UFC continued its stay at “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, last night (Sat., July 18, 2020) for UFC Fight Island 2. As with Wednesday’s event, the night showcased various international talent that has largely been quarantined outside of the United States. However, there was also a belt on the line, as Flyweight sluggers Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo squared off once again (watch highlights).
Let’s take a closer look at the slickest techniques and best performances of the night:
Deuss De Guerra
Deiveson Figueiredo was on fire last night.
Opposite Joseph Benavidez, the Brazilian picked up right where he left off. He seemed to immediately have a sense of his opponent’s timing, walking him into major shots. Benavidez went down hard in the opening minute, surviving mostly through sheer force of will. He went down again and was nearly strangled again. There would be no third miracle, as Figueiredo’s heavy right sent Benavidez down a final time in the last minute of the round, and this time Figueiredo’s rear naked choke ended the bout cleanly.
It’s hard to imagine a better performance from Figueiredo, who looked as violent as promised. Assuming his weight is no longer an issue, “Daico” is set to be an exciting champion at Flyweight, one who helps build some stability at 125 lbs. Figueiredo goes for the kill and hits ruthlessly hard — I cannot imagine anyone watching his fights and labeling that savage “boring.”
Who Predicted That?
There were reasons to believe that Jack Hermansson would defeat Kelvin Gastelum last night. After all, Hermansson was quite a bit bigger than the former Welterweight, and he was generally considered to be the superior grappler. Hermansson submitting Gastelum on its own was not a shocking outcome (watch highlights).
However, everything about the fight itself was surprising. Hermansson was the only one who really landed any strikes on the feet! Then, when the two met in the clinch, it was Gastelum who sent his foe sailing threw the air with a sacrifice throw! Finally, Hermansson threw up a heel hook from his back, and — against all historic odds — secured the tap!
I don’t know what we learned really, but it’s a huge victory for “Joker,” who is back in the title mix. Meanwhile, now that Gastelum has extended his losing streak to three, one has to wonder where he goes from here. Can Gastelum recover and break back into the mix at 185 lbs.? Does he try to beg his way back to Welterweight?
We’ll have to wait and see.
Joe Duffy ...
When Joe Duffy joined UFC’s roster back in 2015, he was more than just the guy with a win over Conor McGregor. Indeed, 12-1 with lots of finishes on his record, Duffy seemed to have all the makings of a contender. “Irish Joe” possessed sharp boxing with legitimate power, and his ground skills were very proven.
His first two UFC fights lasted less than five minutes.
Flash-forward a few years, and Duffee is riding a three-fight losing streak, and it’s still not exactly clear what’s wrong. The skills are still there. At 32 years of age, he doesn’t seem to have fallen off the athletic cliff. Somehow, Duffee just doesn’t look dangerous anymore, and he seems befuddled by the idea that opponents will try to kick him in the leg.
Credit to Joel Alvarez, who did well to fire hard kicks and catch the neck when Duffy dove into a takedown. Still, it just seems like something has fallen apart for Duffy, and we don’t know why?
- Ariane Lipski defeats Luana Carolina via first-round kneebar (HIGHLIGHTS): Two Muay Thai strikers collide, and we somehow end up with a leg lock finish? Somehow, that’s the situation, as Carolina decided to go for a heel hook after getting knocked to her butt by a body shot. She transitioned into a calf slicer, but Carolina didn’t seem to know how to finish the move properly. When she hung out in that leg entanglement for too long, Lipski grabbed her opponents leg and yanked on it! Neither leg attack was particularly technical, but it was a quality reminder that when it comes to leg locks, both fighters always have offense available.
- Roman Dolidze defeats Khadis Ibragimov via first-round knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): Set ups don’t have to be complicated to work. Dolidze circled the cage, switched stances, and kicked his foe in the leg. He did so for most of the first round. Then, Dolidze suddenly went high with a left kick, and his knee connected directly with the jaw! Kick low first then kick high is an ultra simple and foundational striking concept ... because it works!
- Amir Albazi defeats Malcolm Gordon via first-round triangle choke (HIGHLIGHTS): A pair of Flyweights battled at 135 pounds, and we found a new prospect in the process. Albazi looked sharp on the feet, moving and feinting well to set up combinations. On the mat, however, Albazi really shined, outworking his black belt opponent with a smooth takedown and pass into mount. When Gordon bucked and forced his way into top position, he did so directly into a tight triangle choke!
- Arman Tsarukyan defeats Davi Ramos via unanimous decision: Tsarukyan is the real deal! The talented Armenian prospect is just 23 years old, and he was tossed into the deep end of the Lightweight division immediately. This was his best performance yet, as rather than continue to showoff his excellent wrestling skills, Tsarukyan displayed his kickboxing talents. Ramos was game and aggressive, but that only served to lead him into Tsarukyan’s counter punches. Additionally, Tsarukyan did real well tying his punches and kicks together, particularly his quick spinning kick. It was all very impressive!
For complete UFC Fight Island 2: “Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!