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
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
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
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.