A photo and a video clip from the UFC's ongoing Fight Island festival in Abu Dhabi shows the devastating, fight-ending quality a big shot to the body can have.
Jessica Andrade and Katlyn Chookagian fought a women's flyweight match inside the behind-closed-doors Flash Forum on Saturday.
Andrade closed the show inside a round when she dug a huge punch into her opponent's body, forcing Chookagian to wince and retreat.
Watch the finish below.
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FIGHT ISLAND — Video footage from a UFC women's flyweight match shows the devastating, fight-ending effect a huge shot to the body can have.
It all went down during the co-main event between Jessica Andrade and Katlyn Chookagian. They fought behind-closed-doors Saturday at the Flash Forum on Fight Island, a quarantined area the Abu Dhabi culture and tourism board purpose-built in conjunction with the UFC.
Andrade made history by becoming the first woman in the UFC to win in three separate weight classes when she defeated Chookagian in the opening round of their 125-pound bout.
Chookagian had advantages of height and reach but Andrade ensured that mattered little by closing the distance between the fighters, engaging in clinches against the fence, and dragging her opponent to the ground.
Andrade varied her strikes. She landed shots on Chookagian's head and body in equal measure, setting up a buzzer-beating finish.
The ending arrived when Andrade landed a body punch which made Chookagian retreat and turn her back on the fight and her opponent.
After a moment of confusion as it was not clear whether the fight was over, Andrade ran at Chookagian and sought the stoppage.
Watch it here:
With the win, Andrade advanced her pro MMA record to 21 wins (eight knockouts, seven submissions, and six decisions) against eight losses.
Gillian Robertson messed up Poliana Botelho's eye during a Fight Island match Saturday.
Robertson is only 25 years old and told reporters at a UFC media day in Abu Dhabi this week that she was happy to break a Ronda Rousey record and is now targeting a men's one, too.
Though Robertson defeated Botelho with ease at the Flash Forum, she said after that she was annoyed she couldn't get the finish — likely because it would have put her one submission closer to Charles Oliveira who has the men's record of 14 submission wins in the UFC.
One thing Robertson was pleased with was the damage she saw she had done to Botelho's eye. "I was happy that I did that."
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FIGHT ISLAND — Gillian Robertson messed up her opponent's eye during a UFC bout on Saturday and said later that she was really happy she did it.
Robertson, 25, is one of the most impressive mat-based fighters in the UFC and has already broken a Ronda Rousey record.
The Canadian fought a women's flyweight match with Poliana Botelho, who didn't allow her to extend her haul of four UFC submission wins to date.
Robertson said after the win that she was frustrated not to get the finish, but with 10 minutes and 53 seconds of ground control in a 15-minute fight, it is clear she was still dominant at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi.
MMA eyes will be on Brian Ortega's feisty featherweight fight against Korean Zombie on Saturday.
The 145-pounders compete in the main event of the UFC Fight Island 6 event on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
But if previous UFC events in the pandemic era are anything to go by, there will likely be a fight or performance earlier in the card which will steal the show.
According to the former UFC title challenger and MMA expert Dan Hardy, one guy to keep your eye on is the unbeaten Mateusz Gamrot, a two-weight champion of a Polish fight firm, who makes his UFC debut.
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FIGHT ISLAND — Saturday's fourth event of the UFC's latest residency on Fight Island, a quarantined area of Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, features the widely-anticipated featherweight ruckus between Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung — better known as Korean Zombie.
But if the UFC's previous pandemic-era cards are anything to go by, there will likely be a few matches and performances earlier in the event which have the potential to steal the show.
According to the former UFC welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy, who is now a UFC analyst and color commentator, the unbeaten Polish fighter Mateusz Gamrot has the potential to create headlines this weekend.
"We've got some really interesting fights on this card and the one I'm watching out for the most is Mateusz Gamrot because he's an undefeated fighter, 17-0, and making his UFC debut," Hardy told Insider this week.
