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Monday MMA Round-Up: Fight Island Is Winding Down

Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we take a look at the week that was and look ahead to the week that is as things in the MMA world are gearing back up completely. Let’s dive right into things.

Recapping 2 UFC Events

  • You can’t help but feel bad for Joseph Benavidez. Many consider him one of the true genuine good guys in the sport, but losses in four chances to win a UFC title have to be the end of the line. I thought he would call it quits after losing to Deiveson Figueiredo on Saturday, but he says he wants to go out on the win. I hope the matchmakers give him that chance in his next fight.
  • I’m not sure if anyone is going to beat Figueiredo at 125 pounds anytime soon. His biggest opponent may end up being the scales and making sure he is able to routinely make 125 pounds. I think his most interesting opponent would be Cody Garbrandt making the drop to 125 pounds.
  • Jack Hermansson’s impressive quick submission win over Kelvin Gastelum should be a stark reminder that he is one of the most dangerous fighters at 185 pounds. I feel like he is one more big win away from a title shot.
  • Speaking of the UFC Middleweight Championship, Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa is expected to happen on September 19, but it is not completely signed at the moment. Costa has signed for the fight, and Adesanya is expected to do so at any moment. The plans for them to coach The Ultimate Fighter have been scrapped because they needed a title fight for the Sept. 19 card after the death of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father.
  • The hope is Nurmagomedov will be able to return in October as there are two pay-per-view events that month, and they want title fights as headliners, and there aren’t a ton of options. They’re trying to get one of the three champions from the 7/11 card to turn around on short notice, and also trying to see if Valentina Shevchenko is cleared to fight again after recent surgery.
  • I was totally impressed by Rafael Fiziev, Ariane Lipski, Grant Dawson and Arman Tsarukyan on Saturday’s UFC card. Dawson and Tsarukyan, in particular, have top-ten potential.
  • Calvin Kattar’s win over Dan Ige on Wednesday was huge with a logjam of contenders at 145 pounds. With hoping that Volkanovski can defend the title sooner rather than later, Kattar’s big win and his willingness to fight right now may have helped him jump the line.
  • Khamzat Chimaev looks to be the new darling at the UFC. He had a super impressive win over John Phillips, but let’s not act like the guy just beat some big-name opponent. Phillips is 1-4 in the UFC. While Chimaev looked great, saying he is a future champion is premature. I also don’t like that they booked him so quickly on this upcoming weekend’s card as we didn’t need it.
  • And here’s why: there are 15 fights scheduled for this Saturday’s UFC card. Have fun fight fans. I’ll be right there with you.
  • Jared Gordon’s win over Chris Fishgold on Wednesday after everything he went through over the course of three weeks prior to the fight is such a great story. He has an interesting past, but had he lost on Wednesday, it is possible he could’ve been cut from the promotion. He looks improved, and as training conditions get better, hopefully the improvement continues.
  • Bellator finally announced their return for Friday. Nothing like waiting pretty much until the last moment to say “Hey, we’re back in ten days, here are some fights.”

  • There were lots of people asking why the vacant Bellator Bantamweight Championship isn’t on the line in the Sergio Pettis vs. Ricky Bandejas main event on Friday. They had originally booked that vacant title to be decided in the main event on the show, in a fight between Juan Archuleta and Patrick Mix, but Archuleta pulled out due to injury. The plan is to rebook that fight for the title on an upcoming show, and for the Pettis/Bandejas winner to get the first shot.

Playing Matchmaker

Here are some fights I would like to see made following UFC On ESPN 13 and UFC On ESPN+ 30:

  • Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno
  • Joseph Benavidez vs. Ryan Benoit
  • Jack Hermansson vs. Robert Whittaker-Darren Till winner
  • Kelvin Gastelum vs. Anderson Silva
  • Askar Askarov vs. Alex Perez
  • Ariane Lipski vs. Gillian Robertson
  • Grant Dawson vs. Charles Rosa
  • Arman Tsarukyan vs. Gregor Gillespie
  • Calvin Kattar vs. Max Holloway
  • Dan Ige vs. Shane Burgos
  • Jimmie Rivera vs. Frankie Edgar (should Edgar defeat Pedro Munhoz)

Coming Up This Week

This is a big week in the world of MMA, with many events lined up.

  • UFC Fight Island for July wraps up with UFC On ESPN 14, headlined by Robert Whittaker taking on Darren Till in what was my most anticipated fight taking place on Yas Island when the four shows were announced. That should be a lot of fun. Also on the main card is Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira as they finish their trilogy, Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Gustafsson in Gustafsson’s return from a brief retirement as he moves up to heavyweight, and Carla Esparza vs. Marina Rodriguez. Those are just four fights on the big 15-fight card. The entire show airs on ESPN kicking off at 5 PM eastern time, with the main card currently scheduled to start at 8 PM eastern time. Those times are subject to change.
  • Bellator is back on Friday with Bellator with Bellator 242 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, which will be the home of Bellator for the foreseeable future. Sergio Pettis vs. Ricky Bandejas is the main event. The rest of the main card is Jordan Mein vs. Jason Jackson, Tywan Claxton vs. Jay Jay Wilson, and Aaron Pico vs. Chris Hatley. The main card airs on the Paramount Network at 10 PM eastern time.
  • Titan FC runs another event with Titan FC 62 on Thursday, airing on UFC Fight Pass at 8 PM eastern time.
  • ACA is back on Friday with ACA 107.
  • LFA 86 takes place on Friday, airing on UFC Fight Pass at 9 PM eastern time.

This Week In MMA History

On July 26, 2008, EliteXC hosted their second event airing on CBS, with EliteXC: Unfinished Business taking place in Stockton, California. Robbie Lawler defeated Scott Smith in the second round in the main event on the show, which was a rematch from the first EliteXC CBS show that ended in a no contest.

With the event taking place in Stockton, of course Nick Diaz was on the show as he beat Thomas Denny in the co-main event. The third from top fight saw Jake Shields submit Nick Thompson in just 63 seconds.

The opener of the main card was a big one as it was the television debut of Cris Cyborg. She was being groomed for stardom, but this was her first big exposure to the American audience. She destroyed Shayna Baszler in the fight, finishing her in the second round with strikes. Cyborg would go on to become one of the most dominant fighters in the sport, male or female.

You can watch EliteXC: Unfinished Business on UFC Fight Pass here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/32242.

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