Calvin Kattar picked up a unanimous-decision victory over Dan Ige on Wednesday to close out the second event from the Flash Forum at UFC's Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Kattar got off to a strong start from the outset, making Ige feel his power and stuffing an early takedown attempt to control the fight in Round 1. He made a strong closing statement in the frame with a flurry that included a flying knee and ripping uppercuts.
Business picked up in the second round with both fighters opening up their arsenals. Ige had more success in closing the distance and firing off combinations on the inside, but Kattar still caught him coming in several times, setting up a difficult round to score.
The dynamics of the fight would remain unchanged going through the middle rounds. Kattar denied Ige's attempts at a takedown, while the striking exchanges featured both fighters landing clean.
However, when the fight gave way to the main event rounds, Ige's volume saw a sharp decline, and Kattar continued to tag him with counters wherever possible. The gulf between the two became more clear, and Ige's need for something drastic became greater.
Kattar put the finishing touches on a strong performance, raining down strikes on Ige in a last-ditch attempt to earn the finish.
There weren't any finishes to be seen on the main card of the second Fight Island offering. Every main card bout went to decision, with most providing some good exchanges and talent on display. Here's a look at the complete list of results and how the main card transpired.
- Calvin Kattar def. Dan Ige via unanimous decision (49-46 x2, 48-47)
- Tim Elliott def. Ryan Benoit via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Jimmie Rivera def. Cody Stamann via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
- Taila Santos def. Molly McCann via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Mounir Lazzez def. Abdul Razak Alhassan via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
- Khamzat Chimaev def. John Phillips via submission (D'Arce choke) at 1:12 of Round 2
- Lerone Murphy def. Ricardo Ramos via TKO at 4:18 of Round 1
- Modestas Bukauskas def. Andreas Michailidis via TKO at 5:00 of Round 1
- Jared Gordon def. Chris Fishgold via unanimous decision (30-26 x3)
- Liana Jojua def. Diana Belbita via submission (armbar) at 2:23 of Round 1
- Jack Shore def. Aaron Phillips via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:29 of Round 2
Tim Elliott def. Ryan Benoit
The co-main event between Tim Elliott and Ryan Benoit was a classic example of volume vs. power, and the result was a fun fight. In this case, it was the volume fighter, Elliott, who had his hand raised by virtue of all three judges' scorecards.
Elliott turned up the pressure early and often in this bout, but Benoit made things interesting by landing the more effective shots when he countered.
The second round featured a near submission for each of them. Elliott nearly locked in a guillotine choke, while Benoit answered shortly thereafter with a kneebar that clearly had Elliott in pain.
Yet the fight went to the third round, where the two continued to engage in a fun striking affair.
The win snaps a three-fight losing streak for Elliott, including a submission loss to Brandon Royval in his last fight. His last win came in December 2017 against Mark De La Rosa, so this was a must-win for him, and he came through.
Jimmie Rivera def. Cody Stamann
Cody Stamann was hoping to make a quick turnaround just a little over a month removed from a unanimous-decision win over Brian Kelleher, but veteran Jimmie Rivera turned out to be too much, too soon for the 30-year-old.
Rivera utilized his striking prowess to neutralize Stamann's offense and convince the judges he was the winner. Sporting a little more size and both fighters moving up to featherweight for the late-notice bout, Rivera was throwing power behind his punches.
It didn't result in an early night, as Stamann continued to come forward, but Rivera did set himself up to win the wrestling in the second round. Ultimately, he was just better than Stamann in every area the fight went.
The result is a bit of a momentum killer for Stamann. He looked sharp in his win over Kelleher and had hopes of moving up the rankings, but he ran into someone who has just been fighting against the top tier of the division for longer.
Rivera came into the bout 1-3 in his last four fights, but those losses were to Marlon Moraes, Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan. This win might not get him right back in that picture, but it is a reminder he is better than most in the bantamweight division.
Taila Santos def. Molly McCann
Taila Santos had to wait for more than a year to make up for her split-decision loss in her UFC debut. She easily made up for the lost time in picking up a unanimous-decision victory over "Meatball" Molly McCann in flyweight action.
Santos earned a UFC contract with a win on Dana White's Contender Series, but bout cancelations and misfortune have kept her from gaining momentum. The result was a fighter who looked much better after a long layoff.
The Brazilian was aggressive and utilized her ground skills to build a convincing lead on the scorecards. She held dominant positions on the ground and utilized her abilities in the clinch to get the fight where she wanted it.
McCann saw a three-fight win streak come to an end. She is now 3-2 in five UFC appearances.
Mounir Lazzez def. Abdul Razak Alhassan
Abdul Razak Alhassan and Mounir Lazzez made it worth everyone's time who tuned in to the midweek main card. Both have a penchant for first-round knockouts, but both took what their opponent had to offer and just kept coming.
Lazzez, who was making his UFC debut, was considered the underdog based on his lack of experience in the Octagon and Alhassan's three straight first-round knockouts. However, he weathered an early storm that looked like it could be the end to return fire of his own in the second round.
The debutant would not only survive but also continue to thrive as he took the initiative and showcased skills all over the place. He landed takedowns, owned the clinch and showed strong striking and toughness.
It was a tremendous fight to kick off the card and an inspired performance from Lazzez. He came into the bout as a relative unknown but likely put his fellow welterweight prospects on notice with his well-rounded performance.