UFC continued its stay at “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates last night (July 15, 2020) for UFC on ESPN 13. The second of four events was likely the weakest overall, but it did feature a Featherweight firefight in the main event, as well as a solid mix of international talent throughout the card.
Let’s take a closer look at the slickest techniques and best performances of the night:
Jab Rules The Night
Calvin Kattar picked Dan Ige apart.
Ige fought gamely. His lateral movement and explosive timing were on point, as he managed to walk Kattar into some real heavy shots. Even as the damage against him added up, Ige never stopped trying to fire back and land his looping punches. Similarly, the takedown never materialized, but Ige tried damn hard for it.
Credit to the Hawaiian for his grit, but Kattar wasn’t going to be denied. He worked to establish the jab from the beginning of the fight, and before long, his combinations were flowing. Kattar can really step into his right hand beautifully, and when he follows it up with a left uppercut/left liver shot, he looks like a professional boxer.
Later in the fight, both men were a bit more worn down. Kattar’s jab continued to find a home, often aided by Ige’s own forward movement. Rather than set up further punches, Kattar also used the jab to set up his low kicks, which really helped in slowing Ige further and preventing any haymakers from landing.
It was clinical work from “Boston Finisher,” who presents a strong case for himself as a title threat.
Khamzat Chimaev completely Khabib’d John Phillips in his UFC debut (watch highlights).
The 26-year-old Swede apparently had compared himself to the Dagestani champion in the lead up to the fight, and damn if he didn’t deliver! Almost literally from the first bell until the final taps, Chimaev was in top position. He controlled the wrist largely with ease, using that free hand to relentlessly bloody up his opponent’s face.
The second-round d’arce choke was really something of a mercy strangle, as Phillps landed roughly a single strike in the whole bout. Aside from being a pretty perfect debut, it was also a reminder of wrestling’s potential for dominance. Phillips is a longtime veteran, but he was absolutely helpless beneath the young prospect.
It did not look fun.
A Featherweight To Watch
Lerone Murphy technically picked up his first UFC win last night (watch highlights), but the English prospect impressed in both of his UFC fights, the first being a draw opposite Zubaira Tukhugov.
Ramos came out firing, attacking with long range kicks and flashy strikes. He nearly took the back early, ducking a punch and wrapping up the back clinch. However, Murphy dealt with all the offense well, remaining composed and firing back with straight shots down the middle.
The finish was an unexpected one, as Murphy flipped the script by taking down the jiu-jitsu black belt in the final minute of the round. Ramos looked nonplussed, but out of nowhere a huge elbow flash knocked the Brazilian out. He was able to wake up momentarily, but Murphy put him down for good with a pretty brutal series of strikes.
The 28-year-old Manchester-native looks the part of a top prospect, well-rounded with real athleticism and great finishing instincts.
- Modestas Bukauskas defeats Andreas Michailidis via first-round knockout (watch highlights): This was a strange one. The two European kickboxers traded solid punches and low kicks at a fun clip for most of the first round. Michailidis tried to snag the first round with a late takedown, but Bukauskas countered with a hard series of elbows. Were they legal? That’s a matter of some debate, but either way, Michailidis was stumbling after the bell, and the referee quickly called the bout.
- Liana Jojua defeats Diana Belbita via first-round armbar (watch highlights): In women’s MMA, it’s imperative to be careful within the guard. These athletes are damn flexible, and that makes high guard submissions far more effective! In the case of Belbita, she was doing well early, landing good punches and then scoring a takedown. However, once on the mat, she broke the jiu-jitsu rule of “T-Rex arms,” extending her elbows past the belly button to tie up the head. Jojua immediately begin climbing her legs up the back, and Belbita failed to adjust. Moments later, the arm was trapped, and the elbow hyper-extended.
- Jack Shore defeats Aaron Phillips via second-round rear naked choke (watch highlights): Shore entered this bout as the biggest favorite on the card, and he performed like it. Outside of a couple decent body kicks and some good takedown defense from Phillips, Shore was in complete control. He established the jab then timed the takedown well, wearing his foe down with constant wrestling and strikes from top position. When Phillips tried to explode to his feet in the second, Shore jumped his back perfectly, locking up the submission not long afterward.
For complete UFC on ESPN 13 “Kattar vs. Ige” results and play-by-play, click HERE!