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UFC Fight Island: Whittaker vs Till - Jul 25 🇦🇪 🏝

Who wins and how?   

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Gus with the BJ Penn method of eating himself up through the divisions. Really not sure how that fight goes. Most of what I’m reading online seems to be favouring Gus and I’ve even seen people ac

Saturday 25th July. Fight Island. Yas Island. Abu Dhabi. Look at this lot... ESPN/ESPN+ MAIN CARD Robert Whittaker vs Darren Till  Shogun Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira  Fabrici

I appreciate they've largely been against the very top guys but Till's last five have been a dodgy split win over Wonderboy after missing weight, getting subbed by Woodley, flattened by Masvidal, winn

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Haha! It's starting 7am here. Which is a little early for a Sunday but much preferable to staying up through the night.

Although if there was any Fight Night I'd stay up for (hey yo), it'd be this one. Not just because Whittaker's my favourite, but also Shogun vs. Nog and Werdum vs. Gus are both intriguing for a number of reasons.

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Yeah it genuinely feels like a PPV for me, this. There have been fairly recent PPVs I’ve been less hyped about than this. Don’t really stay up for UFCs much these days. Since the kids came along, every minute I can get of sleep is vital. But I’m tempted to get up to catch the last 3 fights live.


Robert Whittaker vs Darren Till - Don’t know quite what to make of this one. I’m definitely looking forward to it but I can’t really envision how it plays out. No doubt it’ll be predominantly a standup battle but Till’s a weird one. Sometimes he comes out aggressive like the Cerrone and Masvidal fights. Other times he plays the cautious game and goes for points like against Wonderboy and Gastelum. If it’s a dogfight I favour Whittaker but I can see Till trying to go the technical route here. 

Whittaker by decision. Just still really unsure about Till. Especially at the top level. The Gastelum win wasn’t the most exciting fight but it was a strong performance from Till. But Gastelum’s in a slump too and that win is looking a bit less impressive as time goes on. Just think Whittaker is more proven, he’s tougher, maybe more powerful, more experienced in 5 rounders etc. I’m not fully convinced on Till as a top guy. A win in impressive fashion here would change that but I reckon Whittaker gets it done. 


Shogun Rua vs Little Nog 3 - Now it’s here I’m well up for this. Even though it’ll probably look like it’s in slow motion. It’s Shogun vs Nog 3. Despite going the distance twice, I’ve got a strong feeling this one isn’t seeing the final buzzer for some reason. I think the combination of them both being slower and more battle worn means a bomb is more likely to detonate and neither can quite absorb it like they used to. 

Shogun by KO/TKO, I reckon. It’s a tossup really though. And as I said before, there’s a chance Nog comes in looking better than we’ve been used to in recent years. For one, it’s his last fight so he’s got nothing to lose. Zero pressure about where the result takes him next etc. He’s free to just go out, let loose and leave it all in there. And also, he’s 0-2 to Shogun already so he’ll be motivated as fuck to get one back and go out on a W. I just think Shogun’s the more powerful and less knackered of the two. 


Fabricio Werdum vs Alexander Gustafsson - Another really tough call. Like I said, it’s so hard to know what we’re getting out of both men here. Werdum is getting old, didn’t look the best in his first fight back from the USADA naughty step against Oleynik. Gus is coming out of retirement, hasn’t fought in over a year, lost his last 2, is moving up to Heavyweight and looks a bit pudgy. It’s almost impossible to analyse this one. Any prediction is gut feeling or a shot in the dark really. 

I’ll say Werdum by submission. Won’t be shocked at all if Fat Gus clobbers him but there’s something I’m not feeling about his comeback. And even though Werdum is getting up in age and looked a bit cack last time, he should be a bit less rusty now and he’s always got that killer ground game plus very good standup. I think he can hang or beat Gus anywhere whereas Gus has to win this on the feet. Fuck knows? Could be an ugly one this but I’m intrigued. Sure I read that this is Werdum’s last fight on his contract as well and it sounds like he’s looking to go elsewhere. Even in his 40s, I think Bellator’s Heavyweight division could do with a guy like Werdum. 


