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UFC Fight Island: Figueiredo vs Benavidez 2 - Jul 18 🇦🇪 🏝


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Saturday 18th July. Fight Island. Can we finally get this Flyweight shit sorted? 


Deiveson Figueiredo vs Joseph Benavidez - Vacant Flyweight Title

Jack Hermansson vs Kelvin Gastelum 

Marc Diakiese vs Rafael Fiziev 

Ariane Lipski vs Luana Carolina 

Alexandre Pantoja vs Askar Askarov 

Khadis Ibragimov vs Roman Dolidze 

Grant Dawson vs Nad Narimani 

Joseph Duffy vs Joel Alvarez 

Brett Johns vs Montel Jackson 

Malcolm Gordon vs Amir Albazi 

Davi Ramos vs Arman Tsarukyan 

Sergey Spivak vs Carlos Felipe


I like this a lot. Of all the cards coming up this is one I didn’t really pay attention to but it’s pretty fucking sweet actually. I love the top two fights but there are a few lower down the card I have high expectations for as well. 



Deiveson Figueiredo vs Joseph Benavidez 2 then. We’re running it back. First fight was in February in Norfolk, Virginia. Just before everything went completely haywire due to COVID. It was a fight that was supposed to clean up the mess that had become the UFC Flyweight title picture once and for all. Cejudo finally relinquished the belt in December, after months of parading it around and what seemed like endless uncertainty about when or if he’d ever defend it. Finally it was vacant. So the UFC set up a fight between the top two contenders to determine a new champ. Benavidez vs Figueiredo. One would leave with the gold.


All straight forward right? Wrong. Figueiredo missed weight. Came in 2.5lbs over the 125lb limit. As a result, he had to forfeit 30% of his purse to Benavidez and he’d also rendered himself ineligible to win the title. So if Benavidez won, he’d be the new champion. But if Figueiredo won...you get fuck all fatty. So of course, 2020 being 2020...


Figgy Smalls knocked the fuck out of him and the Flyweight belt remained on ice without an owner.

The fight itself was fantastic while it lasted but even that wasn’t without its own controversy. Not only had Figueiredo came in heavy, which may have given him the edge on the night, there’d also been a clash of heads. I felt like Fig was on his way to handing him his arse anyway but it just left too many questions and overall, the whole situation just felt like a mess.

It should be a hell of a rematch. Hopefully there’ll be no controversy this time. If something happens again, maybe it’s time for the UFC to just pull the plug on Flyweight altogether. Shit’s jinxed. No seriously, I hope this goes smoothly and the division can start building some momentum. There are some really good fighters at 125, they’ve just had nothing to aim for over the last year or so thanks to Lego bollocks. This could hopefully be the fight that kickstarts a new era for the 125ers. I’m leaning towards Figueiredo decking him again, to be honest. But you never know. If Benavidez can drag it into the later rounds then it could be a different story because explosive fighters like Fig tend to fade late and I can’t see him maintaining that pace and power over 25 minutes. Can Joey survive the early blitz is the question though. I’ve just got a feeling the answer is no.



Jack Hermansson vs Kelvin Gastelum. What a great fight this is. Completely forgot it was even happening until I looked up this card just now. Hermansson kind of snuck up on everyone over the last couple of years, didn’t he? He’s always been a bit of a handful but I think he‘s surpassed what many felt he was capable of. His wins over David Branch and Jacare Souza in 2019 were real eye openers. His performance in the Jacare fight especially was so impressive. I rated him going in but I didn’t think he had that type of gear he could move up to. He was 20-4 after that, and riding a 4 fight win streak. But it all came crashing down on the Copenhagen show in September, when Jared Cannonier stopped him in 2 rounds. Now the ‘Joker’ is looking to rebuild. Kind of rough matchmaking though. I mean, getting Gastelum as your rebound opponent? Cheers Sean Shelby. I guess it’s the same in reverse though. I’m sure Hermansson wasn’t first on Gastelum’s list either. He’s coming off a loss Darren Till in November himself. He had that FOTY with Adesanya before that but still, that was another loss so he could really do with a strong win here. And Hermansson is no easy win. Love this fight. Not sure how it goes but it’s a bit of a shit or bust fight really. Another loss for either man at this point would be devastating, but a win here against such a tough opponent puts either guy immediately back in the hunt.



