The UFC utilizes “Fight Island”, once again as the host for UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs Benavidez tonight, Saturday, July 18th.
Five days removed from UFC on ESPN 13, the promotion brings another loaded fight card to the Flash Forum on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
The main event features Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez in a Flyweight matchup. Jack Hermansson vs Kelvin Gastelum will serve as the co-main event of the evening.
In the opening bout of the main card, Alexandre Pantoja takes on undefeated, Askar Akarov in a flyweight barn burner.
Alexandre Pantoja was coined as the official back up fighter for the main event, in case anything went awry and Pantoja’s services would be needed to fill the main event. However, the main event weigh-in, went to plan and Pantoja is fully focused on his task at hand in Askar Akarov.
Askar Akarov, undefeated in his career thus far, Askar Akarov is a strong grappler whose 2 fights in the octagon have gone the distance. In his last outing, he bested Tim Elliot in a unanimous decision victory at UFC 246. Tonight he looks to keep his undefeated momentum going to kick off this “Fight Island” main card.
Pantoja immediately goes to work and Askarov switches levels, looking for the takedown. Pantoja is immediately looking for a neck as the two fighters scramble. Askarov lands on top. Askarov lifts Pantoja while looking to secure a triangle to an armbar. Askarov is looking to better his position and Pantoja looks to get a leg when I Askarov stands for a heel hook. The fighters stand and Askarov takes him to the ground, again. Pantoja makes his way back to his feet as Askarov has him pressed against the cage. Pantoja rolls forward looking for a leg. The fighters separate briefly and Askarov gets the action against the fence, once again. The fighters hit the canvas again, Pantoja has a beautiful escape through the back door to take Askarov’s back. Pantoja locks the body triangle and goes to work looking to secure the arm under the neck. With 10 seconds left, he doesn’t have enough time to finish as the first bell sounds.
MyMMANews scores round one for Alexandre Pantoja. 10-9
Askarov as the first to come out with his Askarov is the first to engage, throwing his hands and Pantoja returns fire, with Askarov looking to switch levels. Pantoja fends the takedown off and the Fighters work their way back to center-cage. Pantoja and Askarov trade punches and kicks in the center of the cage until Pantoja lands a heavy body kick. Askarov blitzes forward looking to get into a scrap, pressing Pantoja against the fence. The fighter’s return to center-cage and get back to work, trading heavy punches. Askarov gets the bout to the floor and Pantoja is immediately looking for submission attacks from the bottom. The fight returns to the feet momentarily. Askarov is wearing on his man putting his weight on Pantoja against the fence. Askarov is scoring takedowns but Pantoja’s bouncing back up. In the last minute of the second round, Pantoja is breathing heavily while Askarov isn’t backing down an inch, pressing him against the fence multiple times and dragging him down. Pantoja scrambles and secures the back at the end of the round, again. Askarov escapes, works to side control to close round 2.
MyMMANews.com scores round 2 for Askar Askarov. 10-9
The fighters hug as a sign of good sportsmanship to start this round and get to work. Neither fighter waste time throwing their hands with Askarov Landing the best of the two. Pantoja lands a punch combo that drops Askarov in his tracks. Pantoja follows his man to the ground but Askarov gets to his feet, easily. Askarov is piecing together his punch combinations on the feet while Pantoja is getting desperate and looking to take the fight to the mat. Pantoja charges forward with his own punch combination and Askarov lands a solid right hand that backs Pantoja up. The fighters reengage with two minutes left on the clock, landing few clean punches. The fighters have a brief standoff with minimal action. Askarov gets back to business with a downward kick below the knee, and the fighters get back to swinging. With seconds left, both fighters swing for the fence with Askarov landing one more clean right hook for good measure.
MyMMANews scores round 3 for Askar Askarov. 10-9
Official decision: Askar Askarov wins via unanimous decision. (29-28 on all three judges scorecards)
Currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Wilmington University, Adam’s passion for the sport only grows stronger when a fighter’s voice can be heard. He thrives on asking detailed questions to inspire the thoughts behind the punches in hopes that each fighter can find their proper justice. Specializing in pre and post fight interviews for MyMMANews, Adam strives to keep the fight fans up to speed with the most recent and authentic MMA news possible.
He is Co-promoter of Delaware’s premier kick-boxing and Muay Thai organization, IBF Promotions. Recently he has also accompanied MMA organizations Global Proving Ground and XCC as Co-host and ringside commentator.