UFC: Glover Teixiera – Thiago Santos fight off again due to positive COVID test (Report)

Anthony Smith, UFC

One of the more anticipated UFC light heavyweight matchups of the fall is going to be cancelled for the second time. Per a report from Combate, Thiago Santos (21-7) has tested positive for COVID-19. His October 3rd fight with Glover Teixiera (31-7) is off.

This is the second time that COVID has derailed this UFC title eliminator. Originally, this fight was supposed to be the main event of UFC Vegas 10 that occurred last weekend. However, Teixiera tested positive and they pushed the fight back to October 3rd.

Now, just weeks ahead of the anticipated matchup, Santos has gone down. We do not have any idea of what the UFC is planning to do just yet. If I had to guess, I would say that the promotion would plan on pushing the fight back once again.

UFC Title Eliminator

The main reason that I believe that the UFC is going to push forward with this fight is the title implications. There is really nobody else in the division that the promotion could pair across Teixiera to make a compelling title eliminator.

Last year, Thiago Santos pushed Jon Jones to the limit in their title fight. Many people thought that Santos won that fight. Santos has been out with a knee injury which is why we haven’t seen him since that fight. This fight could perhaps be pushed back to UFC 254 later in the month.

UFC: Could Masvidal and Diaz be the next coaches on The Ultimate Fighter?

The UFC‘s reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, is coming back. Filming on the promotion’s show is set to begin in late October. Dana White said that the show starts filming as soon as he gets back from Fight Island.

That being said, there has been a lot wondering on who would be the next coaches. Since the show is making it’s ESPN debut, you would think that the UFC would want to put their best foot forward in terms of star power.

Earlier this year, it was rumored that Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya were the front runners to coach. Of course, that would have been a very solid coaching tandem, but that never materialized. Recently Calvin Kattar said he wanted to coach opposite Max Holloway.

While those are solid options, I think I have an idea that’s just a little better. Why not have two of the biggest stars in the sport coach before their UFC rematch? One of them just happens to be a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter.

TUF and the UFC’s BMF

Recently, it was reported that the UFC is close to finalizing the BMF rematch with Jorge Masvidal (35-14) and Nate Diaz (20-12). The two fought back at UFC 244, but the end result left a lot to be desired in the eyes of the fans.

A doctor’s stoppage took away a definitive finish to the fight. Masvidal won the fight and the right to call himself the UFC‘s BMF. Masvidal has always wanted to give Diaz another shot because the fight didn’t end the way he wanted it to.

The rumored fight is supposed to take place in early 2021. With that timeline, it makes it very possible that the UFC makes Masvidal and Diaz the coaches if they are willing to do it. Diaz competed on season five of TUF and won the show.

Masvidal also has some reality TV experience himself. This might be a tough sell to Diaz, but if the UFC could make it happen, it would be the biggest coaching tandem they could put together for their ESPN debut. I don’t know if it will happen, but don’t be shocked to hear those names being discussed.

Tony Ferguson to the UFC regarding Poirier: “Pay the man!”

Tony Ferguson, UFC

The UFC‘s lightweight boogie man is trying to campaign for his fight to be saved. Tony Ferguson (25-4) has been training and getting ready to fight Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) next month on fight island. However, the fight has failed to materialize.

After some negotiations, the UFC decided to scrap the fight. The promotion couldn’t come to terms with Poirier on the financial figures. While there was hope for the fight to be saved, Dana White said that the UFC wasn’t even trying to save it.

However, El Cucuy has voiced his opinion on the matter. He believes that the UFC needs to step up and pay Dustin Poirier to make this fight happen. Of course, his opponent fully agrees with Ferguson’s statements.

What does the UFC do?

This is a fight that the fans want to see, and Dana White always says that he wants to make the fights happen that the fans want to see. Granted, we don’t know how far apart the UFC and Poirier were on the financial terms of the deal.

Poirier is in a tough spot not actually being the champion. He’s not in a Conor McGregor position where he can demand a ton more from the promotion. That being said, Poirier knows his popularity is growing, and he wants to be compensated.

A fight between these two men would clearly determine the number one contender in the UFC‘s lightweight division. Despite both hovering in the top five for some time now, these two lightweight standouts have yet to cross paths.

Of course, if the UFC was too far away, there are a couple of options for Ferguson. My favorite option outside of Poirier would be the fight with Michael Chandler. I think that would be a fantastic fight for both Ferguson and the debuting Chandler.

