UFC's Fight Island debut was headed up by three huge title fights, but that wasn't all they brought. Several ranked fighters took to the cage.
A rematch from a championship fight last year landed on UFC 251's PPV card. With neither holding gold, #2 Rose Namajunas returned to the cage for the first time since her shocking loss to #1 Jessica Andrade at UFC 237. The two lived up to the hype that their first fight created, slugging it out on the feet for three rounds. "Thug" Rose Namajunas avenged her 2019 loss with a split decision win that became an instant classic in the strawweight division.
#14 Amanda Ribas came into her fight with Paige Vanzant as a massive favorite. That betting line was founded, as she quickly submitted VanZant with an armbar in the first round. In Ribas' Flyweight debut, she moved to 4-0 in the company, and immediately landed herself in the title conversation.
Jiří Procházka made his UFC debut on the hottest of streaks -- defeating numerous UFC, Bellator and Strikeforce veterans in RIZIN en route to the Light Heavyweight Championship. After signing with the UFC, he was thrown right to the wolves in #7 Volkan Oezdemir. That didn't seem to matter to Prochazka, who delivered the first KO ever to Oezdemir in the second round, on his way to making a huge first impression in the UFC.
#14 Raulian Paiva defeated Zhalgas Zhumagulov by unanimous decision, putting himself in a better spot the Flyweight Title picture that looks to take shape more this month. Paiva has now won two fights in 2020. Unfortunately, Paiva monumentally missed weight, coming in several pounds over.
You can see our full, live coverage of UFC 251 from Fight Island at this link, and check out our show recap podcast at this link. Stay tuned to our relaunch of FightfulMMA.com in August, headed up by new Lead MMA Editor Shakuel Mahjouri.