Marc Diakiese vs Rafael Fiziev is one of the highlights of this whole card for me. This could be a striking masterclass. Diakiese has a wicked standup game that seems to blend a few different styles. He hasn’t been a massive knockout artist so far but his style is so fan friendly to watch that you don’t really want it to end quickly anyway. He did score some big KOs earlier in his career too. But he comes into this one off back-to-back decisions over Joseph Duffy and Lando Vannata. Fiziev will meet him head on in the standup though. He’s 27 years old from Kazakhstan. 7-1 in MMA with 6 finishes and has 40-odd wins in Muay Thai. Should be fun.



Ariane Lipski vs Luana Carolina is just making up the numbers really. Don’t hate it, just not fussed. Lipski is Polish, 26 years old, former KSW Flyweight champion and has a 12-5 record. She came into the UFC last year and immediately lost decisions to Joanne Calderwood and Molly McCann but snapped that losing streak against Isabela De Padua in November. When she initially signed with the UFC I was hoping she’d do well just because 125 badly needed new blood. And a former KSW champ with a pretty face could’ve given the weight class a little boost if she had the goods bell-to-bell. But honestly, I haven’t been that impressed so far. She’s still got time to turn it around but so far I’m not seeing it. Carolina is 26 with a 6-1 record, 3 finishes. She’s on a 5 fight win streak though, hasn’t lost since her MMA debut, and even that was a split decision. Beat Priscila Cachoeira in her UFC debut. Can’t recall seeing her fight but it’s a solid start.



Alexandre Pantoja vs Askar Askarov is a good little fight on paper. Pantoja is actually a tad underrated, IMO. 22-4 with wins over Wilson Reis, Brandon Moreno, knocked out Matt Schnell in his last fight in December. His losses are pretty much all to really good fighters and he’s never been stopped. He’s one of very few men to see the final bell against Figueiredo as well. I’m less up on Askarov but what I have seen I’ve enjoyed. He’s 11-0-1 with 10 finishes. That lone blemish on his record was a draw in an absolute belter with Brandon Moreno on the Mexico City card in September. If you haven’t watched it, watch it. Looking forward to seeing more of him here, especially against a tricky little fuck like Pantoja.



Khadis Ibragimov vs Roman Dolidze is a pure shot in the dark for me. Don’t recall seeing Ibragimov fight before. He has fought twice in the UFC though so maybe I did see him. He’s 8-2 and coming off a loss to Ed Herman. Dolidze is where the interest lies here. He’s Georgian, 6-0, 6 finishes. ADCC grappler who’s also developed a habit of knocking fuckers out cold recently. I like the look/sound of this guy. Exactly the type of new blood the UFC’s 205 division could do with more of right about now.



Grant Dawson vs Nad Narimani. Filler really but it’s not a bad fight at all. Dawson is actually on a very good run. He’s 15-1 and has won his last 6 in a row. Subbed Darrick Minner and TUF winner Mike Trizano in his last couple. Narimani is 12-3. He’s from the UK but fights out of Team Alpha Male now. Former Cage Warriors 145lbs champ and actually took the strap from Paddy Pimblett. Ha! For that reason alone, I’m a fan of Narimani.



Joseph Duffy vs Joel Alvarez. I don’t know with Duffy anymore. What happened? I know he had that hype on him because he submitted Conor McGregor way back. But even beyond that, he seemed to have so much potential at one point and it’s just fizzled out to fuck all. I know it’s not over but at 32 years old, coming off a couple of losses and seemingly always having layoffs, I don’t think he’ll ever reach the expectations many had for him a few years back. He’s 16-4 now, hasn’t won a fight in well over 3 years. Alvarez is Spanish, 27 years old with a record of 16-2 with 16 finishes. He’s actually 1-1 in the UFC too, don’t remember him at all. He knocked out Danilo Belluardo on the Sweden show last year. At this point, Duffy’s got to get a W. By any means. Alvarez sounds a handful though.



Brett Johns vs Montel Jackson could easily steal the show. Just screams FOTN to me, this does. Johns is 28 from Swansea. Record of 16-2. He’s already had a couple of belters in the fairly short time he’s been on the UFC roster. The Pedro Munhoz fight was class as was his most recent fight with Tony Gravely in January. Then there was that calf slicer against Joe Soto. He’s been great value. And Jackson, for me, is tailor-made for a tremendous fight with Johns. He’s 9-1 with 6 finishes, always aggressive. Subbed Brian Kelleher with a D’Arce. He put a right beating on Felipe Colares in his last fight as well. I’d favour Johns here. I think he’s a step ahead in all areas. Should be a lively one whatever happens.



