Tonight, the UFC hosts a two-championship card to kick off their five-week stint at “Fight Island,” at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Headlining the card is a matchup between UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa.
Follow along throughout the evening for live coverage of the event.
Early Preliminary Card (7:00PM EDT / 3:00AM GST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
Preliminary Card (8:00PM EDT / 4:00AM GST) (ESPN 2 / TSN 5)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 6:00AM GST) (PPV)
Bout 11: Israel Adesanya (19-0) vs. Paulo Costa (13-0) (UFC Middleweight Championship)
Adesanya Finishes Costa In Second Round With Strikes, Retains Middleweight Belt
Israel Adesanya defended his UFC Middleweight Championship in the main event, stopping Paulo Costa with strikes in the second round. Adesanya dropped Costa with a left hook late in the round, finishing the fight with strikes on the ground shortly after.
Adesanya had picked Costa apart earlier in the fight, chipping away at him with kicks to the legs and head.
“I had to remind the world why we the best,” said Adesanya in his post-fight interview.
The first round saw Adesanya score a large amount of leg kicks which caused visible damage on the lead leg of Costa.
After the fight, Adesanya targeted Jared Cannonier as his next opponent if he can defeat Robert Whittaker on October 24th.
“I already DM’d Jared Cannonier … He’s the one I want to fight next,” said Adesanya in his post-fight interview.
The fight was Adesanya’s second defense of the middleweight title since taking it from Robert Whittaker in October of 2019.
Adesanya defended his belt for the first time earlier in the year, defeating Yoel Romero via unanimous decision after five rounds.
The fight was Costa’s first in a year, as his last win was a decision over Romero in August of 2019. Prior to that, Costa had four wins in the UFC including a stoppage victory over Uriah Hall.
Bout 10: Dominick Reyes (12-1) vs. Jan Blachowicz (26-8) (Vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship)
Blachowicz Becomes New Light Heavyweight Champion, Stops Reyes In The Second
Catching his opponent with a left hook, Jan Blachowicz finished his fight in the second round, stopping Dominick Reyes to become the new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
The first nine minutes of the fight was at a significantly slower pace than the finish, with both fighters competing in a feeling-out process. The pace increased heavily in the final minute of the second round, with Blachowicz charging forward with combinations of punches.
Blachowicz dropped Reyes with a left hand, landing follow-up punches on the ground before the referee stopped the fight.
Blachowicz came into the fight on a three-fight tear, with wins over Luke Rockhold, Jacare Souza and Corey Anderson from 2019 to 2020.
Reyes fought for the belt earlier in the year, losing a five-round battle to former champion Jon Jones.
The UFC Light Heavyweight Championship was vacated earlier in the year by Jones, who plans to move to heavyweight.
Bout 9: Kai Kara-France (21-8) vs. Brandon Royval (11-4) (Flyweight)
Royval Stops Kara-France In The Second
Getting his second win in the UFC, Brandon Royval caught Kai Kara-France in the second round with a guillotine choke. The finish came after a hectic first round that saw both fighters drop each other with strikes.
The first minute saw Royval get dropped by an overhand right. He responded quickly, getting up and flooring Kara-France with a spinning back elbow.
Royval was critical on his performance afterwards, mentioning how he was hurt in the first round.
“I was gonna call someone out in top five, but I gotta work out some s***,” said Royval in his post-fight interview.
Royval made his UFC debut last May, defeating Tim Elliott in the second round with an arm triangle choke. Prior to his UFC run, Royval was the LFA Flyweight Champion.
Bout 8: Ketlen Vieira (10-1) vs. Sijara Eubanks (6-4) (Bantamweight)
Vieira Returns To Win Column With Decision Against Eubanks
Getting back in the win column, Kelten Vieira defeated Sijara Eubanks with a unanimous decision.
Vieira had sharp striking throughout the fight, also being able to keep Eubanks on the ground for a significant amount of time in the second round.
Eubanks significantly increased her striking in the final round. In-between the second and the third round, Eubanks’ team told her she is likely trailing on the scorecards.
Eubanks took the fight on short notice, replacing Marion Reneau. Her previous fight was on September 12th, defeating Julia Avila.
Vieira’s previous fight was the first loss of her career, being stopped in the first round by Irene Aldana last December.
Bout 7: Hakeem Dawodu (11-1-1) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (19-4-1) (Featherweight)
Dawodu Picks Up Split Decision Win Over Tukhugov
A close striking battle went the way of Hakeem Dawodu, who picked up a split decision win over Zubaira Tukhugov to kick off the main card. Dawodu’s best work was late in the fight, as in the third round he walked Tukhugov down and landed impactful strikes.
Dawodu expressed frustration because of the last round the last round, as he had to advance Tukhugov, who continued to backpedal.
“As everybody could see, he was running,” said Dawodu in his post-fight interview.
Dawodu also mentioned he felt his fight played a big role as he represents the Black community on a big stage.
“They’re trying to make fun of us, they’re trying to bring us down,” said Dawodu.
Earlier in the week, Dawodu called out comments Colby Covington recently, referring to them as racist.
