UFC Fight Island concludes on Saturday and it’s safe to say it’s been one of the biggest successes the UFC has had in years, with millions of new fans tuning in. I’ve already looked at the 8 prelim bouts, and 4 of the 7 main card bouts in other pieces, so let’s get into the last 3 main card fights, including the co-main and main event of the evening.
#14 Fabricio Werdum vs #7 Alexander Gustafsson – Heavyweight Bout
Yes, you guys did read that right, Fabricio Werdum is facing Alexander Gustafsson at heavyweight, one of the best light heavyweights of the past decade has decided to move up to heavyweight because why not, it’s 2020 after all. Fabricio Werdum is one of the most legendary heavyweights of all time, facing the best of the best since making his UFC debut back in 2012. The 42-year-old is coming off a loss against Alexey Oleynik, where he looked good for the first 5 minutes and then just gassed out. I’m not sure the matchmakers like him fighting still with this matchup against Gustafsson.
Alexander Gustafsson will go down as one of the best fighters to never hold the title and is easily one of the best light heavyweights in the past decade. Gustafsson is one of the best, pure strikers in the game and can put anyone to sleep, he did retire back in 2019 when he lost to Anthony Smith, but many believed it was a knee-jerk reaction and it seems it was as he makes his debut at heavyweight. Gustafsson at heavyweight could be really interesting, the same way it’s interesting to see guys like Wilder and Usyk move up to heavyweight in boxing.
If this was a few years ago, I’d happily back Werdum or give him a much bigger chance to win this fight, but he’s 42 years old and struggled against Oleynik. Now he faces a great in Alexander Gustafsson, who’s only 33, and will still be pretty quick at heavyweight.
#15 Mauricio Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira – Light Heavyweight Bout
We head back down to light heavyweight for the co-main event of the evening as two legends of the fight game face off. Mauricio Rua is a fan favorite ever since he made his UFC debut back in 2007. He’s been a loyal servant to the UFC and has faced some of the best fighters in UFC history. He’s a straight slugger, with some serious KO power and will happily stand there and throw down with the best strikers in the world. He won the previous fight against Nogueira and will be looking to finish the rivalry with a win.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is another fan favorite and legend of the game, facing some of the best fighters in MMA history in multiple promotions. At 44 years of age, it’s crazy to see him still fighting and it seems a bit stupid for him to still be fighting. Nogueira will be looking to avenge his loss against Rua in this fight.
This fight, realistically, shouldn’t be happening. Both guys should have retired by now and should be enjoying the rest of their lives, they have nothing to prove and nothing to gain from winning this fight as neither will be anywhere near title contention again. I just hope Rua wins so Nogueira has nothing to fight for and retires after.
#1 Robert Whittaker vs #5 Darren Till – Middleweight Bout
What a main event we have on our hand’s ladies and gentlemen, as former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker faces top contender Darren Till. Robert Whittaker has already staked his claim as one of the best middleweights and was champion for quite some time, racking up wins against Yoel Romero, Derek Brunson, Ronaldo Souza, and multiple others. Whittaker is a seriously scary striker who will pick apart fighters’ defense with ease. If he wins this one, he has to get a rematch against current champion Israel Adesanya down the line.
Darren Till has been one of the biggest risers in the sport for quite some time, he started out at welterweight, fighting for the title in 2018 and has wins against some huge names like Stephen Thompson and Donald Cerrone. He made the switch to middleweight, a much more natural weight for him, and one fans wanted him at, back in November 2019 and beat top contender Kelvin Gastelum via decision. He found it pretty easy against Gastelum but never truly impressed in the fight and this is a chance to really get fans excited about him at middleweight and even put his name into the title contention hat.
This will be an all-out war between two of the best strikers in the UFC, both guys have scary KO power and have the technical skill to ease past the other’s defense. It’s difficult to pick a winner given Whittaker got outstruck in his title loss against Adesanya and Till didn’t truly impress in his middleweight debut, all I know is the fans are the winner with this one. If I had to pick a winner, I’ll pick Till, just because he’s from the UK like me and he’s unrivaled on Twitter!
Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports