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UFC Fight Island: Moraes vs Sandhagen - Oct 10th 🇦🇪 🏝


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Saturday 10th October. Fight Island.

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Marlon Moraes vs Cory Sandhagen

Edson Barboza vs Makwan Amirkhani 

Ben Rothwell vs Marcin Tybura

Markus Perez vs Dricus Du Plessis

Tom Aspinall vs Alan Baudot

Youssef Zalal vs Ilia Topuria 

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Tom Breese vs KB Bhullar

Rodrigo Nascimento vs Chris Daukaus

Impa Kasanganay vs Joaquin Buckley

Ali Alqaisi vs Tony Kelley 

Giga Chikadze vs Omar Morales

Tracy Cortez vs Stephanie Egger

Bruno Silva vs Tagir Ulanbekov

 

That’s probably not the official bout order and, let’s face it, half of this probably won’t even end up happening. But we’ll roll with it and keep the glass half full vibes. If this mostly stays intact (yeah, I know), I think it’s a tremendous card. Way better than that Holm vs Aldana one the week before. 

 

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Marlon Moraes vs Cory Sandhagen tops the bill. Now we’re talking! Love this fight. Both guys have kind of been in no man’s land recently. Moraes won that close decision over Jose Aldo in December but got treated like he lost. And Sandhagen was on a strong 7 fight win streak but got steamrolled in 90 seconds by Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250 in June. So they’re both kind of frozen out of the title race in different ways for the time being. A convincing win for either here, especially a finish, would catapult them right back into that conversation fast. Moraes should be in the mix anyway. However you scored the Aldo fight, it’s gone down as a win for Moraes. I had him winning myself. And aside from the loss to Cejudo, he’s been on fire in the UFC. Really looking forward to this one. Both beasts but in different ways. Moraes will just try to blast your head off with power strikes. Sandhagen will usually go the more technical route but is tough as old boots and pretty slick on the ground despite the quick submission loss to Aljo. I’m actually hoping this goes into the ‘championship rounds’ just to see how it plays out. Should be a corker whatever happens. I’m a fan of both but I’d like to see Moraes win. Yan vs Moraes is a bit of a dream match for me.

 

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Edson Barboza vs Makwan Amirkhani is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Cracking fight. Was supposed to be Barboza vs Sodiq Yusuff, which I liked even better, but Yusuff couldn’t make it due to visa issues. Apparently, Yusuff’s side tried to keep the fight on and just delay it a few weeks but I guess Barboza didn’t want to wait. Haven’t seen Amirkhani confirmed by the UFC as the replacement yet but Combate is reporting it so that’s good enough for me. I really like this pairing. We know the score with Barboza. Beast striker. Pound-for-pound maybe the best kicker in the sport. This still might be the greatest knockout in MMA history...

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It’s either that or Zombie vs Yair for me. His flying knee against Beneil Dariush is up there as well. He’s faltered against the elite like Khabib, Ferguson and Gaethje but he’s always going to be a popular fighter just because he’s so exciting to watch. Badly needs a win now though. He’s 1-5 in his last 6. He’s had a fairly brutal run of opponents, in fairness to him, but it’s still not a good look. He dropped to Featherweight in May and lost a razor close decision to Dan Ige. He looked good though and most people seemed to think he should’ve got the nod from the judges.

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Amirkhani is Finnish-Iranian but has trained out of SBG in Ireland. Not sure if he’s still affiliated with them. He’s 16-4 with nearly all his wins coming via submission. His one knockout victory came in his UFC debut when he took out Andy Ogle with a spectacular flying knee in just 8 seconds! Really like Amirkhani. He looked every bit of a legit potential breakout star after that KO in his debut. The way the fight went plus his likeable personality in the post-fight media, there was genuine buzz around him but it didn’t last. Injuries piled up and he fought very sporadically between 2016 and 2018. He’s coming into this fight off a sweet anaconda choke finish over Danny Henry in July. If he can’t get Barboza down I think this is going to get ugly for Amirkhani. He’s not a bad striker himself but I think he takes a beating in a striking match with Barboza. On the ground I’d give him the edge though. Good fight. Would’ve preferred Barboza vs Yusuff but this’ll do. Hopefully with the winner facing Yusuff before 2020 is done.

