The long awaited featherweight clash between Brian Ortega and ‘Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung is finally upon us as the UFC gives us the fourth instalment of the Fight Island series.
The two men will face off in a clash described as a No.1 contender fight by UFC president Dana White, with personal pride as well as a future title shot on the line.
In an 11 fight card that will also see Jessica Andrade move up to strawweight for the first time to take on Katlyn Chookagian, I will break down every fight and give my predictions.
Last week I correctly predicted 8/13 overall with five perfect picks (winner, method, round) although I was wronged by arguably the greatest knockout of all-time for one of them.
Said Nurmagomedov (13-2) vs Mark Striegl (18-2 1NC) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)
An interesting fight to open the card as the brother of UFC lightweight champion Khabib takes on a UFC debutant at bantamweight. Nurmagomedov is a very good striker who is super active with great takedown defence, while Striegl is a Sambo fighter with good wrestling credentials and a really solid submission game. Striegl is undefeated in his last five fights, winning four in a row before a a no contest last time out due to a low blow. Nurmagomedov however lost his last fight via decision to Raoni Barcelos. This fight depends entirely on whether or not Striegl can get it to the ground. Nurmagomedov leaves himself open for takedowns with his vast array of spinning attacks but his defence is very good. He hasn’t fought anyone with a takedown game as good as Striegl’s in the UFC though and has been beaten already after allowing a late takedown last time out. If he can keep it standing, I think he should be able to light Striegl up on the feet to earn himself a decision win.
PICK – Said Nurmagomedov via Unanimous Decision
Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-7) vs Maxim Grishin (30-8-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)
After a great run between 2011 and July 2020, Maxim Grishin came into the UFC in the heavyweight division to take on Marcin Tybura on short notice and was handily beaten when he couldn’t cope with the sheer size of his opponent. He returns to his natural weight class of 205lbs when he takes on Gadzhimurad Antigulov who looks to snap a three fight losing streak. Antigulov won his first two UFC fights via submission, but was then knocked out in the first round by Ion Cutelaba and Michal Oleksiejczuk before being tapped out in the first round by Paul Craig last time out. Grishin is a pretty well rounded fighter, with good grappling defence and much better striking than Antigulov who will simply look to drag this fight to the ground. If Grishin can avoid the initial burst of energy and takedown attempts from Antigulov then he will see him zap all his energy and he’ll become target practice before a stoppage win.
PICK – Maxim Grishin via Knockout, Round 2
Jamie Mullarkey (12-3) vs Fares Ziam (10-3) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
A fight between two fairly young fighters looking to bounce back from a defeat last time out in this bout. Mullarkey made his debut in the organisation back in October 2019 at UFC 243, where he was outclassed by Brad Riddell on the night. Fares Ziam’s debut was on short notice back in September 2019 where he took on Don Madge at UFC 242 and was also just bettered by the better man on the night. Both men have all their wins bar one (11 for Mullarkey and 9 for Ziam) via stoppage so both are capable of finishing the fight but I believe Mullarkey has the edge. He’s a better striker and a more experienced grappler who has fought against better level opposition. For that reason, I expect he’ll be able to catch Ziam with a nice shot and then lay on the ground and pound for the win.
PICK – Jamie Mullarkey via Knockout, Round 1
Jun Yong Park (11-4) vs John Phillips (22-10 1NC) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
This one seems a bit of a mismatch on paper, until you remember that John Phillips has got a stupid amount of knockouts on his record. The Welshman has a staggering 19 KO wins in his career, but that meant nothing in his last bout when he was handsomely destroyed by Khamzat Chimaev. Park himself is a decent boxer but has more than enough wrestling acumen to cause Phillips a lot of issues. He’s 1-1 in the UFC following a defeat to Anthony Hernandez before a win over Marc-Andre Barriault last time out. If Park is silly enough to go to war with Phillips and exchange punches in a phone booth then he’ll get knocked out. If anything else happens, then he should win this comfortably. My bet is he takes the fight down early like Chimaev did and works the Welshman over before sinking in a choke for the win.
PICK – Jun Yong Park via Submission, Round 1
Gillian Robertson (8-4) vs Poliana Botelho (8-2) – (Strawweight/125lbs)
A strawweight bout between two prospects in the division as 25 year old Gillian Robertson looks to make it two wins on the bounce when she takes on Poliana Botelho. Her last fight was a submission win over Courtney Casey back in June. Robertson is a member of the American Top Team and has a fantastic wrestling game that opens up her superb jiu-jitsu. Botelho is a good boxer and has good power in her hands as her six knockout wins show, but she hasn’t fought in over 18 months. She has a very wide stance which could make the takedown hard for Robertson to get and she also has a height and reach advantage. The issue is she prefers for a big punch rather than to pop her jab and throw combinations, so I think Robertson should be able to slip the power shots and secure a takedown on an off-balance Botelho before putting her ground work in and securing a submission win.
PICK – Gillian Robertson via Submission, Round 1
Mateusz Gamrot (17-0 1NC) vs Guram Kutateladze (11-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
After watching his teammate Khamzat Chimaev take the UFC by storm on Fight Island back in July, Guram Kutateladze steps in on a little over a week’s notice to take on undefeated Pole and former KSW featherweight and lightweight double champ Mateusz Gamrot. Gamrot is a very intelligent fighter who has power in his hands but tends to lean more on his wrestling and submission skills to finish fights, while Kutateladze is a Muay-Thai fighter with exceptional striking skills. The Georgian has the speed and power advantage on the feet but his grappling leaves plenty to be desired. Unless he has developed some new wrestling defence techniques, I expect Gamrot to take him down and control him against the fence for a comfortable decision win in his UFC debut.
PICK – Mateusz Gamrot via Unanimous Decision