Ultimate Fighting Championship is getting ready to stage UFC Fight Island 4 this Saturday night (Oct. 3, 2020) live from inside Flash Forum located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In the headlining act, Holly Holm and Irene Aldana will battle in a title eliminator fight in the women’s Bantamweight division. In other action, Yorgan De Castro takes on fellow heavyweight knockout artist Carlos Felipe, while Germaine de Randamie and Julianna Pena also duke it out in another women’s bantamweight collision.
Holly Holm has accomplished a lot in her mixed martial arts (MMA) career, as well as in boxing where she originally made her name in combat sports. Now, her goal is to retire as UFC champion, something many long for but very few achieve. Of her 11 fights inside the Octagon, five of them have been title fights, tasting UFC gold at UFC 193 after knocking out Ronda Rousey. Since then “The Preacher’s Daughter” has been chasing that high, failing on three occasions. That being said, getting a title shot has never been a problem for Holm — or rather, her management team — so her goal of retiring as champion isn’t out of the realm of possibility. But as she plans her exit strategy — which likely won’t come anytime soon —there are several contenders in the division looking to get their first taste of a title fight including her opponent, Mexican sensation Irene Aldana.
Aldana has been putting in work for some time now, so this title eliminator fight is well-deserved. After battling COVID-19 earlier this year, Aldana is ready to get back on the saddle in an attempt pull off the biggest win — and upset — of her career. She knocked out previously-unbeaten Ketlen Vieira in her previous bout, giving her five wins in her last six UFC fights. The striking battle is her specialty, so she should get plenty of work from Holm, the former pro boxing champion. The prize at the end of the tunnel is a 135-pound title fight against dual-division champion Amanda Nunes, so Aldana is amped and motivated to send Holm back to New Mexico without another title shot.
Let’s be honest, it’s not that good of a card when you really break it down. Aside from a couple of intriguing matchups, overall it is severely lacking. You would think a lot of fighters would be jumping at the chance to go to “Fight Island” seeing as how this might be the last trip the promotion takes out there for a while, unless this COVID-19 mess simply doesn’t clear up soon. On the bright side, UFC 254 is only a few more weeks away!
Original Card vs Actual Card:
A fight between Light Heavyweight contenders Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos was set to co-headline this event but was moved to a later date after Santos tested positive for COVID-19. It was the second time the bout was postponed due to the coronavirus, with Teixeira testing positive a month ago. Nicco Montano was set to face Julia Avila at this event but was forced to withdraw due to travel restrictions. A Lightweight scrap between Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush was scratched from this event for undisclosed reasons. A fight between Tom Breese and Roman Kopylov was scratched after Kopylov had to pull out of the fight, also for undisclosed reasons.
While there weren't any injuries to speak of, Andrei Arlovski was briefly linked to face Tanner Boser on this card before an illness forced him to sit out. As a result, the promotion moved the fight to an event on Nov. 7, 2020.
Cameron Else will be making his UFC debut when he faces Kyler Phillips. They are two names you may not have expected to headline a “Prelims” undercard so soon, but here we are. In his UFC debut, Phillips defeated Gabriel Silva, giving him his seventh win in eight professional attempts. As for Else, he is coming in hot with six straight wins in five different promotions, so the man has been putting in work where he can get it.
Dusko Todorovic will make his official debut after punching his ticket via the “Contender Series.” Undefeated at 9-0, Todorovic has faced and defeated UFC-caliber foes, taking out Michel Pereira in 2018 via first-round knockout. In fact, eight of his nine wins have come by way of stoppage, six in the first round. He’s an exciting prospect that’s already proven he can hang with the big boys. Now is his chance to prove it on the big stage against Dequon Townsend, who could be on his way out of the organization with a loss since he’s lost three in a row.
Jordan Williams is another “Contender Series” alum looking to make a splash in his debut as he takes on fellow UFC newcomer, Nassourdine Imavov, who has won five in a row, all in different organizations. Williams, meanwhile, is coming in with a big win on the “Contender Series” over Gregory Rodriguez.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Carlos Condit will look to get back on track when he takes on Court McGee. Losing his last five, “The Natural Born Killer” is in desperate need of a win, so we will discuss that in much deeper detail in the next segment.