Tukhugov missed weight for the fight, coming in four pounds over the limit for featherweights.
UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was in the corner of Tukhugov.
Dawodu came into the fight on a four-fight streak of wins.
Bout 6: Brad Riddell (8-1) vs. Alex da Silva (21-2) (Lightweight)
Riddell Earns Sixth Consecutive Win, Defeating da Silva
Being able to out-strike and finish strong, Brad Riddell picked up a decision victory over Alex da Silva to finish the preliminary card.
Riddell came back from a first round that he lost and started to take over in the second round. He landed a higher volume of punches to da Silva through the final 10 minutes. The momentum continued to swing his way as the fight went into the final round.
The first round saw da Silva land a few takedowns and hold his own on the feet.
A pause came in the third round as da Silva protested an eye poke. The corner of Riddell protested the stoppage heavily as the eye strike came from a legal punch, with a knuckle of Riddell getting in the eye of da Silva.
Riddell earned his sixth-straight MMA win with the fight, including wins in the UFC over Jamie Mullarkey and Magomed Mustafaev.
Bout 5: Diego Sanchez (30-12) vs. Jake Matthews (16-4) (Welterweight)
Matthews Wins All Three Rounds Over Sanchez
Earning his third-straight UFC win, Jake Matthews picked up a decision victory over veteran fighter Diego Sanchez. The fight saw Matthews dominate Sanchez with strikes throughout.
Matthews out-scored Sanchez with punches on the feet for the first two rounds of the fight. Matthews dropped Sanchez with a punch early in the third round, staying in control with strikes on top for the rest of the round.
Matthews was thrilled about his win after the fight.
“I just beat Diego Sanchez, it’s pretty surreal,” said Matthews in his post-fight interview.
Matthews was heavily favoured to win the bout in Las Vegas sportsbooks.
The previous fight for Sanchez was a win, as an illegal knee from Michel Periera disqualified him last February.
Matthews previously had wins over Rostem Akman and Emil Weber Meek.
Bout 4: Shane Young (13-4) vs. Ludovit Klein (16-2) (Featherweight)
Klein Stops Young Early In UFC Debut
Ludovit Klein made an impact in his UFC debut, stopping Shane Young in the second minute with strikes. Klein won the fight by landing a series of punches that hurt Young and caused a quick conclusion to the contest.
After Klein scored a punch and head kick, a combination of punches dropped Young, causing the referee to step in and end the fight.
Klein was a short-notice opponent for Young, replacing Nate Landwehr. He entered the fight on a seven-fight streak of wins. He missed weight for the fight, coming in four pounds over the non-championship featherweight limit.
The fight was Young’s return to action, as his previous fight was in early 2019, defeating Austin Arnett at UFC 234.
Young is one of the many fighters on the card representing New Zealand-based gym City Kickboxing, including main event fighter Israel Adesanya.
Bout 3: William Knight (8-1) vs. Aleksa Camur (6-0) (Light Heavyweight)
Knight Dominates In UFC Debut, Gives Camur First Loss
William Knight had a successful debut on the preliminary card, picking up a scorecard victory and handing the first loss to Aleksa Camur. The three-round fight saw Knight control with takedowns and control on the ground.
Knight scored numerous takedowns in the fight, often being able to move into positions like side control and full mount.
Knight closed the second round strong, moving into full mount and attempting a keylock just before the round expired.
Knight earned his UFC contract earlier in the month, defeating Cody Brundage on an episode of “Dana White’s Contender Series.”
Camur made his UFC debut in his previous fight, defeating Justin Ledet in January.
Bout 2: Jeff Hughes (10-3) vs. Juan Espino (9-1) (Heavyweight)
TUF Winner Espino Is Successful In Return
Juan Espino had a quick return to action on the prelims, submitting Jeff Hughes in the first round with an arm triangle choke.
The fight came after Espino landed numerous takedowns earlier in the round.
Espino’s previous fight was in 2018, where he won season 28 of “The Ultimate Fighter” by defeating Justin Frazier.
“I never lost the motivation, I never lost my dream … My dream is to fight in the UFC,” said Espino in his post-fight interview, commenting on his return.
Through four fights in the UFC, Hughes has yet to win a fight, three of which are losses.
Bout 1: Khadis Ibragimov (8-3) vs. Danilo Marques (9-2) (Light Heavyweight)
Marques Wins UFC Debut, Hands Ibragimov Fourth-Straight Loss
A fatigued light heavyweight battle kicked off the card, as Danilo Marques used his takedown abilities to earn a debut victory over Khadis Ibragimov. The fight saw Marques control the fight with takedown attempts and control on the ground for three rounds before getting a decision victory.
Ibragimov was warned for grabbing the fence to resist takedowns numerous times in the fight.
Having lost the fight, Ibragimov, a former M-1 Middleweight Champion, has lost four-straight bouts in the UFC. Prior to his UFC debut, Ibragimov was undefeated as a pro.
The fight was the UFC debut for Marques, entering the promotion after an 11-fight career on the regional circuit. His most recent fight prior to Saturday was in early 2018.