What the hell happened at UFC Fight Island 2?!

Greetings, fight fans! And despite my cheery greeting, I am actually quite bummed out, and one of my favorite fighters was likely put out to pasture as a title contender. The third of four planned events to take place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, also known as 'Fight Island,' we finally got an event that lived up to Abu Dhabi's rich history in the grappling community, resulting in five submissions, each by a different technique. It was also a pretty good night for underdogs, as we experienced a wide range of upsets throughout the entire card. Overall it was a pretty solid card to end a busy fight week, so let's get down to what the hell happened!

MMA Legend B.J. Penn & Boxer Tommy Fury Offer To Fight Jake Paul Next

The Main Card

Benavidez is still the bridesmaid, Figueiredo claims vacant title in do-over

UFC Flyweight Championship
#1 Deiveson Figueiredo def. #2 Joseph Benavidez by submission via rear naked choke (4:48, R1)

What happened?: Figueiredo delivered a one-sided beatdown to the perennial top flyweight, finally finishing him off with a rear-naked choke late into round one, becoming the first man to submit him.

How did that happen?: Although much was made of the effect the clash of heads in their first fight had on the finish by fans and pundits alike, for many I don't think it got too far in the way of what was clear all around the incident: that Figueiredo was the younger, bigger, stronger, spryer athlete with more power in his striking. It's normally unfamiliar territory for Benavidez to be at a deficit in all of those areas, and although you won't find many arguing that he didn't win the first round in their initial fight, there was also the feeling that the way the fight was playing out portended a scenario where Figueiredo's durability, power, and willingness to stand his ground in the pocket could be dangerous for the former Team Alpha Male standout.

This fight picked right up where the previous one left off, and although once again Benavidez proved able to outland Figueiredo at range, the difference in power was even more pronounced, which led to a much more dominant affair. I think there were a few factors that led to the acceleration of Figueiredo's efficacy, and I don't think any of them really center around him improving. That's not a knock on him; it's more of an indicator that he didn't really need to improve to do what he did tonight. Physically, Benavidez actually looked worse than the first time; it was mentioned on commentary that he looked like he lost some size since the last fight, and that it was probably to gain more speed. However, he didn't look any faster than he did prior, and there definitely seemed to be a bit of a decline in his reflexes as well as his durability in the pocket. It's possible that the last knockout loss was the one that did a number on his chin, and it just won't be the same from here on out. Mentally, he appeared a bit more hesitant to close the distance as much, which is likely a result of not wanting to replicate the clash of heads from the first fight. That put him at a bit of a catch 22, because crashing into the pocket is historically how Benavidez was able to find success there despite almost always being shorter and having much shorter arms than his opponents. Playing a far to mid-range striking game cripples a lot of his most effective tools on the feet, as well as prevents some of his trickier wrestling transitions. These things allowed a Figueiredo who already had several advantages coming into the fight to have even more of them.

There wasn't a lot of time for this to play out though. About 45 seconds in, Benavidez threw a pretty telegraphed low kick with no setup and was met with a sweeping right hook counter that caught him right on the temple and dropped him on his seat.

Not a great way to start the fight.

Figueiredo wasted no time getting on top and landing hard elbows, causing Benavidez to give up his back. Figueiredo locked in a right rear-naked choke from there, and Benavidez just managed to grit it out long enough for the Brazilian to release his grip, only to reapply the choke seconds later. This time Benavidez managed to break the grip himself, but soon found himself in yet another rear-naked choke that he miraculously survived and managed to get to his feet following. Withstanding that early onslaught looked as if it could potentially be a good thing for Benavidez given how much effort Figueiredo put in, but just as he starting to find a groove again, a left shovel hook dropped him to a knee briefly and put Benavidez back on the defensive. It wasn't long before another big overhand right dropped him once more, and this time Figueiredo jumped right into mount for more hard elbows that bloodied the Las Cruces, New Mexico native. Benavidez gave up his back yet again, and Figueiredo locked in a fourth rear-naked choke, stretching and twisting Benavidez's body as he wrenched the choke. The fourth time proved to be a charm, and Benavidez soon went unconscious, prompting the (slightly late) referee stoppage.

