Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action earlier today (Weds., Jan. 20, 2021) to stage UFC Fight Island 8 inside Etihad Arena on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In the headlining act, Michael Chiesa earned an impressive win over Neil Magny (recap), while Warlley Alves got back in the win column with a huge knockout victory over Mounir Lazzez (video here).
Winner: Michael Chiesa
Who He Should Face Next: Stephen Thompson
With Chiesa winning his fourth straight fight since making the move back up to Welterweight, it’s time for him to start facing the cream of the crop. A fight against Stephen Thompson seems appropriate since both men are pretty hot at the moment. Ranked No. 5, “Wonderboy” has won two in a row, including his most recent win against Geoff Neal. Chiesa isn’t too far behind at No. 8, though I fully expect him to get a bump or two in the rankings in the coming week. It’s a clash of styles here, with Thompson having the edge on the feet, while “Maverick” has shown that his grappling is not to be taken lightly.
Winner: Warlley Alves
Who He Should Fight Next: Claudio Silva
Alves earned a huge win after running over Lazzez, giving him his first taste of victory in quite a while. He has always proven to be talented, but has never been able to stay winning consistently to break through. Perhaps a fight and subsequent victory over Silva could be what he needs to get there. Claudio recently had his 14-fight win streak snapped by James Krause, so he is in need of a win to get his momentum back. It would be a clash of styles since Alves likes to stand and bang, while Silva makes his money forcing people to submit.
Winner: Ike Villanueva
Who He Should Face Next: Maxim Grishin
Villanueva picked up his first UFC win by absolutely obliterating Vinicius Moreira with a devastating knockout. Up next for “Hurricane Ike,” perhaps a showdown against Grishin is in order. “Maximus” is coming off a win over Gadzhimurad Antigulov in Oct. 2020, giving him his first win inside the Octagon. Both men have heavy hands, so this match up could make for an all-out striking battle.
Winner: Viviane Araujo
Who She Should Face Next: Cynthia Calvillo
Araujo picked up her second straight win, defeating Roxanne Modafferi to improve her record to 3-1 inside the Octagon. Up next for the Brazilian bomber, a fight against Calvillo — ranked No. 5 — makes sense. Calvillo is coming off a tough loss to Katlyn Chookagian, which ended her three-fight win streak. Araujo should get a bump up in the rankings after her big win against “The Happy Warrior,” so they will be closer in that area in the coming week.
Winner: Lerone Murphy
Who He Should Face Next: Austin Lingo
Murphy added to his undefeated streak to improve to (10-0-1, 3-0 UFC), defeating Douglas Silva de Andrade. So why not book him against another surging contender in Lingo? He just competed last week at UFC Fight Island 7 and defeated Jacob Kilburn, both have similar fighting experience overall in their MMA career and inside the Octagon. Both men have a lot of ground to cover before they enter the Top 15, and their paths will eventually cross, so there is no better time than the present.
Winner: Matt Schnell
Who He Should Face Next: Brandon Royval
Schnell picked up a huge win after defeating Tyson Nam via split-decision, putting him back in the winner’s circle after having his four-fight UFC win streak snapped by Alexandre Pantoja. And Schnell is ready to get back to work, saying he would jump on the phone with UFC matchmakers to see what’s next for him. I’d like to see him face Royval in his next bout. Brandon is coming off a tough loss Brandon Moreno at UFC 255, which ended his four-fight win streak. Both Royval and Schnell are as scrappy as they come, which should make for a fireworks-filled bout.
For complete UFC Fight Island 8: “Chiesa vs. Magny” results and live play-by-play updates click here.