Malcolm Gordon vs Amir Albazi. Me neither. It’s a battle of UFC newcomers. Malcolm ‘X’ Gordon is an odd looking little fucker, isn’t he? Looks like 2 Cold Scorpio had a one night stand with an alien back in the 80s and Gordon was the result. He’s Canadian, 12-3 with 10 finishes and the TKO Flyweight champion. Albazi is 26 out of Sweden and trains at London Shootfighters. He’s 12-1 with 11 finishes. On paper they both sound like solid signings. We’ll see how they fare on the big stage soon enough. 



Davi Ramos vs Arman Tsarukyan is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. A fight that will probably get overlooked so I wanted to shine some light on it because I think it could be quality. Ramos is 33 years old from Rio de Janeiro. A world class grappler and BJJ black-belt nicknamed ‘The Tasmanian Devil’. Won gold at the ADCCs in 2015. A real physical specimen. A proper tank. In MMA he’s 10-3 and lost a decision to Islam Makhachev last time out. He’d won 4 in a row prior to that though. Tsarukyan is Russian, only 23 years old and currently 14-2 with 10 finishes. He’s also fought Makhachev. It was his UFC debut last April and he lost on points but they had a hell of a fight. One of the better grappling heavy UFC fights in a long time and a forgotten gem from 2019. Give it a look if you get chance. It got hardly any discussion at the time because it was tucked away on a card not many seemed to watch but it’s worth tracking down. Tsarukyan got back in the win column by beating Olivier Aubin-Mercier in his next fight. This could be a really fun and engrossing battle. You’d have to favour Ramos if it becomes a ground war but Tsarukyan is no slouch there himself. And Tsarukyan might be the slightly more well rounded in MMA skills and he’s a decade younger. Interesting one.



Sergey Spivak vs Carlos Felipe. The big boys. Bet these bastards can put a few Rustlers burgers away. Spivak is only 25 years old. He’s 10-2 so far with none of his wins going to the scorecards. His losses were to Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura. Probably won’t amount to much but there are worse Heavies about. At least he’s not boring. Felipe is also 25. Man, he looks rough. That fucker’s 15 years younger than Urijah Faber! It’s so far, so good though. He’s 8-0 with 6 knockouts. Could be a fun sloppy fat bloke scrap.


So there you have it. Like I said, the main and co-main are both brilliant fights. Can’t go wrong there. But Ramos/Tsarukyan, Diakiese/Fiziev and Johns/Jackson are fucking great too. If you’re familiar at all with those guys and their styles you’ll be into them too. Chuck in the Dolidze debut and Khabib’s teammate vs the other guy whose name I can’t be arsed to type again. Obviously, you never know for sure how a card will play out on the night but genuinely, I think this is low-key one of the better Fight Night cards so far this year. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Knew something must be up because they were still running banners during 251 last night advertising this fight. Chuffed it’s still on. For now anyway. As we’ve come to learn in MMA, a lot can happen in a week. 

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Benavidez was probably secretely hoping he's be out. That last fight didnt go well for him. Reports saying now that Figueiredo's late flight may play fuck with his weight cut again😖 Dana has said that if he doesn't make it, Alexandre Pantoja will step in.

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Weigh In's

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Deiveson Figueiredo (125) vs. Joseph Benavidez (125) – for vacant flyweight title
  • Kelvin Gastelum (186) vs. Jack Hermansson (186)
  • Marc Diakiese (156) vs. Rafael Fiziev (156)
  • Luana Carolina (126) vs. Ariane Lipski (126)
  • Askar Askarov (126) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (125)


  • Roman Dolidze (206) vs. Khadis Ibragimov (206)
  • Grant Dawson (150) vs. Nad Narimani (150) – 150-pound catchweight
  • Joel Alvarez (156) vs. Joe Duffy (155.5)
  • Montel Jackson (136) vs. Brett Johns (136)
  • Amir Albazi (136) vs. Malcolm Gordon (135)
  • Davi Ramos (156) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (156)
  • Carlos Felipe (261) vs. Serghei Spivac (240)
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This has to be one of the most slept on cards in a while for me. This and next week’s Whittaker vs Till show. There’s been next to zero buzz for either. Looking at this card again just now, it’s quality. On the main card it’s only really Lipski vs Carolina l’m not arsed about. And even the prelims look stronger than usual for a Fight Night with Johns vs Jackson, Duffy vs Alvarez and especially Ramos vs Tsarukyan being my standouts. Roman Dolidze’s debut might be worth keeping an eye on too.

And is it just me or is Hermansson vs Gastelum the most overlooked potential barnburner in forever? I’d have been quite happy with that headlining a Fight Night itself. 

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