Time will tell what the UFC decides to do. I know that Tony Ferguson wants to fight, and it’s clear he wants to fight Dustin Poirier. It’ll be interesting to see what the promotion decides to do.

The UFC has set their next run for Fight Island

UFC, Dana White

The UFC‘s next run on Fight Island is officially set. The promotion hadn’t announced the location of several big fights coming up because things were not finalized. However, Brett Okamoto confirmed last night that the promotion will be returning to Fight Island on September 26th.

The promotion is going to be doing a five week run on Fight Island with the first fight being UFC 253. The promotion will conclude their run towards the end of October with UFC 254.

UFC cards on Fight Island

There are going to be some incredible fights that are coming to Abu Dhabi. Of course, the first card is headlined by what Dana White is dubbing the fight of the year already. UFC 253 is headlined by Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa for the middleweight title.

The co-main event of the evening is going to be crowning the first UFC light heavyweight champion not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier since 2011. Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will go to war to determine who will be the new king of 205.

So many great fights are sandwiched in between the the PPVs including Brian Ortega – Chan Sung Jung, Marlon Moraes – Cory Sandhagen, Thiago Santos – Glover Teixeira and many more.

This run on Fight Island will conclude with UFC 254 that is headlined by the undisputed lightweight title fight between UFC champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and interim champion, Justin Gaethje. The card isn’t finalized yet, but the rumor mill is saying the card will be unreal.

Robert Whittaker – Jared Cannonier will be on that card as well. A fight with Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier is expected to be the co-main event. The UFC has big things planned for this trip to Fight Island.

 

 

UFC working on two fights for Khamzat Chimaev including Demian Maia

The biggest breakout star from the UFC‘s first run on Fight Island was Khamzat Chimaev (8-0). Chimaev fought twice in ten days and completely dominated both opponents. Chimaev scored finishes in both of those fights.

Once the UFC returned to the US, Chimaev let it be known that he wanted to fight again as quickly possible. However, visa issues have caused Chimaev to sit on the sidelines. Those issues have been resolved, and according to Dana White, the UFC has two fights in the works for Chimaev.

“I think he (Chimaev) gets here Sunday or Monday. He’ll fight here and he’ll fight on Fight Island,” White said during a media scrum. When asked about potential opponents, White said, “We’re still working on a fight for him here, but we’re talking about him and Demian Maia on Fight Island.”

Building the UFC’s Next Star

This is probably the first time I’ve ever heard the UFC and Dana White planning out a contender’s future opponent without announcing his next opponent. Chimaev has become a sensation since his fights in July. Still, I’m a little shocked that White discussed the Maia fight on Fight Island. Especially considering he didn’t say who Chimaev is going to fight on September 19th.

Based on the UFC‘s assumption that he will get through the September 19th fight, I wouldn’t expect someone of significance in that matchup. It’s clear that the UFC is booking Chimaev’s next fight as a showcase fight to setup the Maia fight.

Demian Maia (28-10) would be a big step up for Chimaev. Maia is arguably the best jiu jitsu practitioner in the UFC. He’s challenged for the title a couple of times and he’s currently ranked seventh in the welterweight division.

If Chimaev smashes his next opponent then smashes Maia on Fight Island, he realistically is only going to be one or two wins away from a UFC title shot. It looks like the promotion is putting Chimaev on the fast track.

UFC: Thiago Santos – Glover Teixiera fight pushed back (Reports)

Anthony Smith, UFC

The UFC has lost it’s main event for it’s fight night that was scheduled next week on September 12th. Glover Teixiera (31-7) has test positive for COVID-19. First reported by Combate and confirmed by MMA Junkie.

With the positive test, the highly anticipated light heavyweight showdown with Thiago Santos (21-7) is being pushed back to October 3rd. Given that this fight was originally scheduled to be the main event next week, I wouldn’t be shocked if it bumps Holm – Aldana considering the interest in this fight.

UFC loses another fight to COVID

The UFC has done a fantastic job of putting on live events since May. However, the promotion has had to cancel a number of fights due to COVID-19. This one really hurts because the UFC didn’t have a clear fight that can take over the main event slot next week.

Likely the co-main event of Michelle Waterson – Angela Hill will slide up to the main event. While that’s a good fight, I’m not sure it’s a UFC main event. Fortunately, we will see get to see the UFC title eliminator between Santos and Teixiera next month.

Later in October on Fight Island, Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will be fighting for the UFC light heavyweight title. The winner of this Santos – Teixiera matchup will be the first in line for the title. With the fight being pushed back, there will be less down time for the winner of the fight.

