There’s no rest for the weary because Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is right back at it again with a special Wednesday event. Indeed, UFC Fight Island 8 goes down today (Weds., Jan. 20, 2021) inside Etihad Arena on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Chiesa has looked like a man possessed since making the move back up to Welterweight, winning three in a row over legit competition such as Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez and Rafael dos Anjos. Prior to packing on the pounds, “Maverick” had dropped two straight at Lightweight, failing to make weight in his bout against Anthony Pettis. Against Magny, though, he will be facing his toughest challenge to date at 170 pounds.
Magny has also won three straight, including big wins over Li Jingliang and Robbie Lawler. It seems Magny has long been that guy who is right on the cusp of getting over the hump, but comes up just short. If he can take out Chiesa, it will give him him his longest win streak (four) since going on a seven-fight run earlier in his UFC career, which was ultimately snapped by Demian Maia.
Chiesa and Magny are as well-rounded and experienced as they come and have similar fighting styles. That said, something’s got to give. Chiesa is determined to get over the hump himself after competing inside the Octagon for nine years with decent success. But, “Maverick” wants more and he feels his time is now. A win over Magny could be just what he needs to break into the Top 5. As for “The Haitian Sensation,” taking out “Maverick” should also earn him a bump or two up the Welterweight ladder. It’s a tough match up to call since they are fairly even in the talent department. Neither is great at one thing, but pretty good all the way around.
You would’ve thought that after a month off the promotion could have found some nice match ups to fill all of these events, though UFC Fight Island 7 did turn out to be an exciting night of fights. And let’s face it, UFC 257 — which goes down this Saturday (Jan. 23, 2021) — doesn’t exactly scream “must-buy.” Then again, when Conor McGregor — who is fighting for the first time in a year — is headlining it pretty much sells itself. But, this card is severely lacking, though a lot of fights were scrapped because of injuries or COVID-19 — which we will discuss in the next section — so UFC matchmakers had to scramble to fill the voids.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
The original main event was set to feature a Welterweight bout between Khamzat Chimaev and Leon Edwards, which was scrapped for a second time after “Borz” tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the promotion bumped up Magny vs. Chiesa to event headliner. A fight between Jeff Molina and Zarrukh Adashev was scrapped after Molina tested positive for COVID-19. Su Mudaerji — who is currently one a two-fight UFC win streak — agreed to step in.
An intriguing rematch between Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz was linked to go down on this card, but was ultimately moved over to UFC 258. And fight between Tom Breese and Omari Akhmedov was in line to go down last Saturday (Jan. 16, 2020) at UFC Fight Island 7, but was moved to this card as a result of COVID-19.
Natalia Silva was forced out of her scheduled bout against Victoria Leonardo with an injury and was ultimately replaced by Manon Fiorot. Isi Fitikefu was set to battle Dalcha Lungiambula, but was forced out with an injury. He was replaced by UFC veteran, Markus Perez.
Umar Nurmagomedov will finally get his chance to make his Octagon debut after a previous failed attempt when he takes on fellow newcomer, Sergey Morozov. Nurmagomedov —cousin and teammate of Khabib Nurmagomedov — boasts an impressive undefeated record (12-0) and is one of the most highly-touted Bantamweight up-and-comers in the game. Like Khabib, his bread-and-butter is his wrestling, but he has shown he has a great submission game, too. As for Morozov, he is far from a slouch. He is currently on a five-fight win streak — three finishes — and has only tasted defeat once in the last three years. If he can pull off the upset over Nurmagomeodv, he can steal his shine, too.
Undefeated (10-0) Lightweight prospect Mason Jones will get the chance to prove he’s the real deal when he faces Mike Davis in his UFC debut. Jones, 25, has shown a well-rounded attack during his stint with Cage Warriors and is coming off a first round technical knockout win. He has four knockouts, three submission and three decisions wins on his resume, which shows he can get the job done by any means necessary. Davis is 1-1 so far inside the Octagon, with his lone loss coming against current No. 1 Welterweight contender, Gilbert Burns.
Gaetano Pirrello will look to add some more excitement to a shark-filled Featherweight division when he faces off against Ricky Simon. “El Tigre” has won five of his last six with four knockouts to his credit during that span. He has only gone to decision twice in his decade-long career, so it’s either kill or be killed when it comes to his mentality.