 

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Ben Rothwell vs Marcin Tybura isn’t getting my nips erect, to be totally honest. Not the worst fighters on the roster by any stretch but they’re just two big lugs really. Rothwell turns 39 a week after this fight. He was never in the title race but people forget he wasn’t far off a few years ago. This is a man who holds a knockout over Alistair Overeem and a submission over Josh Barnett, for fuck’s sake. But he got had by USADA in 2016 and he’s gone 2-3 since. Beat Stefan Struve and OSP in his last 2 fights though. The ‘streak’ begins. He’s not bad ‘Big Ben’. I actually really enjoyed his ugly scrap with Arlovski in their rematch not too long ago. He can still go when he has to. Tybura is 34 with a respectable record of 19-6. Wins over Arlovski and Struve and just beat Sergey Spivak and Maxim Grishin. It’s not that bad a fight. I’m probably being harsh. I just can’t envision anything other than a lumbering, sweaty, uncoordinated mess here. But enough about the Prime Minister.
 

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Markus Perez vs Dricus Du Plessis. OK, change of plan here. This was originally supposed to be Perez vs BJJ gorilla Rodolfo Vieira but Vieira has pulled out injured. In steps Octagon newcomer Dricus Du Plessis. A 26 year old South African with a record of 14-2 and all his wins (and losses) being finishes. Not familiar with him but apparently he’s supposed to be a bit of a prospect. He was the KSW Welterweight champion and was also a double champ (170 & 185) for the EFC promotion in Africa.

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That said, nearly all of his opposition have been unknowns and he got knocked out a couple of fights ago. Still, doesn’t seem a bad signing. He sounds exciting if nothing else. Perez is 12-3 and a former LFA Middleweight champ. He’s lost a few recently but also has victories over the likes of Ian Heinisch and ex UFC fighter Paulo Thiago who I completely forgot existed. Perez isn’t going to be a problem for any of the top boys at 185 but he’s decent, crafty and has some tricks up his sleeve. He’s certainly a decent test on paper for a debuting guy like Du Plessis.

 

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Tom Aspinall vs Alan Baudot. Another late switch up. Aspinall was all set to face Sergey Spivak but Spivak’s out so here we are. Fucking Clubber Lang’s stepped in. On paper it looks like a decent battle of up and coming Heavyweights. Often we see these HW fights booked between new guys and roll our eyes. But these are two who actually look like they might potentially go on to be something more than the fat brawlers who get released after going 1-4 and never get above the prelims. Aspinall is 27 from Wigan and fights out of Team Kaobon. He’s 8-2, all his wins have been finishes and it took him just 45 seconds to TKO Jake Collier in his UFC debut in July. Baudot is 32 years old out of Lyon, France. He’s 8-1 with 7 knockouts, 5 inside a round. So yeah, amongst the sea of shite, there are some new Heavyweights who actually show some promise. I pity the fool who doesn’t recognise that. 

 

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Youssef Zalal vs Ilia Topuria. Not massively familiar with these two but the little bit I’ve seen of Zalal he’s looked fun. He’s 24, 10-2 with 7 finishes and nicknamed ‘The Moroccan Devil’. Doesn’t fuck about either. Only made his UFC debut in February and he’s 3-0 in the Octagon already. I didn’t see his last fight but I love this picture which surfaced from it;

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Now that’s a man who thoroughly enjoys his job right there. Never heard of Topuria. He’s jumping in to replace Seung Woo Choi here. Looking him up though, he sounds like a good signing. He’s Georgian, 23 years old and has a perfect record of 8-0 with 7 finishes, and only one has gone past a round. Hasn’t beat anyone you’d know yet so, as always, take his undefeated streak with a pinch of salt for now. But it’s always a good start. And even if they were all bums, he’s disposed of them as such. Can’t really ask for more than that. We’ll soon find out if he’s legit. 