Of Gamrot's 17 wins, eight have been as a result of a decision, on top of five knockouts, and four submissions.
Through much of Gamrot's eight-year career, he competed in KSW, the premiere mixed martial arts organization in his native Poland.
The 29-year-old championed two weight classes at KSW, has a notable pair of victories over the former UFC athlete Norman Parke, and is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in Europe, according to MMA Fighting.
On Saturday, Gamrot competes in a lightweight match against Guram Kutateladze, a Georgian with a pro record of 11 wins (seven knockouts, one submission, and three decisions) against two losses.
"The guy he's fighting, I know he's got a few losses on his record but he's a lethal striker as well," Hardy said.
"Gamrot is a huge wrestler with a boxing skillset, and then we've got a fighter coming in who has got excellent Muay Thai who is going to really challenge him and not give him the respect most people would.
"That's the sleeper fight for me on the card."
The UFC Fight Island 6 show is an 11-fight card, and will be broadcast on ESPN in the US and BT Sport in the UK.
Tom Breese showed extraordinary striking efficiency when he floored KB Bhullar with a jab on Saturday.
The Brit, dubbed a "dangerous prospect" by the UFC, then forced a first round finish as he followed the knockdown with unrelenting hammer fists.
The middleweight match was the final preliminary bout on the "UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen" card on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
Watch the stoppage below.
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A 29-year-old called Tom Breese floored his UFC opponent KB Bhullar with a jab, then hit his skull with hammer fists until the referee waved the bout off for good.
It was a much-needed win for the British athlete as Breese rebounded from a first-round knockout loss to Brendan Allen during the UFC's previous Fight Island residency in July, to score an opening round finish of his own on Saturday at UFC Fight Island 5.
At the behind-closed-doors Flash Forum on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Breese showed that he remains a "dangerous prospect" in the middleweight division according to the UFC.
Traditionally, a jab is a distance-measuring weapon which precedes more powerful blows like an overhand or hook with the non-jabbing fist.
It is rare in the combative sports, boxing included, to knock an opponent down with a jab.
For Breese to do so, after only 100 seconds of fighting action, is indicative of a striking accuracy, efficiency, and power not often seen in mixed martial arts.
Rather than marvel at his handiwork, he pounced on KB Bhullar and just wailed fists onto his downed opponent until the referee awarded the win.
What a graceful and respectful way to take a loss.One of the more beautiful things about MMA is watching a fighter’s character shine during the most difficult [email protected], you are a great man, and an excellent example for other athletes.RESPECT! #Repost @espnmma with @Rep0stApp • • • • • • • Impa Kasanganay sent a gracious message to Joaquin Buckley after their fight, which ended with a spectacular knockout 🤝 #UFCFightIsland5 (via @impak5)
UFC legend Tito Ortiz expressed his wild belief about the coronavirus in a podcast interview published Thursday.
Oritz, who presumably made his comments before President Trump was admitted into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as he battled the coronavirus, said on the “I Only Touch Greatness” podcast that he believed there was a conspiracy at play regarding the deadly and highly contagious virus.
“It's all a political scam,” the 45-year-old said. “I just shake my head about it because there’s been a lot of people who’s lives have been taken away because of it.”
Ortiz, who is also running for a Huntington Beach, Calif., city council seat, said the virus was man-made and being weaponized “by the left.”
“Once again, it's population control by the left. They’re trying to take out all of the older people who are getting Social Security and so forth,” he said.
Ortiz made clear that he wasn’t spouting any facts and that it was just his opinion.
“It was made by a man, it's a man-made virus and people need to understand that facts behind those things,” he said, adding that it would “go away” by Nov. 3.
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In reality, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Americans. More than 7.3 million Americans have contracted the virus, including now the president, Melania Trump and several U.S. senators.
Halfway around the world, inside a massive pandemic-proof bubble dubbed “Fight Island,” Dana White heard the news that President Donald Trump had tested positive for COVID-19.
