A spectacle of UFC events will take place across July, an Island located in Abu Dhabi will play host to several main-event-caliber martial arts contests in the biggest MMA event of summer 2020. Let’s take a closer look at the most anticipated fights taking place on Fight Island.
UFC bettors and fans alike, rejoice! The coronavirus pandemic has buried a vast amount of sporting events during our summer months. Still, fear-not, Dana White and the Ultimate Fighting Championship have arrived to save the day.
Between the 12th – July 25th, the UFC will host four back to back events starting with UFC 251: Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal, ending with Fight Night: Robert Whittaker vs Darren Till. A multitude of title events and a few bitter rivalries will get settled on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
The following Wednesday to UFC 251 will see Fight Night: Dan Ige vs Calvin Kattar with a quick turnaround three days later for Fight Night: Figueiredo vs Benavidez. To close out the month-long Fight Island promotion, Darren Till and former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will headline the third and final Fight Night event of the month.
Will ‘Street Jesus’ Jorge Masvidal provide us with another 3-piece combo? Does Jose Aldo have what it takes to become a two-division champion? Can Darren Till become the second Englishman in UFC history to find himself in middleweight title contention? Maybe Joseph Benavidez can finally claim championship gold after a lengthy career under the UFC banner.
Ninety-four mixed martial artists, 47 high-level fights within fifteen days, an island side location, ladies and gentlemen, UFC Fight Island is upon us.
The fast-rising stars of the UFC rarely arrive in bunches. Still, the UFC welterweight division has made the exception, from Gilbert Burns, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, and the BMF champion Jorge Masvidal… the 170lb division is turning up the heat.
UFC 251 rumors circulated, “who will face Kamaru Usman for the Welterweight title”? With a case made for all fighters sat inside the top four of the division (Burns, Covington, Masvidal, Edwards) it was a complete toss-up of who the UFC was going to decide on for the UFC 251 main event. An eventual announcement that Gilbert Burns signed the dotted line was a pleasant surprise, Jorge Masvidal was said to be the UFC’s first choice, but a dispute on salary switched the UFC brass to plan B.
Gilbert Burns contracting the coronavirus struck panic across the MMA community, anxiety on an announcement from the UFC became widespread until our savior Jorge Masvidal put his disputes aside and stepped in for Burns on six days’ notice. A true testament to the life and fighting style of Masvidal, he will now face the undefeated champion, Kamaru Usman, in Abu Dhabi on Fight Island.
From a Betting Perspective – Since the newly scheduled main event, the betting dynamics have changed, and so has the available betting line for this fight. I expected Usman to come in as the heavy favorite due to his exceptional wrestling-skill and cardio, the striker in Masvidal will naturally hunt for the knockout or technical stoppage but will face the most tedious task of his career.
Darren Till vs. Robert Whittaker
July 25th 2020
Opening Line: TBA
Since his move up to the middleweight division, British MMA star Darren Till has never looked more composed and confident. Standing toe-toe with the talented Kelvin Gastelum and proving to critics that his chin and durability was more than likely compromised due to his severe weight-cut while in the welterweight division. Wasting no time, Till’s second fight in the middleweight division will be against the former champion, his most challenging opponent to date.
With just one loss in his previous ten UFC contests, former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker returned to the UFC octagon well and rested. A nine-month layoff after his title loss to Isreal Adesanya should see a rejuvenated Whittaker take center stage.
It’s no secret that we’ll see the victor face off against the winner between Isreal Adesanya and Paulo Costa, with a good chance the losers between each fight could also face-off.
The most underlooked main event of the month would fall into the UFC’s flyweight division, a controversial fight between the two took place earlier this year for the same UFC flyweight championship.
In their first encounter for the vacant UFC flyweight championship, Joseph ‘JoBe’ Benavidez was the only fighter between the two who was eligible to claim the title, Figueiredo missed weight which subsequently cost him the opportunity. The drama wasn’t over as Figueiredo won by a technical knockout, the fight footage would reveal a headbutt would cause the primary damage to Benavidez, costing him the third title chance of his career.
You have to sympathize with the UFC front runner, two title losses against former UFC flyweight champion Demetrius Johnson maybe equaled with two tittle losses against the same opponent in Deiveson Figueiredo.
From a Betting Perspective – I do not doubt in my mind that Joseph Benavidez is the more technically sound martial artist of the two. The first round of their first fight gave us more than enough insight into who could potentially steal a decision victory, and it was clear that Benavidez was that guy.
The opening line for this fight offers up some considerable value on Benavidez, a price larger than 2/1 is something we can’t ignore. And yes, Figueiredo offers a serious finishing rate for a flyweight but I don’t expect the experience of Benavidez to fall victim to the same power shot – especially since a helping headbutt caused the first one to end so quickly.
The Festivities Begin
UFC Fight Island’s month-long group of events starts with UFC 251 on July 11th, followed by UFC Fight Night: Dan Ige vs Calvin Kattar on the 15th. Fight Night: Figueiredo vs Benavidez II takes place on the 18th, and last but not least – Darren Till and the former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will end the Fight Island promotion on July 25th.
Sportsbook Review has lines available for all of the UFC events mentioned, line shopping for your UFC odds is the single most crucial rule while handicapping the UFC.