3 things we learned from UFC Fight Island 8

What were the main takeaways coming out of UFC Fight Island 8?

The second of three UFC events this week is in the books as we close the chapter on UFC Fight Island 8. The headliners fought a hard twenty-five minutes, but Michael Chiesa was victorious in the end over Neil Magny Wednesday afternoon. The co-main event saw 2:1 betting underdog Warlley Alves spoil opponent Mounir Lazzez’s return to Fight Island with a vicious TKO in round one. Elsewhere, Ike Villanueva most likely saved his job in the UFC with a powerful, one-punch knockout over Vinicius Moreira, while Omari Akhmedov returned after his loss to Chris Weidman in style, pounding out Tom Breese to get the first-round stoppage. Plenty of solid performances all-around, so let’s take a look at a few things we learned after Wednesday’s affairs.

Here’s what we learned from UFC Fight Island 8

1. Michael Chiesa is a problem at welterweight

Michael Chiesa will not be any easy outing for any fighter at 170 lb going forward. Chiesa was able to take Neil Magny down and smother him for 25 minutes during the main event of UFC Fight Island 8. “Maverick” was able to showcase his superior grappling abilities time and time again throughout the course of the fight, to which Magny had no real answer. Apart from perhaps the third round, Chiesa pitched a shutout and is now in line to fight an opponent close to the top-5. His seamless transitions look effortless and fans can finally see that he has found the correct weight class and that he’s comfortable in the Octagon.

Now 4-0 at welterweight, Chiesa should be given a fight with somebody ranked above him, but it doesn’t seem very likely that the UFC will grant him his wish of fighting Colby Covington, at least not next. There are plenty of options going forward for the Washington native, and fighters like Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia and Stephen Thompson are currently without opponents. But regardless of who that next opponent may be, it could certainly be a tough night out for them should Chiesa remain this consistent with his performances.

Chiesa has already dispatched of two former champions in Rafael dos Anjos and Carlos Condit, proving he has what it takes to compete against top-class fighters in that upper echelon at 170 lb.

2. It’s all in the family

We all know of the dominance shown over the years by UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, but did you see his cousin on Wednesday?

Undefeated bantamweight prospect Umar Nurmagomedov finally made his long-awaited UFC debut at UFC Fight Island 8, scoring a spectacular second-round submission over Sergey Morozov, proving why he was a -500 favorite by the time the sportsbooks closed.

Nurmagomedov shot a plethora of beautifully timed takedowns, taking Morozov’s back twice in the first round. The grip strength shown by Nurmagomedov was on full display during the fight as Morozov struggled to break the hand locks and escape. Even just the style was impressive as Nurmagomedov was able to mix in takedowns with kicks to the head off his lead leg. A mix between his cousin and Zabit Magomedsharipov, one might say.

Nurmagomedov landed headkick to open round two to hurt his opponent, and from there was able to once again take the back with relative ease. He finished the bout by sinking in a tight rear-naked choke that put Morozov straight to sleep. At just 25 years old, it will be interesting to see how Nurmagomedov fairs during his UFC career and just how much better he can get.

3. Viviane Araujo is a legit contender at 125

Flyweight Viviane Araujo took care of business at UFC Fight Island 8, completely dominating Roxanne Modaferri from bell to bell en-route to a unanimous decision victory. Araujo’s striking was on point and had Modaferri doing her best just to survive the onslaught of punches being thrown her way. She even put a stamp on the fight when she scored a takedown late in the third round.

Araujo is quickly becoming a name fans should watch out for, and her performances speak for themselves. The Brazil native improved to 10-2 overall and is 4-1 in the promotion, with her lone loss coming against former title challenger Jessica Eye. She was ranked No. 9 ahead of the fight, but a well-rounded display like that should move her up a spot or two, essentially granting her access to matchups against fighters closer to the top-5 of the division. Araujo could be a dark horse in the women’s flyweight division, although most would still say champion Valentina Shevchenko is virtually unbeatable. As for what comes next for Araujo, she deserves a higher-ranked opponent to see how she stacks up amongst the division’s best. Don’t think anyone would argue with that sentiment after the way she looked on Wednesday.

UFC Fight Island 8 took place on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, live from Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Thu, 21 Jan 2021 18:02:27 +0000

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