We have reached the finale of Fight Island, as on Saturday, the UFC puts on Fight Island 3, a special bumper fight card that sees 8 fights on the prelims and 7 fights on the main card, including the main event of Robert Whittaker vs Darren Till. However, we do have the prelims to look at first and I’ll be looking at the first 4 prelims fights in this piece.
Nathaniel Wood vs John Castaneda – Bantamweight Bout
Bantamweights kick us off for Fight Island 3 and it’s a UFC debut for John Castaneda as he faces highly rated prospect Nathaniel Wood. Wood made his name in Cage Warriors, where he ripped through the competition and got fast-tracked to the UFC. He’s 3-1 in the UFC so far and his last fight was a loss against John Dodson, in what was a very close affair. Wood is a star in the making, you can quote me on that, he has a really nice striking game and a very solid ground game to back it up. A win here puts his name right next to the rankings.
John Castaneda makes his UFC debut in this fight after making a name for himself in other companies around the world. He holds a 17-4 record, but interestingly, he has lost 2 of his last 3, which is pretty rare for a guy making his UFC debut. Castaneda is a pretty well-rounded fighter, who knows how to grind out decision wins if necessary, something he’ll be hoping to do in this one.
Personally, I’m picking Wood to win this one and I think it will be pretty comfortable for him. He just has that extra something about him, where you can tell he’s going to be a top contender for years to come and I just don’t think Castaneda is at that same level as Wood.
Ramazan Emeev vs Niklas Stolze – Welterweight Bout
Welterweights are up next on the prelims as Ramazan Emeev welcomes German fighter Niklas Stolze to the UFC. Ramazan Emeev is just another scary wrestler coming out of Dagestan, Russia. He will take you down, keep you there and then try to lock in a submission when you try to transition out. Emeev hasn’t hit the ranked fighters just yet but a win against Stolze will put him 4-1 in the UFC.
Niklas Stolze is making his UFC debut after making a name for himself on the European fight scene. He holds a 12-3 record in his career, and he’s never been finished in his fight as all 3 losses have come via decision. Stolze has won by a pretty even mixture of ways and it’ll be interesting to see if he keeps the fight on the feet or thinks his ground game is good enough to challenge Emeev on the ground.
I’m going to pick Emeev for this one, mainly of the fact that I know what he will offer in the fight and what he will try to implement on Stolze. Although, most of the newcomers during Fight Island have really impressed so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Stolze add his name to the list.
#13 Bethe Correia vs Pannie Kianzad – Women’s Bantamweight Bout
The women keep the prelims going, specifically in the bantamweight division, as #13 ranked contender Bethe Correia faces off with Pannie Kianzad. Bethe Correia is a UFC veteran, being with the company since 2013 and fighting some very big names like Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Jessica Eye, and Raquel Pennington. She’s coming off a win against Sijara Eubanks and will be looking to get a rare finish tonight, as 9 of her 11 wins have come via decision.
Pannie Kianzad is an interesting fighter in this division, as she’s never really found any consistency in the majority of her career. She’s 2-2 in the UFC so far, although she is coming off a win against Jessica Rose Clark in her last fight. Like her counterpart, she’s a fighter who loves winning via decision and it’ll be interesting to see if she goes down this route again, or whether she tries to rush the better fighter in Correia.
If you just read what I wrote about both of these women, then I’m guessing you know who I’m picking for the win and that’s Bethe Correia. She’s a much better fighter, with a much better resume and I just can’t see Kianzad beating her in any department.
Tanner Boser vs Raphael Pessoa Nunes – Heavyweight Bout
It’s time for the big boys to do battle now as Tanner Boser takes on Raphael Pessoa Nunes in the heavyweight division. Tanner Boser has been pretty impressive in his UFC career so far, his record in the UFC stands at 2-1 and he’s coming off an impressive KO win against Philipe Lins in his last fight. Boser is a big guy who will just grind you out in the clinch and then punish you when separated. He’s got the talent; he just needs to get some win together to push further up the division.
Raphael Pessoa Nunes is a Brazilian fighter with a 10-1 pro record, he’s currently 1-1 in the UFC and is coming off a decision win against Jeff Hughes in his last fight. Nunes is a really big guy even at heavyweight, usually weighing around 250 and he just loves to slug it out with his opponents. Whether he can outslug Boser is yet to be determined but he has a great chance if he connects with one of those power punches.
This is an interesting fight between two big-bodied heavyweights, who look interesting, to say the least, as prospects in the UFC. Both guys are desperate for a win in this one and a fight at heavyweight is always a coin flip, but I’ll say Boser wins this one.
Mandatory Credit: Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports