Four fights to make after UFC Fight Island 3

UFC, Dana White

The UFC hosted it’s fourth and final event from Final Island last night, and the card completely delivered from top to bottom. After the card was over, it’s always time to start pondering what’s next. Here are four fights that should be made following last night.

Robert Whittaker vs Winner of Adesanya/Costa

This is one of the easier ones when you think about it. The former UFC middleweight champion looked very impressive last night defeating world class striker, Darren Till.

Whittaker was hurt very early in the fight, but went on to win three of the next four rounds on his way to a unanimous decision. Whittaker improved to 10-1 since moving to the middleweight division.

Bobby Knuckles lost his title to Israel Adesanya back in October of last year at UFC 243. Getting a win over a guy like Till puts him right back in the top contender status.

If you look at the middleweight division, there really is not another fight for Whittaker. I expect Bobby Knuckles to sit back and watch the September title fight with Adesanya and Paulo Costa.

Whoever wins that fight will likely get a fight with Whittaker in early 2021 or even perhaps by the end of this year.

Fabricio Werdum vs Ryan Bader

I know you might be thinking, “Why is a Bellator matchup in a UFC article?” Well it’s no secret that last night was the last fight on Fabricio Werdum‘s current contract.

The former champion has made it known that he’s interested in moving on from the UFC. The logical next step for Werdum would be to move to Bellator.

Bellator has a history of pushing UFC vets straight to the top when they jump ship. I expect Werdum to get the same treatment given his resume. The heavyweight division in Bellator is not very strong.

With that, Werdum could go right into a title shot in Bellator. He poses some interesting problems for Ryan Bader. If the Werdum that fought last night shows up, it’s not out of the question that he becomes the Bellator heavyweight champion this year.

Carla Esparza vs Jessica Andrade

Carla Esparza was able to capture her fourth consecutive win last night at UFC Fight Island 3 defeating Marina Rodriguez. With that win, Esparza looks to be ready to challenge one of the divisions best.

In looking at the logical next opponents for her, there are only two opponents that make sense from a divisional standpoint and that’s Tatiana Suarez and Jessica Andrade.

Suarez just finished Esparza two years ago so I can’t see the UFC making that fight. Andrade is coming off of a close loss to Rose Namajunas back at UFC 251.

This fight would pair two former champions against each other as both look to get back to the top. Andrade has lost two in a row, but they were to the two best women in the world. Esparza needs a win over someone like Andrade to prove she’s still one of the very best.

Khamzat Chimaev vs Top 15 UFC opponent

For all of the fighters that took part in Fight Island, the one that UFC fans should be the most excited about is Khamzat Chimaev. The guy is an absolute monster. His dominance can be illustrated with one tweet.

Chimaev resembles a larger version of the UFC’s lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“Borz” is a frightening matchup for anyone in the welterweight division. He’s so exciting because unlike some wrestlers who just take their opponents down, Chimaev is constantly looking to “Smash” his opponents.

Seeing how polished he is already, I would not be surprised to see him fast-tracked. Chimaev’s wrestling base can allow him to move quicker than some prospects would in the UFC.

Perhaps a good fight for Chimaev would be taking on the winner of next week’s Randy Brown – Vicente Luque fight. Either way, Chimaev is going to get a quick turnaround. I expect to see Borz fight one or even two more times before 2021.

 

UFC: Major title fights will be coming back to Fight Island

UFC, Dana White

The UFC will be leaving Fight Island to return to the United States this week after a very successful first run in Abu Dhabi.

In speaking with The National, White detailed some of the bigger fights that he has in mind for the UFC‘s return to Abu Dhabi.

“Khabib will be the next…we’re talking about Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa, that fight is happening. Zhang Weili vs. Rose Namajunas is a possibility. All the massive, big fights with literally the champion vs. the No. 1 contender are all looking like Fight Island.”

UFC’s Fall Return

The UFC‘s fall return to Fight Island is going to be massive. I would expect that the first fight we will see booked is the middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya (19-0) and Paulo Costa (13-0).

The two undefeated fighters have a ton of heat between the two of them. Over the weekend, the fight was prematurely announced for September. However, Dana White said the fight is not official.

Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) will be making his return at some point against Justin Gaethje (22-2). The two men will unify the UFC‘s lightweight championship on Fight Island.

Zhang and Namajunas is another massive fight that will happen on Fight Island. There could also be additional title fights that will still be announced in the months to come for Fight Island in the fall.

