UFC Fight Island got off to a fantastic start last Saturday with the 251 PPV card that saw a new bantamweight champion crowned and two other title fights, in which both champions retained their titles. Now we have Fight Island 1, a card full of ranked contenders who are looking to get their names into title contention with a win tonight.
Jack Shore (W) vs Aaron Phillips – Bantamweight Bout
Bantamweights kicked off the card with promising prospect Jack Shore taking on the returning Aaron Phillips. Jack Shore dominated this round from the first second, he didn’t wait long to shoot for the takedown and although Phillips enjoyed some good defense to start off with however Shore was just too much and took him down. Shore then landed a wonderful slam and looked to take Phillips back, eventually got it, and landed some serious ground and pound, including some nasty head knees. 10-9 Shore easily.
Round 2 started and Shore started the round just like he did the first and attempted to take Phillips down, he found it quite easily and Phillips was in deep waters once again. Phillips seemed scared of his position as Shore looked to lay down some ground and pound, so he moved and Shore got the back, locked in the rear-naked choke, and forced Phillips to tap for the win. Shore is the real deal ladies and gentlemen.
Diana Belbita vs Liana Jojua (W) – Women’s Flyweight Bout
The next fight on the card is a flyweight battle between Diana Belbita and Liana Jojua. Belbita started the round really well, piecing up Jojua with some lovely 1-2’s, however she made a questionable decision to grapple with Jojua, which resulted in a takedown for Belbita. Things went from bad to worse for Belbita as Jojua locked in an armbar after some quality defending from Belbita, Jojua finally got it in the perfect angle and Belbita tapped for the round 1 submission win for Jojua.
Jared Gordon (W) vs Chris Fishgold – Featherweight Bout
Next up is a featherweight bout between two interesting prospects in Gordon and Fishgold. Gordon will be without his usual corner team for this fight; however, he will have Paul Felder acting as his cornerman. Round 1 started with both guys going for kicks, with Fishgold landing some nice uppercuts as Gordon came in for the attack. Gordon pushed Fishgold to the floor and tried to lock in a guillotine but failed. Fishgold went for a guillotine himself but also failed and the last minute of the round was Gordon laying some nice shots down from dominant position. 10-9 Gordon for me, but it was a close.
Round 2 was just utter domination from start to finish for Gordon. Fishgold went for another guillotine and failed, giving Gordon dominant position, constantly moving from side control, to half mount to closed full mount. Throughout the entire round Gordon was just chipping away at Fishgold with shots to the ribs and head. Easy 20-17 for Gordon for me.
Round 3 was just as dominant for Gordon, although Fishgold did enjoy some good combos at the start of the round. Nothing could stop Gordon taking him to the floor once again and he was throwing shots all over the place, with Mark Goddard telling Fishgold to stay active at least twice. Gordon kept going for the finish but ultimately failed, however, he clearly won the fight on the cards, either 30-27 or 30-26. The judges gave the fight to Gordon for the win, with Paul Felder 1-0 as a UFC cornerman!
Modestas Bukauskas (W) vs Andreas Michailidis – Light Heavyweight Bout
Next up on the card is a light heavyweight fight between two newcomers, Modestas Bukauskas and Andreas Michailidis. This first round was crazy, both guys were throwing bombs towards each other, with Michailidis hitting some really nasty leg kicks. Bukauskas seemed the better throwing his hands and Michailidis was really putting some power into some heavy shots that kept missing. Near the end of the round, Michailidis shot for a takedown and Bukauskas hit some really nasty elbows to the head of Michailidis. Michailidis struggled to get to his stool and from nowhere the fight was called by the ref. Whether those elbows were legal or not is a question to be asked, but for now, Bukauskas gets the win on his debut.
I thought I’d clarify my opinion on that finish, those elbows were on the verge of being illegal and I think they should be illegal from now on as it’s easy to hit the back of the head with those. The door opening and Michailidis falling through definitely didn’t help his case with the ref but he was still really hurt by those elbows, so I’d say it’s a good stoppage given the current rules but I can see why people didn’t like it.
Ricardo Ramos vs Lerone Murphy (W) – Featherweight Bout
Carrying on from one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen in a fight for some time, the featherweights are up next with some good prospects fighting in Ricardo Ramos and Lerone Murphy. Ramos opened the fight really well with some really nice kicks that he kept switching levels with. Ramos then shot for a takedown but couldn’t get Murphy down the whole way, allowing Murphy to start opening up some shots and connecting with a few.
Murphy shot for the takedown and got it, but Ramos switched it and got dominant position, after a lot of scrambling from both guys they found themselves back on the feet until Murphy shot for a takedown, got it and then landed some serious elbows and punches that hurt Ramos, from there Murphy never stopped with the shots and the ref called the fight with 40 seconds left. Murphy wins via TKO!
