UFC presented their first Fight Island card Saturday night, bringing a stacked card to Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. It was a great night of fights, highlighted by three title fights. In the main event, Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman took on surging challenger Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal took this fight on six days' notice after Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and had to drop out of the fight. Masvidal has been fighting forever, and after a huge 2019, got his first crack at UFC gold. Usman is one of the most dangerous competitors in the octagon today, looking for his twelfth straight UFC victory.
In the end, Masvidal took round one, and then Usman went to his bread and butter, the clinch game. He controlled the entire fight, not letting Jorge explode with combos or firing off his strong body kicks. Usman took the unanimous decision to retain his title. Usman held the clinch advantage by controlling Jorge on the cage for over ten minutes, slowing the challenger down. A date with Gilbert Burns awaits him. As for Masvidal, maybe a rematch with Nate Diaz? We shall see, but he is now getting paid so he can do pretty much whatever he wants.
In the co-main event, an excellent fight took place for the Featherweight title as Max Holloway looked to take back his title from the man who beat him, Alexander Volkanovski. Back and forth they went, with Holloway taking rounds one and two, and Volkanovski taking the final two. It came down to the third, and after the scorecards were read, Alexander Volkanovski held on and stole a split decision victory. Impressive stuff and Alexander took over in the third and outpointed Holloway. Takedowns may have made the difference, as "The Great" scored two late ones. This was a great fight.
In the first title fight, Petr Yan and Jose Aldo traded blows for four rounds before Yan took the vacant UFC Bantamweight crown by TKO in the fifth. Aldo looked nimble and quick on his feet through three rounds, then slowed way down in the fourth before being dropped at the beginning of the fifth. Yan reigned blows on his foe, with the fight stopping a full minute and a half after it really should have. The two set a record for most significant strikes in a UFC fight, but it was Yan who now takes his place at the top of the Bantamweight division.
RUSSIA HAS A NEW CHAMPION!
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Before that, Rose Namajunas avenged her loss to Jessica Andrade, picking up a split decision victory. Rose controlled Andrade through the first two, controlling the distance and trading some nice shots before Andrade completely dominating the third round, putting color on her opponent's face. It was a close fight, but Rose did just enough in the first two rounds to take the victory and get back in the win column.
In the opening bout, Amanda Ribas continued to turn heads with a quick armbar submission win over Paige VanZant, likely ending Paige's UFC career as her contract was up. Ribas quickly overwhelmed VanZant on the feet, before taking her down and working fast for the first-round stoppage.