What struck me about both of these fights was just how unable Benavidez was to get away with certain things that may be inadvisable, but were nonetheless integral to his success throughout his career. The clash of head in their first fight was essentially a product of him doing what he's basically always done to close the distance: lowering his head, charging forward, and throwing hooks. It's not something you'd instruct your fighter to do as a coach, but it worked for Benavidez because most of the times his opponents would respond by moving away or angling off. Figueiredo has a confidence in his power and durability that's rare even for a division where knockout power isn't plentiful, so he had no problem just meeting Benavidez in the pocket by hunkering down and bracing for impact. That's an uncommon response, and the reason butting heads had never been a problem for Benavidez until that fight. On the ground, we all knew Benavidez as one of the very best scramblers in the division, if not the best. One may critique how much he gave up his back in this fight against an opponent pretty intent on locking in a rear-naked choke, but giving up position to create scrambles is what he's done his entire career and until tonight he's excelled at it. In fact, it's a staple of Team Alpha Male, as Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes previously had a lot of success doing the same thing. Like the rest of them, Benavidez is so well-trained and wily on the ground that he's generally not too worried about what his opponent will do to him in grappling exchanges. Whether it's because Figueiredo is really just a cut above the rest, because Benavidez has lost a significant step, or a combination of both, the style that brought Benavidez a lot of success has led to a steep downfall in his last two fights.

Other thoughts?: After five failed title bids in major promotions, four of those in the UFC, it looks like this is it for Benavidez as a title contender. For a short time it looked like his career-long curse of being good enough to be everyone except the current or future champion had come to an end when Henry Cejudo vacated the flyweight title, but Figueiredo proved once again that there is always someone lurking close by in the division to take the spot many had thought he was destined for. It happened in the WEC with Dominick Cruz, in the early days of the UFC flyweight division with Demetrious Johnson, and now with Figueiredo; as great as he is and has been for essentially his entire career, Benavidez just isn't meant to be a champion. A couple missteps aside, Figueiredo on the other hand, clearly is. It remains to be seen if making 125 will be an issue for him, but if not it's tough to see him being beaten in the division anytime soon. It's notable that it wasn't that long ago that he lost to Jussier Formiga, but that's a fight that he'd be highly favor to win today, and might have just been the bad performance that caused him to turn things around. He may just be the next dominant champ at 125 lbs.

Next for Figueiredo: Brandon Moreno, who should probably be on a four-fight win streak right now, makes the most sense and is next up in the rankings behind Benavidez. There could be a case for Alex Perez as well after his recent, dominant win over Formiga as well. Between those two and Benavidez, apparently beating the last man to beat the Figueiredo goes a long away. Alternatively Askar Askarov earned a breakout win over the previously fourth ranked Alexandre Pantoja, but I'd put the others ahead of him.

Next for Benavidez: My gut reaction was that maybe he should consider retirement since there isn't really anything left for him to do if he can't win a title, but he's still a guy who has shown the ability to beat everyone who wasn't a current or future champion. That may or may not be the case anymore, but he should be able to prove it either way. In the post-fight presser he acknowledged that it was his last shot at a title (he actually thought the first fight would be), but he doesn't want to go out losing a title fight, so while he doesn't think he'll beat another list of contenders on the road to another title shot, he does want to continue fighting. I think Pantoja would be the best pairing for him.

Hermansson heel hook shocks Gastelum early

#6 Jack Hermansson def. #7 Kelvin Gastelum by submission via heel hook (1:18, R1)

What happened?: Gastelum took the fight to the ground and was promptly heel hooked for his troubles.

How did that happen?: Things started out well enough for the former title challenger; he was pressuring right off the bat, which was a good move for him considering how much he struggles against rangy strikers, and how many issues Hermansson has with southpaws. Hermansson quickly seized an opportunity grab an over-under clinch and drive through for an outside trip takedown, but Gastelum scouted it perfectly and whipped him to the ground with a beautiful lateral drop into half guard. He stayed heavy on top but Hermansson immediately worked for a leg lock that Gastelum was quick to stand and limp-leg out of before settling right back into the guard. Hermansson wasted no time using what space he had to roll under for another leg lock, and this time it was much more secure. Gastelum was unable to limp-leg out, and instead toppled over and tried to roll with the lock. On commentary Michael Bisping advised that Gastelum needed to "kick on the butt" to escape; basically use his free foot to push himself out of the hold, and I myself wondered why Gastelum didn't employ a pretty basic defense for leg locks. However, upon re-watching the sequence, that may have just been due to some excellent work from Hermansson hooking his left leg behind Gastelum's free leg. This not only allowed him to trip Gastelum to the ground when he tried to limp-leg out, but keeping the leg positioning hampered Gastelum's mobility, making it more difficult for him to position that leg to push out or push off of to roll with the leg lock. I initially thought part of the submission's success was due to Gastelum's tendency to get lax with his grappling defense at times (to the point of seeming overconfidence), but it was pretty slick stuff from "Joker," and an emphatic win to propel him back into the contendership conversation.