John Phillips vs Khamzat Chimaev (W) – Middleweight Bout
The featured prelim fight is between middleweights as John Phillips welcomes Khamzat Chimaev to the UFC. WOW, was this an absolute drubbing from the debutant, from the opening bell Chimaev threw a huge head kick and instantly shot for the takedown, from there he was landed shot after shot after shot and around a minute in Phillips was busted wide open. Chimaev took the back and wasn’t letting Phillips have a single second, constantly throwing some hellacious shots. 10-8 easily for Chimaev.
Round 2 started with Chimaev throwing Phillips to the ground, hitting him all over the body and head with ground and pound. Phillips was trying his best to move around and get any break he could, but he moved straight into Chimaev’s clutch and he sunk in a really deep d’arce choke, Phillips tapped and Chimaev puts in one of the most impressive UFC debuts I have seen in some time!
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Mounir Lazzez (W) – Welterweight Bout
After a really fun prelim show, the main card kicks off with a welterweight bout between promising, returning prospect Abdul Razak Alhassan and UFC newcomer Mounir Lazzez. What a round 1 this was, Alhassan was throwing bombs at the start and was lighting Lazzez up, however, Lazzez took everything like it was nothing and started chopping away at Alhassan’s legs with some powerful leg kicks. Lazzez kept coming into the fight more and starting landing some lovely lead elbows whilst also throwing some serious kicks to every level. Lazzez scored a takedown at the end of the round and he takes it 10-9.
Round 2 was just as good as the first, Lazzez came flying out of the blocks, throwing bombs at Alhassan who looked like he was done but came back with some brutal hooks. Lazzez scored a takedown but the ref stood them up after less than 30 seconds, awful decision. Lazzez then started lighting Alhassan up with some elbows but Alhassan was still throwing bombs of his own. Lazzez scored a 2nd takedown but once again, the god awful ref stood them up. 20-18 for Lazzez for me.
Round 3 was more technical than the last two, with the fight going to the ground earlier and Lazzez was enjoying the more dominant position, although he couldn’t do much as Alhassan had his head caught up, trying for a guillotine. Lazzez landed some nice knees down the middle and Alhassan managed to get to his feet with 12 seconds left, where he left off some huge hooks which seemed to hurt Lazzez at the end. Interesting round, probably 29-28 Lazzez if we’re being fair. Two judges scored it 30-27 and one scored it 29-28 for Lazzez, who wins on his debut and makes a huge impact.
Molly McCann vs Taila Santos (W) – Women’s Flyweight Bout
The women’s flyweight division has been a huge part of Fight Island so far and it doesn’t stop here as #15 contender Molly McCann faces promising prospect Taila Santos. Santos came out and used her 6-inch reach advantage to good use, keeping Molly outside and hitting her with some nasty leg kicks. However, Molly found some really nice success with left hands over the top and found it pretty comfortable to take the inside, whilst Santos tried to keep her at bay with some knees. Santos scored 2 takedowns near the latter stages of the rounds but didn’t do much whilst in dominant position. 10-9 Santos.
Round 2 was fought mainly on the ground as Santos used her strength advantage to take Molly down to ground, from there she tried to lay some elbows on Molly but Molly was keeping active and scrambling away, she almost scrambled into a d’arce choke but Santos gave it up. Santos scored a 2nd takedown and finished in dominant position to finish the round. 20-18 Santos, Molly needs a finish.
Round 3 started and Molly knew she had to get a finish to win the fight, she came out and was putting some combos together but nothing was landing with any real power. She tried a spinning kick to the body and a spinning backfist but Santos dodged both and body locked her against the cage. From there, she dumped Molly on the floor and went for the d’arce choke again. The fight ended on the feet but Santos should take this 30-27 and the judges agree.
Jimmie Rivera vs Cody Stamann – Featherweight Bout
Featherweights have been a mainstay for UFC Fight Island so far and, in my opinion, we’re in for the fight of the night as #8 Jimmie Rivera faces #9 Cody Stamann. The fight started slowly, with Rivera controlling the middle of the cage, whilst Stamann was moving around outside. Rivera hit some vicious leg kicks, however, one was caught by Stamann and he hit Rivera with a nice counter. Rivera paid him back and threw him to the floor, from there both showed great grappling skills and the fight returned to the feet. Rivera caught Stamann late on with a nasty counter to win the round 10-9.
Round 2 was all action yet again as Rivera went for the takedown instantly but Stamann stuffed the attempt and gained dominant position against the cage in the clinch. Rivera reversed the position after a minute or so and was working to get something going. The fight went back to the feet and Rivera went back to his leg kicks, Stamann landed a really nice flying knee near the end but Rivera hit a nice 3 piece combo to end the round. Tough round to call but I’ll say its 20-18 Rivera.