UFC: Edson Barboza – Sodiq Yusuff targeted for October 10th

Edson Barboza

There has been a switch of opponents for UFC featherweight Edson Barboza (20-9). Originally, Barboza was set to headline an October 3rd event with Jeremy Stephens. However, that fight has been scrapped by the promotion.

The UFC has decided to move Barboza back a week and give him a new opponent. Per Combate and later confirmed by MMA Junkie, Edson Barboza will now take on Sodiq Yusuff (11-1) on the UFC‘s October 10th card.

Big UFC Featherweight Matchup

Barboza has hit a bit of a rough patch over the past two years. Starting in December of 2017, Barboza has gone 1-5 in his last six fights. Of course, two of those fights were very close split decision losses.

Barboza decided to move down to featherweight in his last matchup against Dan Ige. After looking great early on, Barboza would fade late in the fight and two of the judges gave the fight to Ige.

However, the good thing to take away was the fact that Barboza made the weight, and he looked pretty good at the weight class. This could be a new start for Barboza’s career.

“Super” Sodiq Yusuff was featured on the second season of Dana White’s Contender Series. After winning an impressive decision in that contest, he’s gone 4-0 inside the UFC.

The Nigerian born fighter shows off incredible striking technique with great hand speed. He has really good power, and he’s extremely exciting to watch. In his last fight, he defeated the game Andre Fili by decision.

This fight is likely going to be slotted in the co-main event spot before the Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen fight. the UFC is putting together a solid card for their next round on Fight Island.

UFC: Dana White says that Abu Dhabi will be the new fight capital; will return in Sept. or Oct.

UFC, Dana White

When UFC President Dana White started talking about Fight Island earlier this year, the fans imaginations ran wild. There were mockups of fights on the beach and fighters making the walk in the sand.

When the UFC announced Fight Island, it was incredible to see what they had put in place. The protocols and the infrastructure was just incredible. Not to mention, the fights were pretty good which kicked off with UFC 251.

White appeared on TMZ today and discussed when the promotion would be making their return to Abu Dhai.

UFC’s New Fight Capital

“Everyone wants to go there. We’re working on fights right now for the next run. Obviously the big international stars will fight over there. This next trip over there, I’ll probably be there for five weeks,” White told TMZ.

It is unclear when the UFC will be returning, but it will probably hinge on the travel status for some of the international fighters. We know for sure that the UFC is planning on UFC 254 being on Fight Island which is headlined by the Khabib – Gaethje title fight.

Again, depending on travel, the first event that could be back on Fight Island is UFC 253. That card is headlined by the Paulo Costa – Israel Adesanya title fight. That fight is tentatively booked for the APEX, but I could see that one switching venues.

White is expecting Abu Dhabi to remain a staple for big fights in the future. “Abu Dhabi is going to be the fight capital of the world. The infrastructure that’s already built and the stuff were talking about, this is going to become a destination if you’re a fight fan.”

No question that the UFC is planning on continuing their partnership with Abu Dhabi for a long time. The pandemic has increased their partnership and I believe we are going to see Abu Dhabi be a main location for big fights for a very long time.

 

 

UFC Fight Island 3 Preview: Whittaker and Till look to cement top contender status

The UFC will be hosting it’s last event on Fight Island in the month of July tomorrow night on Yas Island. The main event features former UFC middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker (20-5), and former title challenger, Darren Till (18-2-1).

The UFC has put forward a card that ties the record for the most fights on a single card with 15. The main card that kicks off at 8:00 ET features seven fights.

For this fight card, we are going to break down the top four fights of the evening. The UFC is leaving Fight Island with a bang.

Whittaker and Till battle for the next UFC title shot

The main event of the evening will likely determine who will get the winner of the Israel Adesanya – Paulo Costa fight as Robert Whittaker takes on Darren Till.

Whittaker could not have drawn up a better start to his middleweight career after leaving the UFC‘s welterweight division. Whittaker moved up and promptly went 9-0 capturing the middleweight title.

Bobby Knuckles combines elite striking and speed with incredible toughness and determination. He is susceptible to getting rocked but one of his trademarks is his heart to fight through it.

He was able to fight through it against Yoel Romero, but it finally caught up to him against Adesanya. Stylebender was able to finish Whittaker in the second round of their fight.

This is a massive fight for Whittaker as he looks to try to climb back towards the UFC middleweight title.

Darren Till was being built up as the next superstar just a couple of years ago. The UFC fast-tracked him to a title shot against Tyron Woodley.