Other thoughts?: Gastelum said he came into this fight with a larger sense of tranquility than he's ever had; maybe a little less of that would have served him well. As great as Hermansson looked in that ending sequence, there was still a sense that Gastelum lacked a bit of urgency in trying to escape that cost him dearly. It was a great finish, but part of me wishes we got a longer fight just to see how these two really matched up. They both have so many strengths that match the other's weaknesses that it would've been interesting to see who had the edge in a more extended battle.

Next for Hermansson: Well he seemed to have it all figured out in his post-fight interview, giving himself the winner of the upcoming Robert Whittaker vs Darren Till clash and throwing in Jared Cannonier (who defeated him in his last fight) as the #1 contender behind Paulo Costa, who is fighting the champion Israel Adesanya next. I see it a bit differently, and would rather give Hermansson the loser of Whittaker vs Till or Yoel Romero, as Cannonier hasn't been active since the win over Hermansson and should get a higher ranked win under his belt.

Next for Gastelum: After his third-straight defeat, it's time for some downsizing; figuratively for sure, maybe literally. Figuratively speaking, his next opponent should not be in the top 10; Brad Tavares, if he's healthy. If we're speaking literally, Gastelum has never been a full-sized middleweight, but instead a big welterweight that seemingly lacks the discipline to get his diet in order and make the weight. He always looked like a potential contender at 170 lbs, but unfortunately these years at 185 may have hampered his ability to drop the weight comfortably regardless, and it'd probably have an effect on his performance. We've seen it before with boxers and MMA fighters who move up in weight, then move back down and can't find the success they once had.

Fiziev outduels Diakese in thrilling kickboxing affair

Rafael Fiziev def. Marc Diakiese by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

What happened?: In a fight that was largely back-and-forth, Fiziev's harder, cleaner shots, defensive wrestling, and improved distance management clearly won the day.

How did that happen?: To put it simply, Fiziev was just the better striker. Diakese's more patient, tactical approach to fighting that he's adopted fairly recently proved to be ineffective against someone with the technical acumen and speed to outwork him at far and mid-distance, and Diakese wasn't ready for the different feints and looks Fiziev gave him while pressuring. It was an odd fight because while it could be described as a clear, some might even say dominant win for Fiziev, Diakese landed plenty in his own right and wasn't really overwhelmed at any time. Diakese began the fight with some calf kicks that appeared to bother Fiziev, but it wasn't long before the Kyrgyz kickboxer began launching impressively quick and hard body kicks that definitely got Diakese's attention, as well as hooks to the body in head as he applied some heavy pressure. The body attack was mostly the story of the first round for Fiziev, and in round two he began to employ many more low kicks as Diakese started to find his range with straight punches and elbows in exchanges and some nice shots to the body. Sensing that he might have been down on the scorecards, Diakese opened up with his hands even more in the final round, but Fiziev just upped his attack to the body even more, almost landing as many body shots in the round than he did in the first two combined. It was another round where Diakese was by no means blown out of the water, but when you watched the action you could clearly see who was in control of the fight, and whose offense meant more. By the end, it was very evident who won the fight, even if Diakese managed to get his licks in throughout.

This fight showed just how important the visual context is to the story of a fight. If you were to just look at the stats, this was a very close fight, and one you could pretty feasibly give to Diakese. He landed a decent amount more head strikes in rounds two and three (and overall), and the strike totals in general were very close with the exception of body shots. However, in watching the fight it was clear that Fiziev's strikes were having a greater effect on Diakese than the other way around, and it was Fiziev who controlled the flow of the fight while landing those shots. Diakese definitely landed in exchanges, but you still came out of most of them feeling that Fiziev got the better of the action.

