A strong card on Fight Island threw up some new names for future contenders, while a few old names kept their name in the tombola too.
Debutants Modestas Bukauskas, Khamzat Chimaev and Mounir Lazzez scored impressive wins, while Lerone Murphy, Taila Santos and Liana Jojua all scored their first wins in the UFC on a night of tactical fights.
Jack Shore continued his phenomenal record to go 13-0 with a dominant display against Aaron Phillips. It was his second win in the company and he will begin looking towards a Top 15 opponent now after securing another submission win for his record.
Diana Belbita and Liana Jojua both went into their fight with each other having lost their debuts with the company. As Belbita took the fight to the ground, she entered Jojua’s world and the 25 year old took complete advantage with a first-round armbar. She showed great ability in the grappling exchange and will now look to build on that with her next fight.
In the featherweight division, Lerone Murphy put all the ranked 145lbers on notice with a huge knockout win of Ricardo Ramos. The British fighter did well to avoid striking with Ramos before securing a big takedown and landing brutal ground and pound to finish the bout early. It was his 6th first round KO win and he’s been incredibly impressive in his two UFC bouts to date. A fight with a low ranked fighter should be next up for him as he looks to push on against top level opposition.
Modestas Bukauskas continued his fine form with a big knockout win at the end of the first round. After exchanging well in the pockets, the former Cage Warriors light heavyweight champion fought off a late takedown attempt before delivery big elbows to the head for a TKO win between rounds. The Lithuanian-Brit spoke afterwards about how he plans to progress through the division, and it’s too early for him to take on ranked opponents. He looked calm and composed though and clearly has the power to put people away at this level.
The most impressive fighters on the card though were Mounir Lazzez and Khamzat Chimaev. Both guys came in against experienced pros with crazy knockout power but showed brilliant skill and ability of their own to counteract it.
Lazzez ate big shots early on from Alhassan but always looked composed with his back to the cage. He showed great courage to stand in the pocket and exchange with a man who has knocked out everyone he’s beaten, and showed fantastic fight IQ to land big knees in the clinch. He attacked the body of Alhassan throughout the fight and then showed his all-round game with takedowns to control the fight on the ground too. After the fight, Lazzez moved to call out “that idiot” Mike Perry but with Platinum’s recent public spat it’s unlikely we’ll see that fight any time soon.
Khamzat Chimaev moved up to middleweight to be able to make his UFC debut and obliterated John Phillips. An immediate takedown followed by 5 minutes of torturous ground and pound brought comparisons of Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Dagestani handcuff was prominent too as he outstruck his opponent 167-3 over one-and-a-half rounds they fought for, showing he’s a serious threat. Following the fight he told Jon Anik he will become champion at 77kg (170lbs) and that he believes he is already at the same level as champions Kamaru Usman and recent challenger Jorge Masvidal. A stunning performance and certainly one to keep an eye on for the future.
Plenty of new names to keep your eyes on for the rest of the year across multiple divisions and a fun card. Roll on Fight Island part 3 this weekend!