Last night (Sat., Oct. 10, 2020), UFC hosted another show on “Fight Island,” remaining inside the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for UFC Fight Island 5. In the main event, Bantamweight kickboxers Cory Sandhagen and Marlon Moraes battled in a pivotal clash with major title implications. The rest of the event was a good mix of action and importance, making for a very fun night of MMA.
Let’s take a closer look at the slickest techniques and best performances:
Ahead of the main event, there was some definite established thoughts about how the fight could play out. A quick Marlon Moraes head kick is a distinct possibility every time “Magic” fights. Alternatively, Sandhagen’s pace and conditioning could help him take over later in the fight. Perhaps the bout would be competitive for all 25 minutes, one of those great main events with several shifts in momentum and big moments for either man.
Nope, 0-3. Very, very few people predicted Sandhagen to walk out and pick Moraes apart from pretty much the first bell. That’s honestly more impressive than the ultra cool spin kick finish — Sandhagen styled on Moraes while he was completely fresh, making the Brazilian miss often while landing at an incredible clip.
No one has ever done that to “Magic.” It was a really incredible performance from Sandhagen, one that really cements his status as a title threat in this division for years to come.
“The Sandman” isn’t going anywhere.
Too Slick For His Own Good
Markus Perez was looking pretty good as the underdog a few minutes into the first round against Dricus Du Plessis. His opponent seemed a bit tense, so Perez took the initiative, walking his opponent down and slamming a few hard kicks into the mid-section. He controlled the center, and he seemed to be feeling the flow of the fight nicely.
Perhaps he felt that flow a bit too much. Du Plessis may have been a touch jittery, but he was still throwing hard punches and landed some decent low kicks of his own. It was far from a blowout on the feet.
When “Stillknocks” stepped into a right hand, Perez attempted to spin into a back elbow counter. It would have been sick if it landed ... but it didn’t. Instead, Du Plessis cracked his foe with a short left hand that Perez ducked directly into, prompting a faceplant onto the mat.
Du Plessis may have been nervous, but he’s a proven finisher. Getting too fancy against that man was not the smart play.
Joaquin Buckley vs. Impa Kasanganay was really an awesome fight.
Buckley debuted on short-notice against Kevin Holland a couple months back, which is no easy task. Though he suffered a knockout loss in the third round, Buckley did impress with his speed, conditioning, and ability to put combinations together. Kasanganay also entered following an impressive debut, though he was victorious and demonstrated his own sharp counter punching.
The recipe for a great fight between Middleweight prospects was there, and the two men lived up to expectations! Buckley struck first, rocking his opponent with extended combinations. Kasanganay kept the pressure on, moving his head and sneaking in power shots of his own.
Buckley was winning heading into the second, but it was still anyone’s fight. Suddenly, one of Buckley’s kicks was caught. He did not attempt to pull away or cover up however. Buckley jumped into a spinning back kick direct to the jaw.
Kasanganay’s eyes rolled back into his skull as he hung frozen in place for an impossibly long time. He never saw the kick coming, and who can blame him? Both men remain bright prospects, but damn if Buckley didn’t just score the year’s best knockout.
- Tom Aspinall defeats Alan Baudot via first-round TKO: As it turns out, there’s a reason the jab is taught as a fundamental rather than the backfist. Baudot went straight to the well with weird sh*t like spinning backfists and back elbows. Aspinall waited for one such strike to miss and advanced behind his foe’s shoulder, landing a trio of right hands in the process. When Baudot turned to face him, Aspinall ducked into an easy double leg and pretty much immediately mounted his foe. Baudot was a Light Heavyweight trapped beneath a 250-pound grappler — the finish came quickly.
- Tom Breese defeats K.B. Bhullar via first-round knockout: How the hell did Breese used to make 170 lbs.? The English boxer looked big and powerful, and he pretty much immediately put on a boxing showcase. Firing the crispest Southpaw jab I’ve seen in quite a while, establishing his range early. Before long, his left hand was landing as well, and Bhullar was landing little outside of the low kick. The newcomer appeared to be in trouble, and sure enough, yet another stiff jab scored for Breese, and this one stunned Bhullar to the point that he fell to his back. It’s a quality win for Breese, who is once again in a good position to start building momentum. When the Birmingham-native is on point, he’s a real dangerous man!
- Chris Daukaus defeats Rodrigo Nascimento via first-round knockout: Daukaus is not the biggest Heavyweight on the roster by any means, but that man still throws bricks. Immediately, it was noticeable just how much of a speed advantage Daukaus held over the Brazilian, as his punches whipped towards the bigger man. Before long, a big step into a left hook caught Nascimento off-guard, sending him to the mat. Daukaus followed up impressively, landing accurate punches on the mat before sealing the deal with another left hook as Nascimento tried to force his way back to his feet.
For complete UFC Fight Island 5: “Moraes vs. Sandhagen” results and play-by-play, click HERE!