Also throwing down on the undercard of the event are Octagon newcomers Jordan Williams, Cameron Else, Dusko Todovoric and Nassourdine Imavov, who we talked about in the previous section.
Plus, Jinh Yu Frey and Loma Lookboonmee will throw down in women’s Strawweight action. Loma is coming off a loss to Angela Hill, while Frey is looking to get back on track after losing to Kay Hansen. Casey Kenney, meanwhile, will look to make it two wins in a row when he faces off against Heili Alateng. Kenney’s hopes are that he gets a win over Alateng, escapes unscathed and gets booked for another fight on “Fight Island” before he leaves Abu Dhabi. It’s an ambitious task to say the least since Alateng is coming into the fight with four straight wins, including back-to-back victories in his first two UFC fights.
To get a better look at all of those match ups, as well as the rest of the under card action, click here and here.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
There was a time when Carlos Condit was one of the best Welterweights on the planet, as he is the only man to ever hold both the World Extreme Cagefighting Championship (WEC) and UFC Welterweight straps, though it was on an interim basis under the UFC banner. Still, “The Natural Born Killer” was one of the most entertaining fighters in the game, and one you knew would put on a show event after event. Since 2016, however, Condit has sadly looked like a shell of his former self, losing five straight fights with his last win coming in 2015. During that streak, Condit has teased retirement a couple of times but has always come back for more. And that’s just what he will do this weekend when he faces Court McGee. Another loss here could very well spell the end for “The Natural Born Killer” inside the Octagon, and perhaps his MMA career overall. It would be a sad way to see a fan-favorite go out, so he has a lot of people cheering for him to get back in the win column. McGee, however, is as game as they come so he would love nothing more than to break fight fans’ hearts around the world.
Interest Level: 5 of 10
We've already covered the fact that the card is extremely underwhelming, so we won’t harp on that longer than we have to. The main card will feature another women’s 135-pound matchup that will see former women’s Featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie take on Julianna Pena. “Iron Lady” had her five-fight win streak snapped by Amanda Nunes last December, so she is trying got get back in the win column and back on the title hunt. A win over Pena would do the trick. “Venezuelan Vixen” is 5-1 thus far in her UFC career, with her lone loss coming at the hands of current women's Flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko. Pena got back in the win column with a big win over Nicco Montano, but that was over 15 months ago as her comeback from giving birth to her first child was halted after her fight against Aspen Ladd was scrapped this past March due to injury.
Also in main card action, Yorgan de Castro and Carlos Felipe will collide in a Heavyweight tussle. De Castro had his perfect run in MMA snapped by Greg Hardy in his last fight, ending his six-fight win streak. Five of those six wins, unsurprisingly, came by way of stoppage since he hits like a truck and can sleep a baby elephant. Felipe, meanwhile, also had his perfect record snapped at 8-0 in his UFC debut against Sergey Spivak. With six knockout win on his resume, this fight has a great chance to end in a finish.
Again, the event doesn’t look like much on paper, but as we've seen in the past with cards that aren't stacked, it could very well end up surprising all of us once the dust settles.
Enjoy the Fights!
Full Fight Card
UFC Fight Island 4 Main Event:
135 lbs.: Holly Holm vs. Irene Aldana
UFC Fight Island 4 Main Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (10:30 pm ET):
265 lbs.: Yorgan De Castro vs. Carlos Felipe
135 lbs.: Germaine de Randamie vs. Julianna Pena
135 lbs.: Cameron Else vs. Kyler Phillips
185 lbs.: Dusko Todorovic vs. Dequan Townsend
UFC Fight Island 4 ‘Prelims’ Under Card on ESPN+ (7:30 pm ET):
170 lbs.: Carlos Condit vs. Court McGee
145 lbs.: Josh Culibao vs. Charles Jourdain
185 lbs.: Nassourdine Imavov vs. Jordan Williams
115 lbs.: Jinh Yu Frey vs. Loma Lookboonmee
135 lbs.: Heili Alateng vs. Casey Kenney
155 lbs.: Jessin Ayari vs. Luigi Vendramini
***Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to drastic change because of the various global quarantine restrictions.***
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Island 4 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Island 4 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the complete UFC Fight Island 4 fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.