Other thoughts?: Fiziev came into the UFC with a decent amount of hype on the strength of his flashy and dangerous striking that led to some some impressive finishes, and in this fight he finally showed in the UFC why that hype existed. When he's on, the man is a buzzsaw on the feet and just plain fun to watch. Perhaps the most talked about thing in the match up would be Fiziev's "Matrix dodging" of high kicks, which he pulled off in the first and second rounds. The second instance was especially impressive, as he managed to completely dodge the kick bending almost 90 degrees backwards, and still having the wherewithal to reset and land a hard counter low kick in response.

Fiziev entered the matrix that night.

It's something that if you've followed Fiziev you'd know he's been doing it since his kickboxing days, and it's still pretty insane to watch. If this version of Fiziev is what we're getting from now on, consider my interest piqued.

And it wasn't the first time.

Next for Fiziev: I think with this performance, Fiziev needs a decent step up in competition that could potentially get him into the top 15. Beneil Dariush and Scott Holtzman are scheduled to fight in August, and Fiziev could take on the winner of that fight. Drew Dober would also make for a fun top 15 fight.

Next for Diakese: Just when it looked like he was starting to find his groove, Diakese was taken apart at his own game. He shouldn't fall far after this loss, but it's actually difficult to place him with someone around his level that he hasn't already fought. Stevie Ray might be choice to make.

Lipski lives up to her "Violence Queen" moniker, destroys Carolina's knee

Ariane Lipski def. Luana Carolina by submission via knee bar (1:28, R1)

What happened?: Lipski took advantage of an awkward position on the ground to lock in a nasty kneebar.

How did that happen?: I knew coming in that the fight was going to be a messy one that ended in a Lipski victory, but I was at least expecting an extended mess that played out mostly on the feet. Lipski came out of the gate aggressively looking to brawl, and within seconds caught an off-balance Carolina with a straight right to the body that put her on her butt. Lipski settled into her guard, staying tight on top before opting to posture up to land punches. Carolina used the opportunity to roll for a heel hook, and Lipski sat back to stifle it, giving up her back in the process. Her leg was still locked up from the heel hook attempt, so Carolina actually had her in a potential calf slicer position, but didn't have the figure-four positioning with her legs to apply more pressure to Lipski's trapped leg. Lipski used that opportunity to grab hold of Carolina's free leg, adjust its angle so it's parallel with her own body, and since Carolina had no actual control over her body she was able to easily use her hips as a fulcrum to pull back and hyperextend the leg, which unleashed a pretty unsettling scream from Carolina, who laid on the canvas agonizing for quite a few moments after the stoppage.

Other thoughts?: Besides just being happy that Lipski finally provided some notable violence in the octagon and got an impressive victory, I also just feel bad for Carolina. She'll likely have to be out for a while, and it happened so fast and brutally that she didn't have much opportunity to tap quicker to avoid more damage, which is unfortunately the case a lot of times for leg locks. After experience two of them on the main card, it might be time for people to start brushing up a bit extra on their leg lock defense. Of course overall, it's just a solid win for Lipski, who has picked up back-to-back wins since dropping her first two UFC bouts.

Next for Lipski: As emphatic as this victory was, I don't think it's reason to push Lipski along too quickly. She still has a good deal of work to do if she's going to make her way into the rankings. I think a fight with Sabina Mazo would end up an entertaining striking battle, especially since they're both carry such different mentalities on the feet.

Next for Carolina: As mentioned, probably a bit of a layoff. She really didn't get a chance to show anything here. Of course it all depends on the timetable for her return, but I think the loser of Nadia Kassem vs Miranda Granger or Diana Belbita would work.

Askarov withstands early storm, outlasts Pantoja

#7 Askar Askarov def. #4 Alexandre Pantoja by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

What happened?: Pantoja started out aggressive, but the patience and attritive wrestling of Askarov took over in the end.

