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wandshogun09

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

Who wins and how?   

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

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MAIN CARD
Calvin Kattar vs Dan Ige

Frankie Edgar vs Pedro Munhoz 

Carla Esparza vs Marina Rodriguez 

Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Mounir Lazzez

Jared Gordon vs Chris Fishgold

PRELIMS
Vinicius Moreira vs Modestas Bukauskas 

Molly McCann vs Taila Santos 

Ricardo Ramos vs Lerone Murphy 

John Phillips vs Dusko Todorovic

Tim Elliott vs Ryan Benoit 

Liana Jojua vs Diana Belbita 

Jack Shore vs Anderson Dos Santos

 

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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Frankie Edgar vs Pedro Munhoz co-headlines. Was originally set to go down at UFC 251 but I’m happier with it here. 251 doesn’t really need this fight, it’s loaded as it is. But this card really gets a boost with this as chief support. Very intrigued by this one as it’s Frankie’s long talked about Bantamweight debut. He was actually supposed to face Cory Sandhagen in his 135 debut in January but things got fucked up and he ended up jumping in on short notice against Korean Zombie in a Featherweight bout in December. The gamble didn’t pan out and Zombie annihilated him  in a round. Love Frankie. He’s been a favourite of mine forever, ever since I saw his classic with Tyson Griffin back in 2007. One of the most universally respected fighters in the game and a surefire future Hall Of Famer. Not sure what to think about this drop to 135 though. Granted he’s shut out of the title picture at 145 now. And at 155, I think he’s just too small for the current crop of beasts there today. So I get it from that angle. But he’s also 38 years old and he’s been in some wars over the years. It’s late in the day to be dropping weight classes. It’s usually the other way around. As a fighter gets older, they typically move up through the weight classes. I’d love nothing more than for Frankie to succeed at 135 though. He’s not a stupid guy and with his wrestling background and experience, you’d hope he’s doing it the right way. And hey, if he does well, it only strengthens an already bursting at the seams Bantamweight division. Pedro Munhoz is no soft debut opponent though. He’s 5 years Edgar’s junior and has a record of 18-4-1 with finishes over Cody Garbrandt, Bryan Caraway and Rob Font. He also beat Brett Johns in a awesome forgotten war a couple of years ago. Assuming Frankie’s got the weight cut down, this has all the ingredients of a fantastic fight.

 

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Carla Esparza vs Marina Rodriguez isn’t really tickling my tastebuds. It’s the Esparza Effect. Anything she’s involved with, I just tend to feel apathy towards it. I can’t knock her success, she’s had a very solid career. She was the first ever Strawweight champ in both Invicta and the UFC, won TUF, has wins over the likes of Michelle Waterson, Rose Namajunas, Cynthia Calvillo etc. She just bores me senseless most of the time. She did have an unexpected corker with Alexa Grasso on the Mexico card last September. But I put that more down to Grasso being a little whirlwind and forcing the action. Needless to say, I’m rooting for Rodriguez here. Haven’t seen a lot of her but she’s looked decent in the footage I have watched. She’s Brazilian, 33 years old, unbeaten at 12-0-2, has UFC wins over Tecia Torres and Jessica Aguilar.

 

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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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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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Vinicius Moreira vs Modestas Bukauskas looks like one of those ‘out with the old, in with the new’ matchups. I haven’t thought much of Moreira in his UFC outings so far. Alonzo Menifield, Eryk Anders and Paul Craig all done him in a round and I don’t recall him showing much of anything. They seem to just keep feeding him to guys who need a win or who they’re building up. It’s probably safe to assume that another loss here most likely sees him getting his walking papers. Bukauskas is the pull here. 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.

 

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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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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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John Phillips vs Dusko Todorovic is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** and might just steal the show. It was supposed to go down back in March on that London card that never materialised. Glad they’ve got it back on. 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 but he’ll probably be one of those undercard guys who banks a fair old chunk of bonus money however long he sticks around. Todorovic is making his UFC debut here. He was on Dana White’s Contender Series. He’s 25 years old from Serbia, undefeated at 9-0 with 8 finishes and he has a first round TKO over Michel Pereira on his record from 2018. He sounds like someone well worth keeping an eye on. It’s got the feel of a chaotic 2 minute bombfest, this one.

 

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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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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 Anderson Dos Santos is a bit of a last minute addition to the card. And another one worth tuning into the prelims for, I reckon. I’m looking forward to seeing Shore 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. Dos Santos is 34 years old with a 20-8 record. Hasn’t really beat anyone of note and he’s 0-2 in the UFC. Can’t see Shore having too much hassle with him, to be honest. But he does seem more of a grappler (11 of his 20 wins came by submission) so it might at least be a fun ground battle while it lasts.

 

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 and Edgar vs Munhoz 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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