Carla Esparza vs Marina Rodriguez - Not too fussed with this. Like I said in the opening post, it’s the Esparza Effect. Rodriguez has looked pretty good so far, in fairness. Hopefully she can make it more watchable than your typical Esparza snoozer. 

Rodriguez on points for me. There’s always the chance Esparza gets the wrestling going and just blankets her way to a lacklustre decision. But I like the look of Rodriguez. I think her height and lankiness could make things tricky and she outclasses Esparza on the feet. Just has the feel of Esparza being on the way down and Rodriguez ascending to me.


Paul Craig vs Gadzhimurad Antigulov - The face-off at the weigh in was quite heated, they had to be separated. Think this might be a bit of a darkhorse FOTN contender actually. It’s understandably been lost in the shuffle amongst the bigger names and talking points on this card but purely as a matchup, this might be the show stealer. Both are aggressive and both always go for the finish but both have also shown vulnerabilities as well so that adds to excitement. 

Feeling Antigulov by KO/TKO for some reason. Don’t really know why and I hope I’m wrong because I quite like Craig. I’d love to see another submission but my gut is telling me Antigulov clips him somewhere along the line and closes the show.


Alex Oliveira vs Peter Sobotta - Not sure what we’re getting here. Oliveira is usually in entertaining fights but we haven’t seen much of Sobotta recently so who knows how he’ll look?

Oliveira by decision. Maybe a stoppage but I’ll go with points. Oliveira is a level or two below that championship contender bracket but he usually does well at this level. And that combined with Sobotta’s lay-off has me expecting a fairly comfy Cowboy win.


Khamzat Chimaev vs Rhys McKee - Looking forward to this as much as those top 3 fights really. Be good to see how Chimaev looks back at 170 compared to his debut at 185. And as unfamiliar as I was on McKee, doing a bit of digging this week I think he looks solid himself. It’s almost a shame he’s got to debut against this fucker. 

Chimaev by submission. Just think it’ll be too much to ask of McKee. Even with a full camp so with 6 days notice and the possible ‘Octagon jitters’ and all that, it’s not the ideal debut. It’d be a hell of a story if he comes in and springs the upset under these circumstances but I’m not fancying it. Chimaev looks the real deal so far, the way he’s being talked about, the clips of him dropping Gustafsson in sparring, the early Khabib-like suffocating grappling game. And there’s just something about the way he carries himself. That quiet, stoic confidence like Khabib, Valentina etc. It’s way early to get too carried away, but in the days of a million UFC cards, it’s rare a fighter makes a first impression like Chimaev has.

Haven’t even thought about the prelims. Just too many fights to get to on this one. 


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Yeah, that was a chess match. Really cool. Seen some of the Sherdog types bitching about it, not enough brain damage for them, but they proved early that they could drop and hurt each other, and that created a massive sense of tension for the rest of the fight, at least for me.

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I appreciate they've largely been against the very top guys but Till's last five have been a dodgy split win over Wonderboy after missing weight, getting subbed by Woodley, flattened by Masvidal, winning a snoozefest split over Gastellum (which looks worse in hindsight) and getting handled last night.

I don't want to write him off completely but he seems like one of these guys who Rogan, Schaub etc latch onto and talk up before he's proven much. He needs to drop down a level and win a couple of fights impressively imo before they put him back in with any of the top guys.

Whittaker is absolutely brilliant in fairness and still seems to go under the radar a bit. Just shows you how good Adesanya is.

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Loved this show. I think there were a few too many fights myself but I’m not going to complain about that and nobody is being forced to watch every single fight. I saw most of it though and apart from the odd exception it was a really enjoyable show.