How did that happen?: Pantoja had the right idea, and it was a good path to victory for him: take the fight to Askarov. Pantoja is generally an aggressive fighter, and Askarov often seeks to use his wrestling to slow things down. What Pantoja needed to do was to keep the attack coming whether on the feet or on the ground, and he did exactly that, aggressively seeking striking exchanges and submissions throughout. This made for some entertaining scrambles in the opening around, including one late where Pantoja managed to slickly take Askarov's back and hunt for a rear-naked choke until the horn. Ultimately, Pantoja just couldn't keep that pace going. In the second round, he tried to let his hands go, but Askarov's constant takedown attempts started to wear on him. Whenever they'd separate Pantoja would be the more effective striker, but Askarov spent a lot of the round stifling him with takedown attempts and just exercising his control in the clinch. The final round was easier to call, as Askarov probably sensed his opponent was exhausted at this point and opted to stand with him most of the round. Pantoka focused more of his attack on punches to the body, likely to combat the wrestling entries of Askarov, but fatigue and wariness of the wrestling just took a lot of the steam out of him, and there were stretches of the round where both men essentially stared at each other from range. The second round was a close one depending on whether or not you favor damage or control, but all three judges sided with Askarov.

Other thoughts?: Some treated this fight as a #1 contender's bout, including Ariel Helwani, who came away from it pretty assuredly indicating that Askarov should be next in line for the title. Honestly, I wasn't incredibly impressed with either men here. Pantoja looked good early, but didn't have the gas tank to sustain a pace he set (the Tim Elliott special), and until Pantoja gassed, Askarov didn't really show much outside of just being able to constantly shoot for takedowns. At that, he only went 2 for 15, and Pantoja historically isn't the hardest guy to take down by any means. I can't imagine his gameplan for this fight having much success against Figueiredo.

This was one of those types of fights I don't enjoy scoring; one fighter largely has the more effective striking, but has too few opportunities to display it because his opponent constantly slows down the action with purely stifling clinch work and takedown attempts. I'm sure a lot of people would think so, but this is not the same as what Kamaru Usman did at UFC 251; Usman constantly attacks in the clinch and stays busy. Askarov offers very little in terms of clinch striking, and sticks completely to positional work. Because of the amount of control, a lot of times you have to give it to the clinch-heavy fighter unless their opponent has a big moment negates all of that control. Pantoja didn't have quite enough moments in round two, so Askarov skated by. A win is a win, but this was not one that inspires confidence in Askarov as a contender.

Next for Askarov: If anything Brandon Moreno deserves the next title shot over Askarov. If the UFC wants to get an actual contender fight going to determine the next challenger, an Askarov vs Moreno rematch sounds the right way to go. Their initial fight ended in a split draw, but the prevailing opinion was that Moreno deserved the decision. In fact, looking at MMA Decisions, 12 of 13 media outlets and almost 80% of fans scored the fight for him. If the rematch is off the table, he an fight Alex Perez to determine who is after Moreno.

Next for Pantoja: As mentioned earlier, Benavidez is probably the best fight for him next.

The Prelims

Roman Dolidze def. Khadis Ibragimov by TKO via strikes (4:15, R1)

Dolidze is a bit of a wild man and relatively raw, but he showed in this fight what he's shown in several others: that he hits hard. He also showed some solid instincts and diversity of striking. The finish came when Dolidze switched to southpaw, and Ibragimov immediately went to throw a wide overhand right as Dolidze threw a high kick. Ibragimov basically drove his head right into Dolidze's knee, and immediately went down on all fours, where Dolidze finished him off with right hands that weren't all that necessary since that kick essentially did him in. A great UFC debut for Dolidze, though of course I'll temper my expectations because 1) It's light heavyweight, 2) Ibragimov hasn't shown to be very good, and 3) It's light heavyweight.

Grant Dawson def. Nad Narimani by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)

I was very impressed with Dawson here, because I thought Narimani could give him a good amount of trouble or even score the win, and he ended up being outclassed the whole way. He easily outstruck him at range, took the fight to the ground in the first couple rounds, and dominated the grappling exchanges, even earning a 10-8 second round on two scorecards. He was disappointed about not achieving the finish, but the composure, pace, and diversity of attack he showed here was definitely laudable and something the rest of the division to look out for.

Joel Alvarez def. Joe Duffy by submission via guillotine choke (2:25, R1)

And just like that, the once-fangled "last man to defeat Conor McGregor" rides off into the sunset. This one was looking to be a crackling affair before the sudden finish, with both men landing punishing low kicks to one another early. As Alvarez started to get the better of the low kick battle, Duffy opened up and began to land some punches up top. Apparently having had enough of the low kicks, Duffy shot in for a nicely timed takedown and got it, but left his neck out there for Alvarez to grab, and grab he did. Duffy briefly tried to fight the grip, but it wasn't long before he was forced to tap. Following the loss, Duffy took to social media to announce his retirement from MMA, which doesn't really come as a surprise at all given the rough time he's had for the last few years. In retrospect this performance from him also looked like one of those "last hurrah" types that he wasn't fully focused for, which is not to take any credit away from Alvarez, who looked good throughout the fight. On the plus side for Duffy, at least he still has claim to being the man to defeat McGregor the fastest!