 

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Tom Breese vs KB Bhullar. This has been moved from the Holm vs Aldana card for some reason. I’m guessing because Bhullar is a late replacement and might’ve needed an extra week for the weight cut or whatever. Brummie Breese at one point was considered one of the better British prospects in MMA. In early 2016 he was 24 years old and 10-0 with 9 finishes. He’d been training under Firas Zahabi at Tristar, was a standout grappler and had battered McGregor teammate and UKFF favourite Cathal Pendred early into his UFC run. The sky seemed to be the limit. Then he lost to Sean Strickland and started racking up injuries at an alarming rate. To the point he’s only fought twice in the last 4 years. He last fought in February and got bashed by Brendan Allen in a round. Bhullar is filling in for Roman Kopylov who dropped out. He’s Canadian-Indian, 28 years old and he’s currently 8-0 with 6 finishes. He beat Matt Dwyer in his last fight, an ex UFC fighter who I only remember for his absolute corker with Alan Jouban years ago. Bhullar was scheduled to fight on DWCS but obviously that’s off now and he’s straight in the UFC. Sounds like someone worth taking a look at. My confidence in Breese turning things around is flagging at this point.

 

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Rodrigo Nascimento vs Chris Daukaus. What was I saying about Heavyweight prospects? Here’s a couple more. Nascimento is one I’ve been impressed by so far. Trains at American Top Team, think he was on Dana’s Contender Series and he’s 8-0 with 8 finishes. Made his Octagon debut in May and subbed Don’Tale Mayes without much bother. Only 27 as well, which in Heavyweight years is a baby. Daukaus was also on DWCS. He’s 30 with a record of 9-3, 8 by knockout, 6 inside a round. Made his UFC debut on the Miocic vs Cormier 3 prelims in August and battered Parker Porter in a round. On paper it looks like submission artist vs KO artist but we’ll see what happens.

 

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Impa Kasanganay vs Joaquin Buckley. Right then. More pullouts. Abu Azaitar (older brother of Ottman) was supposed to fight Buckley here but he’s out. Again. Kasanganay has stepped up in his place. He’s 26 years old out of Charlotte, North Carolina (WOOOOH!) and he’s unbeaten so far at 8-0. He beat Maki Pitolo on points in his UFC debut in August and looked really sharp despite also jumping into that one on late notice. Buckley is 10-3 with 7 knockouts. He jumped into his UFC debut on very late notice against Kevin Holland on the Aug 8th Fight Night and got stopped in the third round. But I thought he gave a real solid account of himself and I’m looking forward to seeing him again with a little bit more prep time.

 

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Ali Alqaisi vs Tony Kelley. Not a clue. They’ve both fought in the UFC but I didn’t see either of them. Alqaisi is 29 years old with a 8-4 MMA record. Background in Kung Fu and Sanda apparently. Made his UFC debut on the Aug 8th card and lost a split decision against Irwin Rivera. Kelley is 5-2 and fights out of Team Alpha Male in California. Debuted on the UFC 252 prelims and lost on points. Nothing to add. No fucks given.

 

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Giga Chikadze vs Omar Morales. Another pretty good piece of matchmaking. Chikadze is a Kickboxer (38-6 record) and former GLORY fighter. In MMA he’s 10-2 and on a nice little 5 fight streak. Hasn’t looked devastating so far but I like him. Watched some clips of his GLORY fights and he’s definitely got some good scraps in him if he’s matched with the right opponents. Loves a body kick stoppage as well, old Giga. Morales I’m less familiar with. He’s fought twice in the UFC, winning both on points. I saw his debut but can’t really remember much. Sounds quite promising though. 10-0 with 7 finishes. Can’t ask for much more can you?