That shot came back at UFC 228. The English born Till was actually the massive fan favorite at the Dallas event. However, Woodley put an end to the run with a second round submission victory.

Immediately following that loss, Till was knocked out by Jorge Masvidal prompting his move to the middleweight division.

Till made his UFC middleweight debut against Kelvin Gastelum back in November. In a fight that left a lot to be desired, Till walked away with a decision victory.

Till’s elite Muy Thai skills have brought him to the dance. He has a great way of closing distance very quickly and he’s got power that catches people off guard.

I’m expecting this fight to be contested on the feet, but I’m not sure it’s going to be as action packed as some want. I think this fight will start slow, but will pick up in the middle rounds.

Once they really get going, I think Bobby Knuckles is going to catch Till was something big. I expect Till to have big moments because he is an elite striker, but I think Whittaker is just on a higher level overall as a fighter.

Prediction: Robert Whittaker by TKO – Round 4

Shogun Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

The co-main event of the evening features a contest between two legends of the sport from Brazil as Shogun Rua (26-11-1) takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (23-9).

Nogueira enters this fight just after turning 44-years old. We haven’t seen Nogueira since UFC 237 where he was knocked out by Ryan Spann. Nogueira has been dealing with a nagging back injury.

Nogueira throughout his career has been known for his crisp boxing and his elite skills on the ground. He has very good pop in his shots, and is deceptively accurate with his strikes.

The problem is that we really don’t know what kind of Nogueira we are going to see. He didn’t look great in his last fight, and he’s been dealing with back issues. Combine that with his age and there are a ton of question marks.

Shogun Rua has fought just six times in the last five years. However, he has gone 4-1-1 in those six fights with wins over Corey Anderson and Nogueira.

Shogun is a former UFC light heavyweight champion who is also nearing the end of his career. He has been known in his career for his solid overall game and his spurts that often catch fighters off guard.

Shogun has made a career on rocking or finishing opponents with sudden spurts that fighters are not ready for. In his last contest, Shogun fought to a draw with Paul Craig.

These two men have fought each other twice, and Shogun has won both. With all of the question marks surrounding Nogueira, I don’t see how the result will change in this third fight.

Prediction: Shogun Rua by TKO – Round 2

Alexander Gustaffson vs Fabricio Werdum

The fifth fight on the main card features former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (23-9-1) welcoming Alexander Gustaffson (18-6) to the heavyweight division.

Just a few years ago, people were making the argument that Werdum was the greatest heavyweight in history. Those talks of course coming after wins over guys like Fedor Emelianenko and Cain Velasquez.

Of course, Werdum would go on to be knocked out and lose his heavyweight title to Stipe Miocic which halted those talks. Since that loss, Werdum has gone 3-3.

Werdum showed off improved striking a few years ago to go with his world class ground game. Werdum might be the best Jiu Jitsu practitioner in heavyweight history. However, Werdum looked horrendous in his last fight where he lost to Alexey Oleynik.

Alexander Gustaffson will be making his heavyweight debut tomorrow night. Gustaffson retired just over a year ago after he lost to Anthony Smith in Sweden.

Of course that retirement was short-lived. Gustaffson is one of the better fighters over the last few years who hasn’t won a UFC title. He’s fought for the title three times, coming up short each time. Two of those fights were razor close.

Gustaffson has built his career on his elite boxing skills, good footwork, and solid takedown defense. All of these are going to give him an advantage tomorrow night.

For Werdum to win this fight, he’s going to have to get the fight to the ground. There is no way that Werdum can win a stand up fight with Alexander Gustaffson. Werdum looked slow in his last fight, and he doesn’t have great takedowns.

I believe that for those reasons, the fight is going to stay on the feet. I fully expect Gustaffson to light Werdum up in this contest. Not 100% convinced he’s going to get a finish, but I don’t see this fight being close.

Prediction: Alexander Gustaffson by TKO – Round 3

Marina Rodriguez vs Carla Esparza

The fourth fight on the main card features a matchup between two top ten UFC strawweights in Carla Esparza (16-6) and Marina Rodriguez (12-0-2).

Esparza burst onto the UFC scene back in 2014 when she became the promotions first strawweight champion. Since winning the title, Esparza has gone 6-4 in the UFC.

The good news for Esparza is the fact that she’s on a three fight winning streak. Esparza has some of the best wrestling in the division. She has decent striking, but it’s mainly used as a way to setup her dynamic wrestling attack.

Marina Rodriguez is one of the brighter prospects in the strawweight division. While she’s actually older than Esparza, many consider her to be more of a prospect given her experience.