Brett Johns def. Montel Jackson by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

This was another case of a fighter who just couldn't keep up with his opponent's wrestling attack, and another fight where control took precedence over damage. Jackson took the first round clearly on the strength of a late round knockdown via a flush straight left, but that was the most damage done the whole fight. He was consistently able to get the better of the striking, but those exchanges were far and few between compared to the relentless wrestling of Johns, who landed 8 of 19 takedown attempts. He found himself constantly on the defensive, either trying to stop takedowns or trying to get back to his feet. He ended the fight on top after escaping a close guillotine attempt, but the damage (or lack there of) had already been done. It wasn't the most rousing win by any means, but one that Johns needed to keep his momentum going and regain the status he had in the division before running into Aljamain Sterling and Pedro Munhoz.

Amir Albazi def. Malcom Gordon by submission via triangle choke (4:42, R1)

I was actually surprised to hear the UFC hadn't had a triangle choke finish in 2020 until this fight. These two started out fast and furious in the stand up, but with both men being adept on the ground it was a matter of time before Albazi timed a single takedown underneath a Gordon right hand and took the fight to the mat. Albazi stood to let Gordon up, but it was apparently a ploy for him to barrel him right back to the ground and take his back, and it almost worked, but he had to settle for half guard. Eventually Gordon managed to sweep to top position, but Albazi managed to set up a triangle in the middle of the transition, and in short order he adjusted it and locked it in for the tap. Impressive work by Albazi to see the opportunity in the scramble to facilitate the finish.

Arman Tsarukyan def. Davi Ramos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Still at only 23 years of age, Tsarukyan continues to impress and look like he has the makings of a future contender at 155 lbs. From his debut where he gave Islam Makhachev an extremely tough fight in defeat, to his dominant decision over Olivier Aubin-Mercier, to a similarly dominant win over a tough and actually improved version of Ramos, he just shows all the tools that can make for an elite fighter down the line. He vastly outclassed Ramos on the feet with his sharp striking, and when things went to the ground he was more than ready for Ramos' elite BJJ. It might be time to test him against a top 15 fighter at this point.

Tsarukyan is a special talent.

As mentioned about Ramos, he did look improved. His striking still needs work but it's looking sharper, and his cardio definitely improved since he was able to go pretty hard for all three rounds.

Serghei Spivac def. Carlos Felipe by majority decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27)

In the opener, Spivac showed some improved striking both offensively and defensively in besting a slugger in Felipe, but still showed why it's always in his best interest to take the fight to the ground. Once he managed to work his takedowns in the final round, it was wholesale dominance and he mauled a tough Felipe to 10-8s across the board. The first two rounds consisted of Spivac just being the cleaner striker on the feet and displaying some pretty tight defense in response to Felipe's heavy punches. Felipe meanwhile spent a bit too much time mugging and letting everyone know that Spivac's strikes weren't fazing him than actually being effective offensively. The judging was relatively solid for most of the event, but of course we had to have that one fight. Thankfully the right man won, but the fact that one judge gave Felipe the first two rounds is pretty ridiculous, and proof that there are still judges who see a guy moving forward and assume he's winning. Even the fact that the other two judges gave Felipe a round and couldn't agree on which he won is pretty troubling, because it should have been clear who was winning this fight. The judging put out the idea that Spivac could have gone into the third round needing a finish to win after outworking his opponent for the better part of 10 minutes.

And thus we reach the conclusion of our UFC Fight Island 2 recap! The flyweight division now once again has a champion, and an impressive looking one at that. It was also just another teacher of the lesson that MMA seldom produces fairytale endings, and especially not at a high level. Whatever the case, we leave this event with a clearer picture of the flyweight and middleweight divisions,a couple of exciting prospects, and honestly not a ton else. Which is fine, because the card was still enjoyable. But onward and upward, as next week Robert Whittaker and Darren Till clash on, you guessed it...Fight Island! Until then, sado out!

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