Welcome to the 2nd ever 15 fight card in UFC history! The UFC is ready for their final event at Fight Island this evening live from the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi. Fight Night 3 is headlined by an important bout in the Middleweight Division. Robert Whittaker takes on a newcomer to the division, Darren Till. In the co-main event, a pair of PRIDE veterans face off again as Mauricio Rua battles against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Alexander Gustafsson makes his Heavyweight debut as he squares up with Fabricio Werdum. The main card also features a Women’s strawweight bout between Carla Esparza and Marina Rodriguez. Also, Khazmat Chimaev makes a quick turn around from his UFC debut 10 days ago stepping back in the octagon with Rhys McKee.
The main card is loaded with 7 fights, and the action begins at 8PM est on ESPN and ESPN+. The Prelims have a stacked card with 8 fights starting at 5PM est on ESPN. Let’s take a quick look at the main card with betting odds for tonight’s event.
Main Card (8pm, ESPN, ESPN+)
“The Reaper” Robert Whittaker vs. “The Gorilla” Darren Till
Odds: Whittaker (-140) Till (+112)
Robert Whittaker makes his return to the octagon hoping to get back in his winning ways. Whittaker has won 9 of 10 fights, suffering a loss to Israel Adesanya for the Middleweight title the last time in the octagon. Darren Till is hoping to build momentum towards a title shot after winning his Middleweight debut over Kelvin Gastellum. The excitement should be strong in this fight, and don’t blink or you might miss the knockout!
Prediction: Whittaker via Unanimous Decision
Light Heavyweight Bout
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. “Minotauro” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Odds: Rua (-200) Nogueira (+160)
The PRIDE veterans are set to do battle after their regularly scheduled bout was cancelled in May due to the coronavirus. The elderly statesmen of the UFC are set to face off for the third time over their MMA careers. “Shogun” owns a 2-0 advantage after scoring unanimous decision victories in both match-ups. Mauricio is hoping to make one last run up the divisional rankings as he’s currently ranked 14th in the Light heavyweight division. “Minotauro” steps into the cage after a 1 year layoff. Nogueira lost rather quickly to Ryan Spann via knockout back in May of 2019. Can Nogueira avoid the sweep from Shogun? Can Rua finish the fight inside 15 minutes?
Prediction: Rua via Unanimous Decision
“Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum vs. “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson
Odds: Gustafsson (-350) Werdum (+260)
“The Mauler” comes out of retirement and is set to make his debut in the Heavyweight division. The revamped Alexander Gustafsson comes into the fight as a new man weighing in at 240lbs. We last saw Gustafsson lay his gloves down in the octagon and say “The show is over”, announcing his retirement after losing to Anthony Smith.. The resurrection of “The Mauler” starts tonight in the heavyweight division against a very formidable opponent, Fabricio Werdum.
Fabricio Werdum is making his second appearance in the cage since serving a suspension from the USADA. Werdum hopes to change his luck as he’s suffered 2 straight defeats in the octagon. Fabricio is 2-3 in his last 5 fights. If the fight gets on the ground, Werdum could have the edge with 11 career submission victories.
Prediction: Gustafsson via KO, 2nd Round
Women’s Strawweight Bout
“Cookie Monster” Carla Esparza vs. Marina Rodriguez
Odds: Rodriguez (-190) Esparza (+150)
The women’s strawweight division gets featured on the main card with two women in the top 10 rankings set to square off in the octagon. Carla Esparza is riding a 3 fight win streak after a split decision win over Michelle Waterson. A win tonight could launch her into the top 5, and a possible title fight down the road. Marina Rodriguez is an interesting prospect. After winning on Dana White’s contender series, she has stayed undefeated in the UFC. What has potentially affected Rodriguez’s UFC ranking is two of her four fights have resulted in a Decision Draw. Both ladies love to go the distance with 17 total wins via decision combined between the fighters. I’m excited for this one, but if I was a betting man, I’m throwing cash down on a decision verdict.
Prediction: Rodriguez via Split Decision
Light Heavyweight Bout
“Bearjew” Paul Craig vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov
Odds: Craig (-140) Antigulov (+112)
Paul Craig is 12-4-1 in his career, and coming off the first decision of his career, an exciting Draw Decision against Mauricio Rua. Craig is 3-2-1 in his last 6 fights. He’s looking to prove he’s the better submission specialist as he tangles with fellow submission artist, Gadzhimurad Antigulov. Gadzhimurad is 2-2 in the UFC. He’s suffered a bit of a layoff by not fighting since last April. This included 4 cancelled bout as a result of 2 withdraws by Antigulov, and corona virus. Antigulov hopes to snap a 2 fight losing streak on Saturday night. The battle of the submission specialists? Will their skill sets cancel each other out? Will they try to stand and trade jabs? I believe a submission wins this fight, but by who?
Prediction: Craig via Submission, 2nd Round
Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira vs. Peter Sobotta
Odds: Oliviera (-160) Sobotta (+128)
The always entertaining Alex Oliveira enters the cage with some momentum after earning a split decision victory over Max Griffin. Oliveira was in the midst of a 3 fight losing streak before that victory. Oliveira brings an exciting fight style along with 12 knockouts to the octagon tonight against Peter Sobotta. Peter comes on the island for his first fight in over 2 years. His last appearance in the octagon resulted in a loss to Leon Edwards. Sobotta will look to get the fight to the ground and add to his 10 wins via submission.
Prediction: Oliviera via KO, 1st Round
Khazmat Chimaev vs. Rhys McKee
Odds: Chimaev (-1250) McKee (+650)
Does the name Khazmat Chimaev ring a bell? If not, go back 10 days and watch his UFC debut. The man was dominant, cocky, and ready to put the UFC welterweight division on notice. Dana White rewarded him with a fight just 10 days later. Khazmat will attempt to become the first UFC fighter to post 2 wins in the cage in just 10 days. He’ll be facing Rhys McKee this evening to open the main card. McKee is making his UFC debut on fight island. The Northern Ireland native is riding a 3 fight win streak in the Cage Warriors promotion. McKee has 7 victories via Knockout. The main card should definitely start off with a bang!
Prediction: Chimaev via KO, 1st Round
Odds provided by http://PointsBet