Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Michael Chiesa headlined the second Fight Island event of the year as he defeated Neil Magny via unanimous decision (49-46×3) in a Welterweight bout. Both men were on a three-fight winning streak coming into the contest, but it was number eight ranked Chiesa who came out on top convincingly with a terrific display of grappling.
The first few minutes of round one was all about controlling distance whilst Chiesa pressed with a good front kick to the body and left hand to start the exchanges. He was then able to take down Magny with an excellent show of strength that slammed his opponent onto the canvas in the centre of the octagon, where he was in a position of comfort in full guard. Chiesa won the first round by dictating the fight and taking limited damage.
90 seconds into the second round and Chiesa was able to execute a double underhook and take Magny down closer to the fence. Magny attempted a triangle choke straight away with his back on the canvas, but the Colorado native scrambled away to take back control on the ground. From this point Chiesa was cutting up the head of Magny with some brutal elbow strikes and looking the sharper fighter after the ten-minute mark.
Magny came out for the third round with improvement as he used the jab well to stun Chiesa a couple of times, before executing a single leg takedown on his opponent and continuing to strike on the ground. With the fight back on its feet quite quickly, Chiesa landed a good left hook and transitioned to a single leg takedown himself which resulted in a scramble on the ground. Chiesa was able to adjust into mount, and not for the first time in the bout, take control and put pressure on Magny.
The fourth round was showing a similar pattern of play, as Chiesa connected with a right jab which resulted to a transition to a double leg takedown. The 33-year-old worked the ground and pound well, causing Magny to play guard and defend heavily. Magny wriggled his way to the fence but Chiesa was close to locking in a rear-naked choke and body triangle as a consequence which were defended well. Magny escaped late on in the round and attempted a flying knee, but it didn’t connect and Chiesa was in a position to grapple until the horn blew.
Magny needed a stoppage to win the fight going into the fifth, but was not able to land clean strikes on the feet in these early exchanges. He rushed to a rapid single leg takedown soon after, but Chiesa yet again took control on the ground and worked the transitions well until the bout was over. A well-deserved points win for Chiesa who called out number one contender Colby Covington after the contest and expressed his hopes of a title shot in the near future.
In the co-main event, another Welterweight bout saw Warlley Alves beat Mounir Lazzez via TKO in the first round in the Brazilian’s 12th appearance in the UFC. The fighter was coming into the bout after a submission defeat in 2019 but has recorded an impressive win over Colby Covington earlier on in his career.
Alves put the pressure on early with some strong leg kicks and punch combinations that set the tone for what was about to come. It soon turned into a grappling contest on the fence before Alves tripped up his opponent and send him flying down to the ground. Lazzez had to defend an early ground and pound flurry but used his strength to get back on his feet and continue the grappling exchange on the fence.
Lazzez replied in the clinch with a spinning elbow that missed but separated the two fighters. Alves took full advantage and executed a series of kicks to the body that hurt Lazzez and sent him crashing to the canvas. Alves followed up with hammer fists when referee Herb Dean intervened and called a stop to the contest. The 30-year-old regained his place in the win column and cashed in with a ‘Performance of the Night’ award.
It was a different night each for British fighters Lerone Murphy and Tom Breese who suffered contrasting results. Both men have enjoyed spells in the UFC and continue to look to climb the ranks in their respective divisions.
Murphy defeated Douglas Silva de Andrade via unanimous decision (29-28×2, 30-27) in a Featherweight bout and to maintain undefeated in his career. The Manchester-born fighter showcased his skills on the feet and used leg kicks to perfection that helped him win the contest on points. He showed great takedown defense to keep the fight standing for most of the bout, although when Silva managed to break through, his jiu-jitsu kept him safe and secure what was a valuable win.
Meanwhile, 29-year-old Breese submitted to an arm-triangle choke to Omari Akhmedov in the second round in his third UFC loss. Breese was close to making his opponent tap in the first round when he had to defend the ground and pound and reversed to attempt a rear-naked choke that didn’t come into fruition. He was caught in the second as the fight was brought to the ground almost immediately.
It was also a night to remember for the family of current UFC champions Deiveson Figueiredo and Khabib Nurmagomedov whose brother and cousin competed on the prelims.
Francisco Figueiredo defeated Jerome Rivera by unanimous decision (29-28×3) as he competes in the same division, Flyweight, as his brother Deiveson and possesses a similar fighting style. Likewise, Umar Nurmagomedov defeated Sergey Morozov by technical submission in the second round whilst having his cousin Khabib in his corner. The 25-year-old Bantamweight presented his Dagestani wrestling skills and smart level changes to the world before sending Rivera to sleep with a rear-naked choke. It was subsequently awarded the second ‘Performance of the Night’ award.