She’s fought four times in the UFC to a record of 2-0-2. Her last fight she fought to a draw with Cynthia Calvillo. Rodriguez has really good striking and good pop for the division.

She also does a really good job at striking at a high volume. Her cardio does hinder her later in fights and her wrestling defense is not great which could hurt her in this matchup.

The first round is going to decide the fight for me. If Esparza can come right out and take Rodriguez down, she’s going to march to a decision victory. However, if Rodriguez can keep it standing for a while, I can’t see her getting beat by Esparza.

This fight is going to be very close. I believe that Esparza will win the third round, but I think Rodriguez’s striking will also gain her a round. This is going to be a split decision that I think will go to Rodriguez with her high striking output.

Prediction: Marina Rodriguez by Split Decision

UFC Fight Island 3 Outlook

The UFC is leaving Fight Island with a massive card. The card has former champions and top contenders up and down the card. A record 15 fights will have fight fans glued to their TVs tomorrow night.

UFC Fight Island 2 Preview: Figueiredo and Benavidez battle for the flyweight title

The UFC will be hosting their third event from Fight Island tomorrow night. In the main event, the vacant flyweight title is on the line between Deiveson Figueiredo (18-1) and Joseph Benavidez (28-6). Let’s dive into the main card and break it down.

Deiveson Figueiredo vs Joseph Benavidez for the UFC flyweight title

The main event of the evening will crown a new UFC flyweight champion (we think). This is take two between Figueiredo and Benavidez.

The two men fought in February for the vacant title, but due to Figueiredo missing weight, only Benavidez could have walked away champion. Figueiredo won that fight by second round knockout.

Benavidez has had one of the better careers for a fighter to have never won UFC gold. If you look at his resume, his losses have only come against the highest levels of competition. He even has a win over “Triple C” Henry Cejudo on his resume.

Benavidez has great speed, great chokes, good wrestling, and puts a pace on guys. He’s incredibly fun to watch, but he also is very hittable.

In the first fight between these two, Benavidez took some really good shots in the first round from Figueiredo. In the second round, an accidental headbutt opened a massive gash which distracted Benavidez. Shortly after he was looking up at the lights.

Figueiredo won the fight convincingly, but again, due to missing weight he didn’t walk out with the UFC title. He believes that he’s an uncrowned champion.

Figueiredo is the best flyweight in the UFC right now in my opinion. He’s extremely long for the division, and he has very good power. He’s really good wherever the fight goes to be honest.

Figueiredo’s biggest problem is and will always be his weight. He is a very big guy for this division. The biggest question is, will Figueiredo make weight?

If he makes weight, I think he’s going to walk out of Fight Island a champion. While Benavidez is really good and I think there’s desperation because this will be his last title shot, I just think Figueiredo is better.

Benavidez’s only path to victory is if Figueiredo completely gasses before the third round leading to a Benavidez decision. I think Figueiredo wins this one the exact same way he won the first fight.

Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo by TKO – Round 2

Kelvin Gastelum vs Jack Hermansson

In the co-main event of the evening. UFC middleweights Kelvin Gastelum (15-5, 1 NC) and Jack Hermansson (20-5) are expected to deliver an action packed fight.

Gastelum comes into this fight on a two fight losing streak, but he’s faced the best in the division. He went to war with the current champion, Israel Adesanya, and actually had some really bright spots in that fight.

Gastelum has very good speed and very crisp boxing for this division. In reality, Gastelum should be a welterweight, but he’s never shown the discipline to make the weight. For that reason, he’s undersized, but he does use to that to an advantage with speed.

If this fight is 100% contested in stand up range, you have to feel good about Gastelum’s chances. He’s got really good speed, and he possesses the power to put someone to sleep.

Jack Hermansson is just an awkward fighter. He has effective stand up, but he’s at his best whenever he can clinch up his opponents and take the fight to the ground.

Hermansson looked like he was just one win away in his last fight from a title shot, but he was stopped in the second round by Jared Cannonier.

Hermansson’s path to victory in this one is going to be to try to clinch, tire out, and takedown Kelvin Gastelum. If he’s able to make this a dirty fight, he’s got the clear advantage in my opinion.

I see two outcomes in this one. The first has the fight completely staying in striking range where Gastelum finishes the fight. The other is Gastelum has his moments, but Hermansson is able to lean on him/take him down enough to get a decision.

Ultimately, I’m leaning towards the second one right now. I think Hermansson is going to do a fantastic job of using his size and strength in this one. Now, don’t be shocked if Gastelum catches Hermansson coming in with something big. However, I think Hermansson will be able to do just enough to squeak out a win here.