“Contender Series” alum Victoria Leonardo will make her official UFC debut when she takes on fellow newcomer, Manon Fiorot, in women’s Flyweight action. Fiorot is 5-1 so far in her young professional MMA career, while Leonardo has racked up an impressive 8-2 mark in her two years as a pro.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Let’s keep it real, the “Prelims” — and the entire card, really — is nothing to get overly-excited about. Omari Akhemedov will look to get back on track after having his five-fight win streak snapped by Chris Weidman. He will have another tough matchup against Tom Breese, who is coming off a technical knockout win over K.B. Bhullar. Ricky Simon looks to earn back-to-back wins for the first time in a long time when he faces off against Gaetano Pirrello, a dangerous knockout artist who will be making his UFC debut on short notice.
Francisco Figueiredo — brother of current Flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo — will be making his debut on the undercard when he battles Jerome Rivera. Over his last six fights, Figueiredo’s record has been all over the place, going 3-1-1-1. Ten of his 11 wins, though, have come via stoppage so the man — just like his brother — knows how to get the job done. Rivera, meanwhile, came up short in his UFC debut against Tyson Nam, so he is hungry to pick up his first UFC win, as well.
Hard-hitting Middleweight Dalcha Lungiambula will look to get back on the winner’s podium after his six-fight win streak was snapped by Magomed Ankalaev over a year ago. He is taking on Markus Perez, who is in desperate need of a win after dropping his last two and three of four overall. His record so far inside the Octagon is a paltry 2-4, so a loss here could mark the end of his UFC run.
To get a more detailed look at all of the “Prelims” undercard action click here.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Vinicius Moreira desperately needs a win after losing his first three fights inside the Octagon. After making a splash on “Contender Series” — and winning his four fights prior — the big man has really fallen flat during his short stint under the UFC banner. To make matters worse, he’s been stopped in the first round in all three bouts. If he can’t turn it around against Isaac Villanueva, his time inside the Octagon will likely come to an end.
Interest Level: 5 of 10
In the co-main event, Warlley Alves and Mounir Lazzez will collide at 170 pounds. After starting off his career at 10-0, including winning his first four UFC bouts and defeating Colby Covington, Alves has really cooled off by going just 2-4 since, losing his last fight against Randy Brown. Lazzez impressed fight fans and the UFC brass alike in his Octagon debut with a win over Abdul Razak Alhassan at UFC Fight Island 1 last summer. Owner of a 10-1 mark, Lazzez is a pretty big Welterweight so he could use that to his advantage to take out Alves.
Roxanne Modafferi has been inconsistently consistent over the last three years, alternating wins and losses over his last eight bouts. In her last outing she defeated Andrea Lee, so she would love nothing more than to break her current win-loss pattern. It will be a tough task because Vivane Araujo has been on a tear, winning six of seven including going 3-1 in her UFC career.
In further main card action, Tyson Nam will look to score his third straight win when he faces off against Matt Schnell, who is in search of a win after his four-fight win streak went up in smoke thanks to Alexandre Pantoja’s heavy hands. Nam and Schnell are two talented Flyweights who are a couple of wins away from getting into serious consideration to face Top 5 foes.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Fight Island 8 Full Fight Card:
UFC Fight Island 8 Main Event on ESPN/ESPN+:
170 lbs.: Michael Chiesa vs. Neil Magny
UFC Fight Island 8 Main Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (12 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Warlley Alves vs. Mounir Lazzez
205 lbs.: Vinicius Moreira vs. Ike Villanueva
125 lbs.: Roxanne Modafferi vs. Viviane Araujo
125 lbs.: Tyson Nam vs. Matt Schnell
145 lbs.: Lerone Murphy vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
UFC Fight Island 8 Prelims Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (9 a.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Ricky Simon vs. Gaetano Pirrello
185 lbs.: Omari Akhmedov vs. Tom Breese
125 lbs.: Zarrukh Adashev vs. Su Mudaerji
185 lbs.: Dalcha Lungiambula vs. Markus Perez
125 lbs.: Francisco Figueredo vs. Jerome Rivera
155 lbs.: Mike Davis vs. Mason Jones
135 lbs.: Umar Nurmagomedov and Sergey Morozov
125 lbs.: Manon Fiorot vs. Victoria Leonardo
***Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to drastic change because of the various global quarantine restrictions.***
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Island 8 fight card this morning/afternoon right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance at 12 p.m. ET (also on ESPN/ESPN+).
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Island 8 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For more upcoming UFC events in both Abu Dhabi and Las Vegas click here.