Whittaker vs Till was good stuff. So happy to see Whittaker back in the win column. He’s had a shite time since the Adesanya loss. It’s good to see him get a positive moment and put in such a strong performance. I think @Marshmallo is right about Till. I think it’s a fair assessment. He’s a good fighter but I think his last few fights have shown that he’s probably not the elite player everyone seems to want him to be. Even the Gastelum win, I’m starting to wonder if Gastelum is fucked from that war with Adesanya. He hasn’t looked right since to me. Till will be back but I would like to see him stepped back a bit. The way the UFC is, they’ll probably throw him in with another killer like Cannonier or something but I’d like to see him scaled back slightly. Looking back, him smashing up Cerrone a few years ago might’ve been more of a curse than a blessing. Before that he was steadily climbing and he’d already gone to a draw with Nicolas Dalby. He battered Cerrone and all of a sudden the hype train went mad and he seemed to skip a few levels. They had the Liverpool card coming and understandably he was put in the main event but it all seemed to happen very quickly. He barely scraped by Wonderboy, many felt he lost, but to go from the guys he was fighting pre-Cowboy to being thrown at Wonderboy, Woodley, Masvidal etc. Maybe he wasn’t ready. His gob kind of works against him as well. A guy like Till will always get big name fights because he’s got a following and he’ll usually hype his fight up. It’s not all doom and gloom. He didn’t look out of place against Whittaker. But it’s clear he’s struggling against the top boys. Is Anderson Silva still fighting? I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Till vs the Spider. It’s still a name fight that can headline a card, but it’s one the UFC would probably fancy Till to pick up a W in.

As for Bobby Knuckles, I’d like to see him in with Cannonier or Hermansson next. Either of those would be great and they make sense in the title race while we wait for this Izzy vs Costa thing to play out. 

Shogun vs Nog 3 didn’t get FOTN but it was the FOTN for me. Really enjoyed it. Even as battered as they are now, I think these two are incapable of having a bad fight together. Another close one too. It’s actually kind of a shame the trilogy ended with Nogueira 0-3 down because that doesn’t really tell the true tale of their series. The first fight legitimately could’ve gone either way. I remember the second one being pretty close as well, although I felt Shogun rightly got the nod. Now here they are again, going to a split decision in another really fun fight. A fitting farewell fight for Little Nog. It would’ve been a nice moment to see them both retire after this one actually. 

The closer we got to Werdum vs Gustafsson, I got the feeling it was going to be over quick either way. Don’t know what it was  but I had a strong feeling we’d either see Gus use his newfound bulk to crack Werdum one and put him out. Or we’d see what actually happened.


Bit sad to see Gus come out of retirement for that. I mean, he wasn’t looking too bad for the first minute or so but still. To get done in under 3 minutes in what’s supposed to be your fresh start isn’t ideal, is it? Like I said before the show, all I was seeing online was people going ‘LOL at people thinking Werdum finishes Gus’. As if it was some crazy prediction.

I love the use of the Ribas laugh there but I never got why people were so confident Gus was winning this, or that Werdum couldn’t finish him. Werdum is a world class fighter, one of the best Heavyweights in MMA history and maybe THE best submission artist ever in the division (fuck you, Mir). I think too much stock was put in his dodgy showing against Oleynik but that was after about 2 years on the shelf. 

Don’t know what’s next for either man. It was the last fight on Werdum’s contract so the timing of this win for him was handy. Can see him going to Bellator myself but maybe the UFC make him a better offer now. He’s 43 but it’s not like the Heavyweight division can afford to just lose elite guys right now. Gus...not a clue. Unless he’s still got the motivation to drop back to 205, I’ve no desire to see him fucking about with Greg Hardy, getting mopped up by Ngannou, or anything in between. 

