ABU DHABI – The UFC returned to the newly infamous “Fight Island” this weekend with a great night of fights headlined by two title fights ending in the second round.
Adesanya vs. Costa
In the main event, Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya put on a clinic against what many would consider his most dangerous opponent yet in Paulo “Borrachinha” Costa. Adesanya immediately began attacking the lead leg of Costa to slow down the forward movement of the challenger. After much visible damage to the lead leg of “Borrachinha”, Adesanya began throwing head kicks as well. The champion won the first round convincingly after landing clean shots and avoiding almost all shots from the challenger. In the second round, Adesanya continued with the same output and Costa began attempting to get in on the champion. Each time he rushed in, Adesanya made him pay. The last time Costa rushed in, that payment was the chance at the title as “Stylebender” clipped Costa on the ear knocking him down and then finished him with ground-n-pound.
What’s Next for The Fighters?
His next fight will most likely be decided on October 24th after Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier meet in the octagon in the co-main event of Khabib vs. Gaethje. The winner of that co-main will be, barring any crazy circumstances, Adesanya’s next opponent. But I have to be honest… After seeing how easily Adesanya was just able to take out Costa, I don’t know if we will be seeing that belt change hands anytime soon!
I think a fight with the winner of Hermansson and Till is the next step depending on how everything plays out with Whittaker and Cannonier. If Cannonier or Whittaker wins the fight early (taking little damage) and they are able to quickly turn around Adesanya and the winner, and then Hermansson wins in December, then Costa won’t fight Hermansson next. However, if Till wins or if Cannonier and Whittaker have a war that puts the winner of the fight at a longer recovery time, then Costa will very likely get the winner of the Till and Hermansson fight. Either way, Costa has some work to do before getting back to the title.
Blachowicz vs. Reyes
In the co-main event, for the first time since 2011, the UFC crowned a Light Heavyweight champion that was not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier. That champion was Jan Blachowicz after unleashing a devastating left hand on the betting favorite Dominick Reyes. Blachowicz immediately took it to “the Devastator” and landed hard kicks to the body throughout the entire fight leading up to the finish. Reyes had his moments of clean shots landed in parts of the first round, but the tale of the fight was told by Blachowicz’s crisp striking and control of the fight. In the second round, Blachowicz landed a devastating left hand that completely took away Reye’s equilibrium, and finished the fight with some ground-n-pound.
What’s Next for The Fighters?
Barring a return to Light Heavyweight from Jon Jones, which I don’t see happening anytime soon, the next fight for the new champion Jan Blachowicz is the winner of Glover Teixera and Thiago Santos. Either guy would be an incredibly interesting fight for the Light Heavyweight Champion. The Light Heavyweight division is really starting to find their feet now, without Jon Jones looming over the division as the final boss that no one can beat.
I would like to see him fight Jiri Prochazka next. Prochazka entered the UFC with a bang after knocking out the always durable Oezdemir. This would be great matchup for both guys. Reyes can work his way right back to the being one fight away from the title with a win, and Prochazka can catapult to contendership as well with a win over Reyes.
Kara-France vs. Royval
In this premier flyweight fight, a crazy back and forth battle ensued. In the first round, Kara-France landed some devastating shots that rocked Royval. After being rocked, Royval answered back with a devastating spinning elbow that rocked Kara-France. The fight then ended up on the ground where Royval’s unbelievable jiu-jitsu kept Kai Kara-France constantly on the defensive. Brandon Royval almost locked in a gogoplata and then an omoplata but was unsuccessful before the round concluded. Then quickly into the second round, Kara-France went for a takedown and Royval grabbed onto a guillotine that he used to ultimately finish the fight.
What’s Next for the Fighters?
The perfect fight to make now is Askarov vs. Royval. Askarov is coming off of a good win over Pantoja and a fight with Royval could catapult either guy into title contention. The winner of Moreno and Perez will most likely get the next title shot after Garbrandt vs. Figueiredo takes place. However, the winner of an Askarov and Royval fight would for sure be a title eliminator and put either guy one fight away from the title shot.
Jussier Formiga vs. Kai Kara-France is the next fight to make. Both are coming off of losses to top competition and have had trouble against the best the Flyweight division has to offer. This fight would push the winner back into matchups with the top of the division and get a victory under one of these guy’s belts.
Vieira vs. Eubanks
In this premier Women’s Bantamweight fight, Ketlen Vieira took on Ultimate Fighter Champion Sijara Eubanks in a very impressive performance from the former. Vieira was able to control the fight on the feet and outgrapple “Sarj” to earn herself a clear unanimous decision victory.
Dawodu vs. Tukhugov
In the opener of the main card we saw Hakeem Dawodu attempt at getting into the rankings with a fight against Zubaira Tukhugov. The fight was a very close slugfest with one judge giving it to Tukhugov 2 rounds to 1, but Dawodu was able to pull off the split decision victory over the seven-fight UFC veteran.
Israel Adesanya def. Paulo Costa via TKO in Round 2 (3:59)
Jan Blachowicz def. Dominick Reyes via TKO in Round 2 (4:36)
Brandon Royval def. Kai Kara France via Guillotine Choke Submission in round 2 (0:48)
Ketlen Vieira def. Sijara Eubanks via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Hakeem Dawodu def. Zubaira Tukhugov via Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Brad Riddell def. Alex Da Silva via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jake Matthews def. Diego Sanchez via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Ludovit Klein def. Shane Young via TKO in Round 1 (1:16)
William Knight def. Aleksa Camur via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Juan Espino def. Jeff Hughes via Scarf Hold Choke Submission in Round 1 (3:48)
Danilo Marques def. Khadis Ibragimov via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)