The UFC is back in action with the second installment of Fight Island. Headlining the card is a pair of Featherweight standouts in Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige. The winner of this fight catapults themselves into fighting a top five opponent in the Featherweight division. Both men are tough as nails, so I expect this fight to be back and forth, with the victor winning a hard fought battle.
UFC on ESPN 13 Main Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET):
145 lbs. Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige – This is an excellent fight and I’ve been back and forth with my prediction. Kattar might as well be the boogeyman of the division. He’s a killer in the octagon, whom has an excellent skillset that no one wants a part of . His name value isn’t quite there yet with the casuals, but this main event is perfect time to reach them. Ige on the other hand, is coming into this bout on fire. He’s won six straight fights and is quickly become a contender. While I didnt think he won his last fight against Barboza, it was close and he went toe to toe with one of the bdst strikers in the division.
As for a prediction, Ive got Ige. I just think he’s a dog. He’s one of those scrappy, well rounded fighters, whom isn’t deterred at any moment in the fight. Kattar is a savage and is the more technical and precise puncher. Kattar also boast some good takedown defense. However, Ige has been gaining confidence each fight with his striking. He throws bombs, at times recklessly. Yet, I think it works here with Kattar’s inability to avoid getting hit. And over five rounds, I feel like Ige is going to land something dramatic or perhaps cut up Kattar. So with that, I’ll take Ige via late stoppage.
125 lbs.: Tim Elliott vs. Ryan Benoit – While Benoit has the wrestling and power, his cardio and durability are questionable. That’s not to say, Elliott isnt flawed either. His cardio and inability to stay out of disadvantageous positions are problematic. However, I liken Elliott here, despite his inconsistencies. I believe his ability to storm opponents, take them down and look for submissions will work here. Benoit is a good wrestler, but defensively can be a tad suspect.
145 lbs.: Jimmie Rivera vs. Cody Stamann – This fight is essentially a coin flip in my opinion. It’s also between two similar fighters, in that they are stocky wrestlers whom are physically strong with great bases. Rivera, at one point, had won twenty consecutive fights with six of those coming in the UFC. Destined for a title shot, things went south, as he dropped three of his last four fights. On the other hand, Stamann enters this fight 12-1-1 over his last fourteen fights. He’s won five fights inside the octagon, and his lone loss came to current number one contender Aljamain Sterling.
As for a prediction, I’ve got Rivera. While the trajectory’s of each of these fighters is going in the opposite direction, I liken here Rivera slightly. I believe this figh takes place strictly on the feet, as their wrestling is a wash. Rivera lands slightly less output then Stamann, but it’s the leg kicks of Rivera that I believe make the difference here. If he can chop Stamann down, by round three, he should have an easier time outpointing him. In the end, I have Rivera getting the nod via decision.
125 lbs.: Molly McCann vs. Talia Santos – While Santos seems to have an impressive skill set, her resume before signing with the UFC is chalk full of cans. Her debut also wasn’t the best, as she didn’t find much success until Mara Romero Borella tired. McCann is a pressure fighter, who works in takedowns and is a volume striker. She’s also got solid cardio, durability and just will to win. Unless Santos tries to chop down McCann with leg kicks, I don’t see how she edges out any of the rounds with McCann’s octagon control and striking volume. So with that, I have McCann winning via decision.
170 lbs.: Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Mounir Lazzez – I don’t see this ending without Razak Alhassan doing what he did to the ten opponents he’s beaten. That would be knocking them out in the very first round. Lock it up.
UFC on ESPN 13 ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: John Phillips vs. Khamzat Chimaev – Even though Chimaev is fighting up a weight class and is coming in on short notice, I still have him winning. Phillips is a power puncher, but that’s about it. His cardio is iffy and his takedown defense is abysmal. I see Chimaev taking this fight to the mat out of the gate and eventually securing a fight ending submission.
145 lbs.: Ricardo Ramos vs. Lerone Murphy – Ramos is the more UFC experienced fighter and has a distinctive advantage on the ground. Given Murphy had issues in his debut with takedown defense, one might see this as an easy win for Ramos. I disagree. I thought Murphy did well in his debut against a tough wrestler in Zubaira Tukhugov. He was able to get up several times and his striking albeit a limited sample, looked good. On a limb, I’m thinking the takedown defense holds up better this time around. Which will open up the striking to shine and as the fight wanes, Ramos fades and Murray outpoints him to take a split decision.
205 lbs.: Modestas Bukauskas vs. Andreas Michailidis – Not sure what to expect in this one other than first round chaos, with either of them potentisl finishing each other. However, given Bukauskas seems to have a gas tank outside a round, Ive got him winning via TKO.
145 lbs.: Jared Gordon vs. Chris Fishgold – This fight either goes two ways. One, Fishgold per usual comes out like a bat out of hell, stuns Gordon and finishes him via strikes or submission early. Two, Gordon survives said onslaught and his cardio and pace breaks a tired Fishgold. A later finish follows.
While I’m inclined to go Fishgold given Gordon’s suspect chin, I also believe he is in dire need of a victory. Im expecting a grappling heavy approach to avoid as much early punishment as possible. The later the fight goes, the easier it for Gordon to take over. So with that, I’ll say Gordon gets back on track, while weathering and early storm via a late submission victory.
125 lbs.: Diana Belbita vs. Liana Jojua – It’s hard to judge what we’ll see out of Jojua, whom debuted in the UFC at Bantamweight. She looked hesitant on the feet and her takedowns were ok, albeit against a notably easy foe to take down. Belbita on the other hand, showed decent takedown defense, poor striking defense and really good striking volume. The latter part is all I need to Belbita takes this by decision.
135 lbs.: Jack Shore vs. Aaron Phillips – I don’t see this being relatively close. Phillips first foray in the UFC was unsuccessful largely due to his takedown defense. Shore has excellent grappling and has very few issues getting foes to the ground. Once on the ground, his submission prowess is excellent, as he’s submitted seven of his twelve foes. Make it eight.