 

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Tracy Cortez vs Stephanie Egger. I dunno. It’s yet another late change as Cortez’s original opponent Bea Malecki dropped out with about a week to go. Cortez looks good, in more ways than one. She’s 26 years old with a 7-1 record. Fought in Invicta, then got noticed on Dana’s Contender bollocks, then beat Vanessa Melo in her UFC debut in November. Sad backstory as well. She got into MMA as a teenager because her older brother was in it. He lost a split decision to Drew Fickett in 2008 and that got her hooked. But it turned out to be his final MMA fight as he became sick and was eventually diagnosed with cancer. He died in 2011. I know nothing about Stephanie Egger. A quick search on Sherdog tells me she’s from Switzerland, 32 and 5-1 in MMA so far. She’s got a 2015 TKO win over current UFC fighter Mara Romero Borella on her record for whatever that’s worth. 

 

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Bruno Silva vs Tagir Ulanbekov. Again, not up on either guy enough to give a proper analysis. I’ve seen Silva before. He’s 30 with a 10-4-2-1 record. Trained with the Pitbull brothers, don’t know if he still does. Hasn’t beat anyone particularly good and he’s coming off a loss and a No Contest in his last couple of fights. Ulanbekov is one of Khabib’s teammates and a student of the late Abdulmanap. He’s got a 10-1 record with 6 finishes and was the Flyweight champion in a promotion called GFC in Russia. Like most of the Dagestani crew, his main strength seems to be his grappling.

 

Quality. Especially for a Fight Night. IF it stays in one piece. Which it won’t. Lick my balls 2020. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Get the fuck out. Edson Barboza vs Sodiq Yusuff and Markus Perez vs Rodolfo Vieira are both off. Yusuff and Vieira are out.

As far as I know the UFC are looking for replacements to fight Barboza and Perez. Read some stuff about Makwan Amirkhani being lined up for Barboza. And Perez, erm...

Appropriate face paint. He must be joking. 

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Updated the OP with the latest.

• Combate in Brazil are reporting that Makwan Amirkhani is stepping in against Barboza after Sodiq Yusuff pulled out. 

• South African UFC newcomer Dricus Du Plessis replaces Rodolfo Vieira against Markus Perez.

• Impa Kasanganay in against Joaquin Buckley, filling in for Abu Azaitar.

Disappointed with all 3 of those original fights falling out but they’ve done a good job with the substitutes there, in fairness. 

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Updated for the changes. Again. Aspinall vs Mr T as above. Bea Malecki pulled out so Tracy Cortez is now fighting some fucker called Stephanie Egger. Oh and Alejandro Perez is out. They’re looking for a replacement for Almeida as far as I know. Shit’s exhausting.

One change which caught my eye though, Ilia Topuria is making his debut against Youssef Zalal. I’ve previewed the fight in the opening post but he looks like a solid signing. Unbeaten, all finishes, fought in Brave FC most recently. Sounds like a bit of a handful. 

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I thought that myself @Carbomb but I haven’t seen any mention of it.

Really up for this card tonight. I think it’s getting slept on. There seemed to be more talk about the Holm vs Aldana card last week and how shit it looked than this little beauty. MMA fans love a bit of negativity don’t we? This looks quality though. Moraes vs Sandhagen might just be the best least talked about fight so far this year. Criminally overlooked. Barboza vs Amirkhani should be all kinds of fun as well. Then you’ve got a couple of Heavyweight prospects in Aspinall and Nascimento. Not to mention Mr Fucking T! Looking forward to Kasanganay vs Buckley too, was impressed by both in their debuts despite Buckley coming up short. And finally, the debuts of Du Plessis, Topuria and Bhullar are legit. These aren’t just the usual random newcomers. They all sound like they’ve got something about them. Topuria and Bhullar especially. It’s a very, very strong Fight Night card pretty much top to bottom. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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I'm with you Wand, I will be watching the prelims on BT Sport followed by the main card. The only fight that I don't feel invested in on the main card is the Youssef Zalal vs Ilia Topuria fight. I'm not familiar with either two guys.

On the prelims I am excited to see Kasanganay and I'm hoping he wins. I feel very invested in all of the DWCS guys from this season that I really want them to succeed. Buckley looked strong against a far more experienced Holland so even though he is coming in with a loss he's definitely a high level opponent.

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