As UFC Fight Island 3 comes to a close, it did not disappoint. With a record 7 bouts on the main card, there was many great moments and fights throughout the night. With all these fights, let’s focus on some of the winners and see what’s next for them.
After coming off a dominant victory July 15th against John Phillips where he out-struck him 124-2 in a Middleweight bout, he then shortly accept a short-notice fight against Rhys McKee. That’s 11 days notice, and that by itself is a struggle, but the bout was to take place in Welterweight which means he had to cut even more weight. That seems to not matter as Khamzat Chimaev out-struck McKee 68-0 in route to a TKO 1st round victory. He made his promotion debut 11 days ago and has shown he is game anytime anywhere by the end of his bout in UFC Fight Island 3.
Next Opponent: Top 15 from Middle or Welterweight
In Paul Craig’s first appearance in 2020, he pulled off a triangle choke 2:03 into the 1st round. Gadzhmurad Antigulov came in very aggressive and secured a takedown but Craig gladly invited him to do so. Whilst pouncing on Craig and doing some ground and pound, Antigulov was quickly caught and the fight ended shortly after. It shows that Paul Craig is one of the best BJJ artist in this Light Heavyweight division. The fight that makes the most sense for his is another winner in this card, Shogun Rua. Their 2019 draw left a lot to be desired and both are clamoring for that rematch.
Next Opponent: Shogun Rua
Coming into his fight with Alexander Gustafsson, all the talk was about how Gustafsson was coming out of retirement and enter this heavyweight division with a new mindset and feeling better than ever. Gustafsson started off picking his shots and hoping to keep the fight on the feet but once Werdum secured the takedown it was very dangerous for Gustafsson due to it coming early and they both haven’t produced a lot of sweat which made Werdum’s grip even tighter. He eventually got the arm and secured an armbar 2:30 into the 1st round. Werdum came back from his suspension early this year and has bounced back and looked far more in shape and motivated in this fight than his last. A matchup that will get Werdum higher in the rankings would be a fight against #10 Walt Harris who is coming off a defeat against Alistair Overeem in May.
Next Opponent: Walt Harris
Currently riding a 3 fight winning streak, Carla Esparza came into this fight with title aspirations after tonight. But inter way was surging contender and undefeated prospect #9 Marina Rodriguez. This fight was your classic striker vs. wrestler where each woman tried to impose their style of fight. Marina had early success in round 1. After that difficult round, Esparza implemented her gameplay and wrestled and controlled her way to a split decision victory . There’s not much for Carla Esparza to do in proving that she is a title contender. With all the fighters ranked above her on the shelf, many believe she’s next in line for the belt and it makes the most sense to do it. She poses a problem that the champ Weili Zhang hasn’t faced yet, which is wrestler who will try to impose her way and that plays into an interesting matchup on paper.
Next Opponent: Weili Zhang
Coming off his disappointing defeat and subsequent title loss to Israel Adesanya many wanted to see how Robert Whittaker bounce back from such a tough loss. Well he showed us why he was the champion with a very technical and composed fight against one of the divisions most explosive fighters in Darren Till. He dealt with some adversity in the fight but pulled to get a unanimous decision victory. Although a victory like this does warrant a title shot, that spot is saved for Jared Cannonier. the fight that makes the most sense for Robert is a title eliminator fight against the winner of last week’s co-main event winner Jack Hermansson. He had a quick night at the office, submitting Kelvin Gastelum via heel hook 1:18 into the 1st round and called out the winner of this fight.