Prediction: Jack Hermansson by Split Decision

Marc Diakiese vs Rafael Fiziev

If you’re looking for a fight on the card where the two fighters are going to stand and trade, look no further. UFC lightweights Marc Diakiese (14-3) and Rafael Fiziev (7-1) is a fight that might just earn both a nice $50,000 bonus.

Diakiese comes into this fight on a two fight winning streak after losing three consecutive fights. He has drastically turned his career around after a real rough stretch between July 2017 and July 2018.

Diakiese has really good speed, flashy striking, and he’s shown in his last couple of fights that he’s got pretty good takedowns. Overall, Diakiese is someone who’s very entertaining and has the skills to back it up.

Fiziev is a little bit of a question mark for some fans. He came into the UFC undefeated, but he lost his debut in less than 90 seconds. He did bounce back against Alex White last October.

Fiziev is the kind of guy who wants to stand and trade. Coming into this fight, six of Fiziev’s seven wins have all come by knockout. He’s got a pretty aggressive style that he’s going to have to use in this one.

Diakiese is not at his best when he’s getting pressured. Fiziev is going to have to pressure him a lot in this one. However, I think Diakiese is on a higher level at this stage in their careers.

I think the speed and accuracy behind Diakiese’s striking is going to give Fiziev pause when he tries to come in. Fiziev will land his shots, but Diakiese is going to take this one due to the speed and accuracy behind his shots. Maybe expect a takedown or two as well.

Prediction: Marc Diakiese by Unanimous Decision

Ariane Lipski vs Luana Carolina

The second fight on the main card pairs up two UFC flyweights as Ariane Lipski (12-5) takes on Luana Carolina (6-1).

Lipski had a decent amount of hype behind her when she made her UFC debut back in 2019. She was really successful in KSW as champion. It has not been smooth sailing so far.

Lipski has decent overall skills, but she finds herself 1-2 in her first three fights with the promotion. She has decent striking, she has good top control, but she really struggles if she’s taken down by someone with good top control.

Standing across from her is Luana Carolina. Carolina won her debut last year after she appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil back in 2018.

The odds on this fight are close because the skill sets of both ladies is very similar. Lipski has fought much tougher competition at this stage in her career. I’m not 100% sure what to expect from Carolina.

I don’t think either woman is going to come out and completely dominate the other. You’ll see some back-and-forth on the feet where each fighter has their moments. I think if Lipski is able to get this fight down, she’ll have a pretty decent advantage on the ground.

In the end, I believe that Lipski is going to find a little more success than Carolina as the fight goes on. It’s not going to be a runaway decision, but I think Lipski does enough to get it done.

Prediction: Ariane Lipski by Unanimous Decision

Alexandre Pantoja vs Askar Askarov

UFC Fight Island 2’s main card kicks off with a fight I’ve been looking forward to that pairs flyweights Alexandre Pantoja (22-4) and Askar Askarov (11-0-1).

With the flyweight title being contested in the main event, you might be looking at the title eliminator in this opening fight.

There might not be a hotter spot in the world for MMA right now than Russia. The UFC has two Russian champions, and two top contenders that are one win away from a title shot in their divisions. Askarov is one of those contenders.

Askarov has really elite ground skills. There are no questions as to what he wants to do in this fight. He’s coming off of a good win against Tim Elliott back in January after fighting to a draw with Brandon Moreno in his UFC debut.

Askarov will try to use his striking to setup his takedowns. Again, it’s not hard to figure out what the game plan is for the Russian.

Pantoja is one of the best in the world at flyweight. He’s so good wherever the fight goes and he’s coming into this fight 4-1 in his last five fights.

His only loss is to the man who’s challenging for the title in the main event, Deiveson Figueiredo. Outside of that, he’s coming off back to back knockout wins.

If you’re Pantoja, you like this matchup because he has multiple ways to win. He has the power to knockout Askarov on the feet and he’s got good enough ground skills to hold his own if the fight goes there.

I really like Askarov as a prospect for this division, but I’m just not sold that he’s going to beat Panoja who’s proven he’s one of the best in the UFC. I’m going to go with Pantoja in this one.

Prediction: Alexandre Pantoja by Unanimous Decision

UFC Fight Island 2 Outlook

The UFC‘s third card on Fight Island is a good one. There are some solid fights up and down there card, and we might crown a new champion (depending on weight). It should be a good night of fights for UFC fans everywhere.