It is not too often to see the UFC hold events on a Wednesday, let alone have an event air early in the morning on the east coast in the United States. The reason for this event airing so early was because it took place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Fans around the world were very appreciative of the card taking place, regardless of the time.
In the welterweight main event between the No. 8 contender Michael Chiesa and the No. 9 contender Neil Magny, Chiesa won via a unanimous decision victory.
Chiesa had a dominant opening round against Magny by landing several takedowns and he managed control in the top position on Magny. He worked in heavy ground and pound strikes and he gave Magny no room to breathe or escape. Chiesa extended his dominance on the scorecards through the first-two rounds by overpowering Magny on the ground with his wrestling.
The tide seemed to turn in the third, when Magny landed a takedown and he had control in the early part of the round. Chiesa was able to stand up and he brought the fight back to the ground and his wrestling and scrambling ability stole the remainder of the round. Magny had a better fourth round but just when it seemed like Magny was able to put Chiesa in submission holds, Chiesa found his way out and he ended up on top.
Overall, Chiesa racked up the ground control time throughout the five rounds and it was a major reason why he outclassed Magny. With the win, Chiesa is now 4-0 at welterweight, and he owns back-to-back wins against Rafael Dos Anjos and Magny. In the post-fight interview, Chiesa spoke about the fight and he even called out a big name in the welterweight division.
“I knew [Magny] was going to push me to my limits. He is a super tough guy and all around good human being,” said Chiesa in his interview with UFC commentator Daniel Cormier. If I wasn’t able to push through five rounds, I couldn’t talk about being a champion.”
Chiesa proceeded to call-out Colby Covington to be his next opponent in the UFC.
“The election is over. Colby Covington, your shtick is done. I want you next, boy.”
Chiesa may not receive a bout against Covington, but with a performance like he displayed on Wednesday, he deserves to be in the Octagon against the best welterweights. For his next fight, Chiesa could face a top-five ranked opponent and he could prove everyone right who believes that he is a dark-horse contender in the division.
The co-main event saw Warlley Alvez fold Mounir Lazzez with several kicks to the body and he ended up finishing Lazzez off on the ground in round one. It was an impressive victory for the Brazil native after having a long layoff from the UFC.
The main card had other notable fights, one of them being a top-10 women’s flyweight showdown between No. 8 contender Roxanne Modafferi and No. 9 contender Vivane Araujo. Araujo won the bout with a unanimous decision victory over Modafferi. This was a prime example of a crossroads bout and now Araujo has catapulted herself into serious championship contention in the women’s flyweight division.
On the preliminary cards, the day opened up with a blistering offensive performance from UFC women’s flyweight newcomer Manon Fiorot with a second-round TKO victory against Victoria Leonardo. Umar Nurmagomedov, cousin of the UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, fought in the second fight of the day against Sergey Morozov, and he was victorious with a second-round rear naked choke submission. Nurmagomedov made his UFC debut on Wednesday.
In the post-fight interview, Nurmagomedov had his cousin, Khabib, translate for him. It was a full circle moment for the family because they were able to experience the moment together, as it was nine years to the day since Khabib made his UFC debut. The future is certainly bright for the younger Nurmagomedov.
All in all, this entire card lasted for more than six hours and it served as the perfect appetizer for Saturday’s mammoth pay-per-view card at the Etihad Arena. The UFC’s most recent stint in Abu Dhabi will be closed out with UFC 257.