Round 3 was a little slower to start and Rivera went for the takedown within a minute of the round, however, he couldn’t fully get it and had to settle for a dominant clinch position against the cage wall. Rivera hit a nice hook on the exit, but Stamann then enjoyed some dominant clinch positioning until 45 seconds were left on the clock. Stamann pieced a combo together, Rivera hit back with his own and finished the round with a lovely right hand. 30-27 Rivera for me and the two judges agreed with me as they gave the win to Rivera via decision.
Tim Elliott (W) vs Ryan Benoit – Flyweight Bout
In the co-main event of the evening, #13 ranked contender Tim Elliott looks to get his career back on track as he fights prospect Ryan Benoit who is looking to get some consistency going for the first time in his career. Round 1 started pretty slowly, with Elliott controlling the middle of the cage, Benoit happy to be on the outside. Elliott was throwing a lot of fakes with his left hand and leg kicks to stop Benoit coming into the pocket. Elliott shot for a takedown but it was stuffed and Benoit caught him with a powerful head kick. Benoit stuffed another takedown attempt and ripped Elliott to the body. Elliott scored two takedowns at the end but they came to nothing. 10-9 Benoit, I think.
Round 2 was action-packed from start to finish, both guys were warming up to each other’s gameplans and they were letting loose early in the round. Elliott scored a nice takedown after a decent combo from Benoit and looked like he had a guillotine locked in, but some great scrambling from Benoit meant he lost the grip. Benoit then looked to have finished the fight with a nasty kneebar, but Elliott fought through and gained dominant position via full mount. Both guys exchanged at the end of the round, Benoit with a nice combo and Elliott with some nice elbows. 19-19 I’d say but I could see 20-18 Benoit.
Round 3 was a great end to a really fun fight, Elliott opened the round-up with some nice combos and some excellent left-handed jabs, however, he came of the exchange nursing a finger on his right hand, probably a dislocated finger. Smelling blood in the water, Benoit turn his attack on more, hitting Elliott with some really powerful shots that seemed to really hurt Elliott. Elliott hit back with his own little combo but Benoit finished the round with some good strikes. I’d say 29-28 Benoit but those rounds were close and I could see an Elliott win. Surprisingly all 3 judges had it 29-28 Elliott, which I think is quite harsh on Benoit.
Calvin Kattar (W) vs Dan Ige – Featherweight Bout
After a really fun prelim show, and a very solid main card to the point, we reach the main event that sees #6 high riser Calvin Kattar take on #10 ranked rising star Dan Ige. Round 1 started slowly, Ige was doing the majority of the work, working the inside with a 2 hit combo. Ige shot for a takedown but Kattar stuffed the attempt and tried to lay some shots in. Kattar came into the round halfway through and was finding some real success with a variety of strikes, but Ige countered him a few times. Kattar let loose to end the round with a flying knee a lovely right hand into a left to the body. 10-9 Kattar for me.
Round 2 started slowly just like round 1, Ige was finding some real success with a left to the body and then to the head as a way to work inside. Ige caught Kattar with a flush left hook to the face that caught Kattar’s nose, previously broken in his last fight, and it seemed to be bothering Kattar. Kattar came into the round more and was finding success with a straight right. Both guys let loose near the end, Ige landing a left hook which was followed up by a Kattar elbow and a flying knee that just missed. 19-19 I’d say.
Round 3 started and Kattar looked more urgent at the start than he did in the previous two rounds, putting more pressure on Ige and was looking to cut the cage off but his opponent kept finding a way to slip out. Ige was finding more success with his left hand, especially as a counter punch when Kattar was coming in, however, Kattar was finding more success himself and both guys enjoyed a decent amount in this round. Tough to call, probably 29-28 Kattar but it could be 29-28 Ige.
Round 4 was a great round for Kattar, who seemed the fresher of the two fighters, attacking with fast combos and real power behind his strikes. Ige seemed to be tired and was going for haymakers with his left rather than the combos he had previously. Kattar stunned Ige with a lovely right hand and then started hitting Ige with some really nasty leg kicks, Ige definitely took a lot of damage in that round. 39-37 for Kattar for me after 4, but it could be closer.
Round 5 was a much slower round than the previous one, however, Ige seemed to know he needed a finish and reverted back to hitting Kattar with that left hand combo. Kattar was used to that combo though and stayed out of range of it, whilst trying to counter with leg kicks and some stiff right hands. Ige shot for a takedown but Kattar defended it brilliantly and Kattar ended the round by laying down some shots, including a knee that almost seemed to knock Ige down right at the end. 49-46 Kattar for me and the judges agreed with me!
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via USA TODAY Sports