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UFC Fight Island: Kattar vs Ige - Jul 15 🇦🇪 🏝


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Posted (edited)

Midweek Fight Night is back. Wednesday 15th July on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

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ESPN/ESPN+ MAIN CARD
Calvin Kattar vs Dan Ige

Tim Elliott vs Ryan Benoit

Jimmie Rivera vs Cody Stamann

Molly McCann vs Taila Santos

Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Mounir Lazzez

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
John Phillips vs Khamzat Chimaev

Ricardo Ramos vs Lerone Murphy

Modestas Bukauskas vs Andreas Michailidis

Jared Gordon vs Chris Fishgold

Liana Jojua vs Diana Belbita 

Jack Shore vs Aaron Phillips 

 

Another nice card pretty much top to bottom. If they keep pumping out shows like this, I might even forgive them for serving up that Eye vs Calvillo shit sandwich the other week. Maybe. Seriously, this looks good. I think that’s the right bout order too. No doubt there’ll be a bunch of card changes between now and the 15th though. 

 

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Calvin Kattar vs Dan Ige is a cracking fight. Happy to see these two getting some spotlight and the opportunity to headline over 5 rounds. Two guys who’ve shown a lot of potential but up until recently they were both relatively unknown. Kattar is out of the Boston area, 21-4 with 13 finishes. Tough dude with a strong striking game. Think the first time I saw him was the Shane Burgos fight in January 2018 and he caught my eye by gutting through a rough start to come back and stop Burgos. And as we’ve come to find out recently, knocking Burgos out is no easy task. Since then, Kattar has gone from strength to strength. Despite points losses to Renato Moicano and Zabit Magomedsharipov, he’s been looking sharper to me with each fight. And in April he got his big chance when he was booked against Jeremy Stephens on the main card of UFC 249. Being the first MMA event, well first major sporting event full stop, since COVID locked the world down, all eyes were on that card. And Kattar rose to the occasion big time. It didn’t get FOTN but it probably should’ve. After a wild round and a half...

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...Kattar closed the show emphatically. Loved the fight but the finish was even better. That elbow was a beauty. Stephens is a cock as well which made it all the sweeter. Big fan of Kattar. I love his fighting style and he seems a good guy too. Dan Ige also seems a likeable sort. Just comes off as a typical laid back Hawaiian. Not so laid back in the cage though. He’s 14-2 with 8 finishes and he comes into this fight off the back of 6 straight wins. Like Kattar, he mostly went under the radar for a long time but slowly but surely he’s been racking up the wins. And this year he’s gone up a level in opposition and still come out in the win column. He beat Mirsad Bektic in February. Then in May, he beat Edson Barboza. By far the biggest scalp of his career to date. There were some asterisks though. It was Barboza’s debut at 145 and many felt Barboza should’ve got the decision. I thought Barboza just shaded it myself but it could’ve gone either way really. Whatever the case, it was a step up and Ige did just fine. If this goes long, it should hopefully answer some questions on both men. 5 rounds can really separate the men from the boys when it comes to gauging where a fighter stands in the title picture. It’s also why I’m holding fire on a lot of the Zabit hype.

Great fight, this. Genuinely think these are probably the two biggest dark horses in the Featherweight division right now. Everyone talks about Zombie, Ortega, Zabit, Yair etc. But I honestly think these two can mix it with any of that lot and do well for themselves. Throw Barboza in there as well now. And best of all, everyone in that group is exciting as fuck to watch. There’s not a dullard in the bunch at the top end of 145. Providing everyone stays healthy, you can mix and match that lot for years and almost any combination you come up with from a matchmaking perspective is must see. I know 155 gets all the plaudits as the deepest division in MMA, and understandably so, but 145 and 135 are nipping at its heels these days. If not just as stacked.

 

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Tim Elliott vs Ryan Benoit sounds like an all-action affair. Elliott isn’t on the best form at the moment. He’s 15-11-1 and coming in off 3 losses on the trot. Most recently, UFC newbie Brandon Royval subbed him on the May 30th card. But it got FOTN and I can’t recall Elliott ever being in a boring fight. Which I guess is why they keep having him back. He has had his moments too. People forget but before Cejudo dethroned Mighty Mouse, Elliott was the first guy in forever who actually gave DJ a bit of a scare in their fight with the submission attempts. Benoit was meant to face Tyson Nam on the June 13th show but pulled out late in the day. He’s been very inconsistent over the years but he’s got some skills and I can see this being one of those mad fast paced sprints. Elliott should be winning this though, IMO. Another loss here really won’t look good for him.

 

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Jimmie Rivera vs Cody Stamann kind of got thrown together last minute when Edgar vs Munhoz dropped off the card. Good fight. Not a patch on Edgar’s Bantamweight debut in terms of interest for me but it’ll probably be a decent battle. Rivera was on a heck of a run at one point. By the end of 2017 he was 21-1, on a 20 fight streak and coming off consecutive wins over Thomas Almeida, Urijah Faber, Iuri Alcantara and Pedro Munhoz. He’s hit a rough patch since and gone 1-3 in his next 4 fights. In all fairness, the losses were to Marlon Moraes, Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan. No shame in losing to that lot on their current form but it does indicate Rivera’s ceiling. Stamann is 19-2-1 and his only loss over his last 14 fights was also to Sterling. He had that draw with Song Yadong in December but I felt he won that. He beat Brian Kelleher in his last fight at UFC 250 in June. It was a fun fight, as Kelleher’s usually are, and an emotional one for Stamann whose brother had just died days earlier. I’m expecting a competitive and lively one here. Probably slightly favour Rivera but kind of rooting for Cody after the month or so he’s had.