The UFC will likely have to make most of their big fights on Fight Island with the way that the pandemic is going. The United States is a fluid country with the virus. As a result, I think the UFC might be setting up shop on Fight Island for most of 2020.

UFC: Israel Adesanya & Paulo Costa rumored to be next coaches on The Ultimate Fighter

The UFC‘s popular reality show will be making it’s return after a few years off in 2020, and they are coming out of the gate strong when it comes to coaches. Earlier this week, Paulo Costa (13-0) said that he has signed his contract to fight middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (19-0). Dana White had previously mentioned that the two were a possibility to coach the Ultimate Fighter, but Joe Rogan added fuel to that fire on Friday.

History of the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter

The UFC has always done a great job at putting bitter rivals as coaches on the Ultimate Fighter. Some of the greatest rivalries of all time have been featured on this show including: Chuck Liddell/Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans/Rampage Jackson, TJ Dillashaw/Cody Garbrandt, Ronda Rousey/Miesha Tate, and many more. The coaching stints just build the tension leading up to anticipated matchups.

There are not many fights that are more anticipated in 2020 than Paulo Costa taking on Israel Adesanya. If the UFC throws these two in as the coaches of the Ultimate Fighter, you are just going to see the tension build more and more. This fight is a massive fight for a number of different reasons, and the two men do not like each other. Costa was thrown out of UFC 248 earlier this year after trying to go after Adesanya.

Big Rivalry = Big Draw

The UFC is in a complete win-win with this matchup. If they are the coaches of TUF, their popularity will continue to grow. Adesanya is already approaching superstar level, but if Costa defeats him, Costa could surpass all Adesanya’s done in one fight. To me this is a fight to determine the next superstar of the UFC. Both undefeated fighters, two fighters who hate each other, and two fighters whose feud is about to be on full display for the viewing public.

UFC: Paulo Costa says Israel Adesanya contract is signed

One of the more anticipated UFC title fight of 2020 looks like it’s getting closer to having a date. Top UFC middleweight contender, Paulo Costa (13-0), announced that the contract has been signed for his title fight against champion, Israel Adesanya (19-0).

Costa’s Rise

Paulo Costa has looked like a one man wrecking crew since he joined the UFC in 2017. Costa has gone 5-0 with four knockouts including finishes over Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall. However, it was Costa’s last fight that told the world just how good he was. “Borrachinha” went head-to-head against the middleweight division’s boogieman, Yoel Romero. Costa went right after Romero with a pace that was hard to match. Costa went right into the fire with arguably the scariest guy in the division, and he came out victorious. His performance was the polar opposite of Adesanya’s against Romero. After that fight, it was clear that Costa was the top contender in the division. However, injuries have delayed his UFC title fight.

The age of Stylebender

Since making his UFC debut back in February of 2018, Israel Adesanya has gone 8-0, looking incredibly impressive along the way. “The Last Sytlebender” reminds many of former middleweight great, Anderson Silva (who Adesanya holds a win over). Despite being undefeated, many doubted Adesanya when he fought former champion, Robert Whittaker. Adesanya put on the performance of his career stopping Whittaker in the second round of their title fight. Adesanya defended his title earlier this year against Yoel Romero in a fight that drew a ton of criticism. While Costa showed no fear in going into a fire fight with Romero, Adesanya played it safe striking from distance. There was a lack of action, and a lot of boos. Romero is the kind of fighter who waits to explode, while Adesanya is a counter-striker. It resulted in a horrific fight. However, the Adesanya/Costa fight is a matchup guaranteed to generate fireworks.

Who will be UFC middleweight king?

It’s rare that you get a title fight like this in MMA. The clear two top guys in the division, going head-to-head for the title while being undefeated. This fight has a Jon Jones/Daniel Cormier feel to it. Now, the fight has not been officially announced, but I would put my money that this fight will likely take place in October. The UFC is planning on Daniel Cormier/Stipe Miocic for their big August show while Khabib/Gaethje is tentatively scheduled for September. The likely next slot will be the October PPV. I cannot wait for this fight to come together. Costa is not the kind of guy who is going to sit back like Romero did against Adesanya, and an ultra aggressive challenger is just the kind of opponent that will allow Izzy to shine. It’s a fascinating clash of styles, and I can’t wait to see who will walk out as the undisputed middleweight king.