Chimaev looks like the real deal, doesn’t he? Fucking hell. Poor McKee never even got started here. The way Chimaev picked him up and walked across the cage with him, I have more trouble picking my daughter up and putting her in bed when she’s not cooperating. Proper big brother stuff. And once he got on top it was a wrap. Just crushed him. Felt sorry for McKee. He was always up against it, opponent wise and with the short notice, but this was a total mauling. Still going to hold off on declaring this guy the next Khabib yet though. He’s looked terrifying in his fights so far but it’s still early days and both opponents accepted him on a few days notice and clearly didn’t know what they were signing up for. If he keeps doing this as he moves up the levels though...Christ almighty. 

Didn’t watch the Fight Pass bit. Just too many fights. A card Frank Warren would be proud of. But I might catch the Nathaniel Wood fight later if I get chance. Rest of the prelims were pretty good. 

Thought Francisco Trinaldo vs Jai Herbert was a really good fight. Trinaldo is still a handful at 43 or whatever he is now. I’ve seen a bit of moaning about the stoppage but I’m not having it. Herbert was done. Felder went on a little rant about it as well and I agree with every word...

I think Herbert will be fun to watch going forward though. Especially matched up with the strikers of the division. You don’t see Trinaldo get put on his arse much. Wouldn’t be at all against seeing that originally planned Herbert vs Diakiese fight rebooked now. 

Jesse Ronson had an impressive return. Didn’t expect him to put Dalby away like that. Based on his past stints I don’t expect him to go much further but I liked his little post-fight interview talking about 6’3” Lightweights living on lettuce and ice cubes. “Eat sumthin!” 😂 I’d be up for him vs Luis Pena next. 

Tom Aspinall had about the perfect UFC debut. Can’t beat a first minute stoppage to make a first impression. I liked Aspinall until Gooden read out Belal Muhammad’s tweet comparing to Frank Mir. Now that’s all I’ll think of when I see him. He’s ruined. 

Tanner Boser has had a good month or so. Two big finishes back-to-back. He’s looked pretty decent since the Ciryl Gane loss. Moves deceptively well for a son of Roy Nelson.

Fun show all in all. In all honesty, I’d have just settled for Whittaker and Shogun winning but the fights themselves delivered for the most part too. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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42 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

I’ve seen a bit of moaning about the stoppage but I’m not having it. Herbert was done. Felder went on a little rant about it as well and I agree with every word...

Most of the moaning I have seen has been about Dean not stopping it soon enough. 

Dan Hardy gave Dean a right bollocking:




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I think Till's main problem is that he doesn't seem to be too good at adapting mid-fight. If his game plan is working for him then he's great at being disciplined and sticking to it (e.g. Thompson & Gastelum) but if his opponent manages to work him out during the fight he doesn't really do anything to adjust and keeps going for the same thing (e.g Masvidal & Whittaker). He'll be dangerous early on against almost anyone but will often struggle against the very top guys the longer the fight goes on.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed that card. I don't think there was a particularly bad fight on the whole show and even the people I usually don't really have much interest in had decent fights. If anyone hasn't seen the prelims, the first round of Evloev vs Grundy is well worth watching. It stopped being competitive during the second round but the first had some excellent grappling exchanges.

8 minutes ago, jimufctna24 said:

Most of the moaning I have seen has been about Dean not stopping it soon enough. 

Yeah, me too. I think what made it worse is that Dean did the same thing in an earlier fight where he let another take some unnecessary shots after they were clearly done.

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Yeah there was more people saying it was a late stoppage but I definitely saw a few last night acting like Herbert was intelligently defending himself. I guess Felder saw the same stuff and that was what he was responding to in that video.

Truthfully, there’s been much worse stoppages over the years. Even recently, I was more uncomfortable with the Yan vs Aldo stoppage than this. But he was clearly done and Herb just stood there. The fact Trinaldo waited a few seconds and Herbert still never tried to get up, cover up, sod all should’ve told Dean that he was gone at that point. Thankfully he seemed OK after but that last 3 or 4 punches was punishment he shouldn’t have been taking and that’s on Herb Dean. Like I said, there’s been worse. This one’s probably going to get more play because of the way Hardy and Felder reacted to it though. 

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