 

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Molly McCann vs Taila Santos is alright. Quite enjoy watching Meatball Molly actually. She didn’t get off to the best of starts in the UFC. Came in with a bit of buzz after winning the Cage Warriors Flyweight belt, made her Octagon debut on the UFC’s first ever card in Liverpool...and got submitted by Gillian Robertson, in her hometown, in her UFC debut. Not ideal. She’s done a good job bouncing back though, rattling off 3 consecutive points wins. Hasn’t exactly blown anyone away but she’s looked a bit more comfortable each time out and I thought her performance in her last fight against Diana Belbita was her most dominant yet. Belbita seemed way out of her depth though and I remember thinking McCann needed a step up in opposition next time. I think she’s got it here. Santos is 27 years old with a 15-1 record, 12 finishes, 10 knockouts. She doesn’t play. Headkicks, elbows, body shots. She’s ended fights with all of these. Her only loss is a split decision in her UFC debut against Mara Romero Borella. So maybe there’s an argument she should still be undefeated. Definitely feels like a stiffer test for McCann to me.

 

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Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Mounir Lazzez. Fuck knows. Alhassan is 34 years old, originally from Ghana, fights out of Texas. 10-1 record with all his wins coming by first round knockout. His last fight was at UFC 228 in September 2018 and he put Niko Price away in 43 seconds. An explosive and exciting fighter to watch for sure. BUT...shortly after that fight with Price, Alhassan was indicted for the rape of two women on the same night months earlier. The trial took place in March this year and he was found not guilty. But fucking hell. I remember starting to really like Alhassan before that story came out. I admit I haven’t looked into the story enough since to really speak on it but it still makes me feel uncomfortable even typing this. Lazzez is making his UFC debut here. He’s 24 years old from Tunisia. 9-1 with 8 knockouts. Sounds like a solid signing.

 

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John Phillips vs Khamzat Chimaev is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** on this one. It was supposed to be Phillips vs Dusko Todorovic but Todorovic got the COVID. From bits I’ve read on Chimaev though, this might be even better. Phillips is a real banger. He’s nicknamed ‘The Welsh Wrecking Machine’ according to his Wikipedia page and with good reason because he can definitely crack. He’s currently 22-9-1 in MMA. With 20 of those 22 wins coming by knockout. Don’t expect him to be in the title picture anytime soon but he’ll probably be one of those undercard guys who banks a fair old chunk of bonus money however long he sticks around. Chimaev is meant to be one of Sweden’s top prospects. Trains with Gustafsson and Latifi at Allstars in Stockholm, 6-0 with 6 finishes. From what I can tell he usually fights at 170 though. He’s jumping in here on very late notice at 185 so fuck knows. It’s got my attention though. And chucking him in with Phillips, it’s got the feel of a chaotic 2 minute bombfest, this one.

 

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Ricardo Ramos vs Lerone Murphy. Bit of a sleeper, I think. Ramos has been flying under the radar for a bit now but he’s a good fighter. 14-2 record, submitted Eduardo Garagorri with ease on the São Paulo card in November. Knocked out Aiemann Zahabi (younger brother of Firas) on one of the MSG cards a while back. He’s legit and he doesn’t fuck about, he comes to finish fights. And Lerone Murphy is a prospect nobody talks about. 28 years old out of Stockport. Unbeaten at 8-0-1 with 5 knockouts. He made his UFC debut on the Khabib vs Poirier undercard in September and went to a split draw with Zubaira Tukhugov. Seem to remember a lot of people felt Murphy won and one judge did score it for him 29-28 which is what made it a split draw as the other two had it even. Looking forward to seeing how these two match up.

 

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Modestas Bukauskas vs Andreas Michailidis is a fight where I’ll be seeing both for the first time. Don’t know what to expect. Was meant to be Bukauskas vs Vinicius Moreira but Moreira fell out injured. So we’re left with two UFC newbies facing off. Bukauskas is 26 years old, Lithuanian born, fights out of London. He’s mostly fought in Cage Warriors and is 10-2 with 9 finishes. He’s actually trained a bit in Albuquerque with Jon Jones and Andrei Arlovski as well. And even appeared on that Take Me Out bollocks on ITV! He’s got about a bit, old Modestas. It’s done the trick on me though. My attention has been got. Michailidis ‘The Spartan’ is Greek, 31 years old, 12-3 with 11 finishes.