White, as president of the UFC, is as well-versed as anyone on how to keep the virus at bay — this weekend his company will stage its 30th fight card (a Fight Night from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates) since the initial March outbreak shut things down in the United States.
Meanwhile, as Trump’s longtime friend — dating back to White’s early UFC days, when he staged cards at Atlantic City casinos Trump owned at the time — he was uniquely concerned at what was happening back home.
“I called Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser],” White told Yahoo Sports Friday morning. “I think [Trump] gets through this. He has so much energy. He never stops. He’s in great shape. I think he’ll be OK.
“He’s the President of the United States,” said White, who has spoken on Trump’s behalf at each of the last two Republican National Conventions. “Even if you don’t agree with him, he’s a human being. And he’s done some good things for this country. What’s wrong with these dummies [rooting for him to be sick]. It makes me happy to be in Abu Dhabi.”
It’s been a wild 2020 for everyone, and White maybe more than most. Trying to run an international mixed martial arts operation during a global pandemic tested the skill, resources and resourcefulness of a company that had seen it all in building itself into a multibillion-dollar global behemoth the past two decades.
White received significant criticism when he tried to start holding cards as early as April — his first attempt at a tribal casino in California was canceled at the request of broadcast partner ESPN. He was scolded for even attempting to get back to business. He was told that doing this safely was nearly impossible.
Undeterred, White and his staff were able to pull off UFC 249 on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida. It wasn’t perfect — one fight was canceled due to a positive test — but it worked. There was no major, or even minor, outbreak.
From there the UFC has never taken its foot off the pedal. White has consistently said that every company should try to return to as close to normal as it possibly can.
“Obviously, we had some trial and error at the beginning,” White said. “We had to reanalyze early on how we were doing things. But we continued to tighten things up and made everything stronger. That was the key to the success.
“We’ve gotten better and better at it,” White continued. “We are testing people 3-4 times before they even get to Fight Island.”
The UFC certainly figured it out — and nearly every sports league in the world has followed along as well. This weekend is the start of three more fight cards at the company’s Middle Eastern home, a sealed off man-made island in Abu Dhabi that has allowed international fighters to compete.
The idea of attempting this was daunting. It is no less so as White looks back, or even forward. As Trump’s positive test shows, the virus is still out there. The natural inclination to relax and believe you can avoid it must be avoided.
It’s why White, who readily admits he is “petty” and loves “shutting up” the doubters, isn’t quite willing to spike the football yet.
“Let me get to 2021,” he said, laughing. “This year is crazy.”
He considers this the new normal — fight cards in television sound stages with stringent and relentless protocols surrounding it. Testing. Masks. Distancing. Mandatory quarantining. Virus-killing misting tunnels. You name it, they have it.
He says the UFC is only looking to make safety stronger. He has no plans to allow a limited number of fans into arenas, as other sports have.
“I’m not doing fans until we can have a full arena,” White said, saying he’s figured out how to make revenue numbers work despite missing out on multimillion-dollar live gates.
“I get calls from these countries, ‘We can allow fans. We have fans here in New Zealand. We have fans here in Australia,’ ” White said. “But we’d have to quarantine for two weeks and we can’t do that. We are doing fine. We are going to keep going.”
That means a normal schedule of fight cards split between the company facility in Las Vegas and in Abu Dhabi.
That includes Saturday’s Fight Night featuring Holly Holm vs. Irene Aldana, and the big one, UFC 254, later this month headlined by lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje, who took a star turn by defeating Tony Ferguson at the first pandemic card in Jacksonville.
If that means White has to keep spending long stretches in the Middle East, then so be it.
“Since Day 1 with this company we have said, ‘Let’s try to figure it out. Whatever is thrown at us, how do we deal with it and run the business?’ This is no different,” White said. “Everyday we worked on it, though, and we figured it out. We’ve always figured it out.
“This was hard because so many powerful forces were against us even trying. And the winds changed every few hours, every day. Every time we got something done, there was something new.
“But we’ve done it.”
Related: UFC star Stephan Bonnar
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