The UFC has yet another Fight Island card this weekend from the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi. A Flyweight title fight is the headliner which is a rematch between Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo. Also on the card is an important Middleweight clash between Kelvin Gastelum and Jack Hermansson, and has powerhouses such as Mark Diakiese, Ariane Lipski and more. We get into some key match ups and betting propositions below.
The two flyweights on the hunt for gold face off again with Figueiredo getting the better of Benavidez in their first meeting, knocking him out in the second round. However, due to him missing weight he was unable to win the belt with that performance, so we run it back again here at fight island. Benavidez, despite losing their first encounter will still come into this fight with a degree of confidence that he is all round the better striker and is able to scramble when Figueiredo decides to take this to the ground. Figueiredo, while impressive back in March, did not make weight and has never gone five rounds, two big question marks leading into this fight.
While he has more options of attack than his counterpart, I do not see him as being the $1.40 favourite that the market suggests. I sided slightly with Benavidez in the initial fight and I will do it again at better value this time. He has a win over Cejudo on his resume and has proven five round ability. Before his loss to Figueiredo, he was on a three-fight winning streak, all over top level opposition, and I believe he can turn the tables on the Brazilian, possibly giving him a taste of his own medicine with a late TKO.
This is the best fight on the card and one I cannot wait for. Although this is pinned as the classic grappler vs striker match up, Gastelum has the wrestling defense to keep this on the feet. Hermanssomn made a meteoric rise up the ranks in 2018-19 until he fell to Jared Cannonier. Gastelum on the other hand, is one of the most underappreciated mixed martial artists around. He may be on a two-fight losing streak, but they were both decision losses that could have gone either way, one to current champ Israel Adesanya and the other to Darren Till.
While Gastelum will always have a reach disadvantage he is crafty with his shots and has explosive power in his hands when he lets them go which counteract that disadvantage. While a 16-5 record may not seem like much in this day and age, he truly has fought the best of the best his whole UFC tenure. I am backing Gastelum to get this done over Hermansson yet do note that Hermansson’s submissions off the clinch and scrambles are crafty and ever dangerous. Gastelum will get his career back on track here and go hunting for the elite of the division once again.
Simply put Ibragimov promised a lot and delivered very little. He has insane judo and a good submission game but loses his head come fight time. He is 0-2 in the UFC and although he hasn’t been knocked out so far, against a talent like Dolidze, I’m banking this will be his first. Roman Dolidze is still very fresh with a 6-0 record and is yet to have a fight go the distance. He has scary power and if Ibragimov fights like he has since joining the UFC he will be out before he knows what’s hit him. Dolidze has one shot knockout power and will likely put that on show. This is his coming out party.
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