 

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Jared Gordon vs Chris Fishgold might be decent. Don’t have a strong opinion on it one way or another but it’s an OK piece of matchmaking. Gordon is a New Yorker, 31 years old, BJJ brown-belt under John Danaher. He’s 15-4 and coming off a first round KO loss to Charles Oliveira. In truth, his record isn’t all that impressive at all. Pretty much any time he’s fought anyone of note, he’s been outclassed. But he’s got an inspirational story and if you’ve got any kind of heart, you can’t help but root for the guy to do well. He’s come back from heroin addiction, being homeless, nearly dying a bunch of times. The fact he’s where he is now in life is bigger than any victory he could have in the cage. Fishgold is 28. Allegedly. I’m going to need to see the birth certificate. He’s from Liverpool and has a record of 18-3-1. He was the Cage Warriors Lightweight champion, defending it 3 times and he’s primarily a grappler. Haven’t been blown away by him but he’s alright.

 

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Liana Jojua vs Diana Belbita. Meh. I’m probably being harsh and it is early to write them off. But my first impressions with both of these two was that they just don’t cut it in the UFC. Jojua is Russian, 25 years old, 7-3 with 5 submission wins. Belbita is Romanian, 23 years old, 13-5 with 10 finishes. Not the worst records and they are both young. I probably am being harsh. But I just thought they both looked woeful in their Octagon debuts. Jojua got bashed by Sarah Moras in September. I mean, Moras isn’t much good so getting stopped by her doesn’t bode well. And Belbita got crushed by Molly McCann in October and the early wins in her career seem to be over shit opposition. Just feels like they were both hired because they look nice but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of actual substance in terms of fighting skill or potential.

 

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Jack Shore vs Aaron Phillips is another last minute switch up. Shore was booked against Anderson Dos Santos for about 2 days before Dos Santos pulled out. Doesn’t really matter. Shore was where the interest lay anyway. I’m looking forward to seeing him back in there. The most promising UFC fighter to come out of Wales to date, IMO. 25 years old, 12-0 with 11 finishes, former Cage Warriors Bantamweight champ. Made his UFC debut back in September and looked fantastic submitting Nohelin Hernandez. He looks the business so far. Dana seemed impressed as well, describing Shore as ‘the hottest prospect in the UK’ or something. Phillips is 30 with a 12-3 record and, for my money, one of the more punchable faces on the roster. Look at it. He’s even nicknamed ‘The Model’. I almost hope he is a cocky prick now. It’ll justify my instant dislike plus the lighter weight classes could do with more heels anyway. Apparently he did fight in the UFC before, a short stint in 2014 where he went 0-2. No recollection of that. Can’t see Shore having too much hassle with him, to be honest. Not if he’s going to be as good as everyone thinks he is. 

 

I don’t like it quite as much as the Figueiredo vs Benavidez 2 card on the 18th but it’s a nifty little card. Few good fights on the undercard and then Kattar vs Ige on top will do nicely. Now they’re getting Fight Island rolling and they can use more of the roster, hopefully the days of Eye vs Calvillo level main events will be a thing of the past. Pretty much all the shows coming up at least have strong main and co-mains. 

 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Frankie Edgar is looking lean but pretty healthy 2 weeks out from his Bantamweight debut.

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Obviously, the worst bit is still to come though and all bets are off until fight week. I hope he’s got it right though. I don’t expect him to win the gold or anything at 135, I think that ship has probably sailed. If he’d made the drop a couple of years sooner then I think he’d have had a better shot but with the division being as strong as it is now, he’ll have to pull off something incredible to take that belt at this late stage of his career. But I’d love to see him have a bit of a resurgence at 135. I just want to see him looking good at the weight and performing well. If this fight with Munhoz goes well I’d love to see him and Dominick Cruz face off on one of the end of year cards. Or even a rematch with Urijah Faber. Couple of name fights to see how he looks and let him adjust to the cut a couple of times before putting him in with the top contenders. I’m not sure he’d fight Marlon Moraes anyway as they train together.

Oh and while I’m here, Jack Shore vs Anderson Dos Santos just got announced for this card over the last day or so. Added a bit about it to the opening post.

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10 minutes ago, Carbomb said:

Anderson dos Santos? That's a name some MMArk would use for a CAW in a UFC game. 

Behold the mighty Wanderson Silva. I’m not joking. 

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Yeah they’re searching for a replacement and I read that Aljamain Sterling, Cody Stamann, Ricky Simon, Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Vera have all thrown their name in the hat.

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im fairly sure they'd have to be on the Island now to be able to step in, Ricky Simon is there.

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Posted (edited)

It's almost as if trying to train in close, personal contact with other people, and travel halfway around the world, can make you more likely to catch a virus. Who knew.

It feels like the start of this becoming the norm now, and they are going to have to place people regularly on stand by for the main and co-main events on each card. 

Edited by WeeAl
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Jimmie Rivera vs Cody Stamann has been announced for this card now. So you can scratch those two from the running to fight Frankie. Ricky Simon and Marlon Vera are both already in Abu Dhabi apparently, so they’re the obvious favourites. Unless they’re just taking Frankie off the card altogether and moving him to a later date. 

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Yep. It’s providing he tests negative though, of course.

All gone very quiet on the Frankie Edgar front. I thought Ricky Simon or Marlon Vera had to be the frontrunners but they’re both in Abu Dhabi and there’s still been no news. 

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