone in the world, so I hope tonight I can start to get some push. I hope the UFC can push me, build me up, do something for me, instead of just trying to keep me as a gatekeeper and just fight all these veterans and tough prospects and up-and-comers. It’s just so frustrating to me.” Emmett said to MMA Junkie after the fight. Emmett said in his post-fight interview that he was frustrated with being the “gatekeeper”, and that he wanted to move up in his career. After Saturday night, I don’t think you can deny the man any longer.

Top Five Options for Emmett

Obviously, we are going to have to see what the status is with Emmett’s knee. Let’s say the results come back better than expected, what’s next for Emmett? I think you would have to give Emmett someone who is in the top five of the UFC‘s featherweight division. All of the top six is currently booked, but I think I have a good fight for Emmett in his next fight. Realistically, I think a good fight for Emmett would be fighting the winner of the Calvin Kattar/Dan Ige fight which takes place on July 15th. Ideally if Kattar were to win in July, you could match Emmett up with Kattar with the winner looking to jump into a title eliminator fight.

Another fight that could make sense for Emmett is taking on the loser of the Holloway/Volkanovski UFC featherweight title fight. While it might not make sense at first, think about it. Whoever loses, unless they do the trilogy, is going to need a top ten opponent in their next fight. Emmett is looking for an opponent where he could show that he’s championship caliber. It could be a perfect matchup.

There are few possibilities, but there is no questioning the fact that Josh Emmett needs a top five opponent in his next fight. The man has paid his dues, and he’s proven to everyone that he’s more than just a one shot knockout artist.

UFC: Calvin Kattar-Dan Ige to headline July 15th card on Fight Island

UFC

The UFC‘s July 15th card now has a main event, and it’s a good one. Featherweights, Calvin Kattar (21-4) and Dan Ige (14-2), will be going head to head on Fight Island. The fight was announced last night as the headliner for the UFC‘s rare Wednesday night card.

One step closer for Kattar

Calvin Kattar comes into this contest as the sixth ranked featherweight in the UFC. Since joining the UFC back in 2017, Kattar holds a record of 5-2. His last performance was arguably his best one yet when he knocked out Jeremy Stephens with a brutal elbow at UFC 249. Kattar also gave top contender, Zabit Magomedsharipov, the hardest fight of his UFC career. If Kattar is able to win on July 15th, he might only be a win away from a UFC title shot. Kattar has knockouts in his last three wins, and he’s quickly being known as one of the top guys at 145.

Ige’s Massive Opportunity

Standing across from Kattar will be Dan Ige. Ige comes into the contest as the 11th ranked featherweight in the UFC, but he’s won six consecutive fights. We last saw Ige a month ago when he defeated former top contender, Edson Barboza, by split decision. I personally had the fight for Barboza, but the only people that mattered saw the fight for Ige. With that win, Ige has put himself in position to get one of the top guys in the world. Kattar is a big step up in competition, but if Ige is able to win, he will prove to the UFC that he is truly one of the best guys in the world.

UFC’s Fight Island is on fire

The UFC is bringing some incredible fights to Fight Island. It all starts on July 11th with three title fights, and a stacked card. Then you have Kattar/Ige, Figueiredo/Benavidez 2 for the flyweight title, and Whittaker/Till following. Four cards in 14 days on Fight Island. While the top draws won’t be appearing on Fight Island, the cards are absolutely stacked, and July is turning into one of the more anticipated months in UFC history.