Fight Island: The Debut Late Notice Show
Written by Emjay on October 12, 2020
The main card on Yas Island this weekend held a special place for many South African fight fans with the announcement two weeks ago that local MMA superstar Dricus du Plessis would make his UFC debut as a short notice replacement to fight Markus Perez. Du Plessis was one of three short notice fighters all making their UFC debuts at this weekend’s event.
The first of these was in the featherweight bout with the undefeated Topuria stepping in on 8-days notice to take on the Moroccan standout Zalal. Multiple submission attempts throughout the fight for Topuria along with superb ground defence by Zalal made for a spectacular display of jiu-jitsu in the opening bout of the main card. A physically drained Topuria was able to survive a final onslaught from Zalal to win by decision and continue his undefeated streak in his UFC debut.
Next up saw the former EFC title contender Alan Baudot take on Tom Aspinal in the first of two heavyweight clashes. Aspinal would make quick work of Baudot and improve to a 5-fight win streak with the quick GnP win. Much is spoken about Tom Aspinal but the jury is still out as we have not seen Aspinal tested as yet following just over 2 minutes of cage time in the UFC so far.
The next bout was arguably the most important fight of the night – for South African fight fans anyway – with the middleweight clash between Dricus du Plessis and Markus Perez. Du Plessis with the 100% finish rate, up was up against a man who had never been finished in his professional career. What a dream debut is was for the former double division EFC Champ as he announced his arrival to the octagon with a 1st Rnd face-plant KO!
The heavyweight clash between Marcin Tybura v Ben Rothwell was a battle in a phone booth with a high number of strikes being thrown along with that that single TD going the way of Tybura in the final round. The decision went in the favour of Tybura who is now on a 3- fight win streak.
The Co-Main event was the featherweight clash between Makwan Amirkhani and Edson Barboza – the first fight in this division for Barboza. The straight jab was the difference between the two with multiple knockdowns going the way of Barboza who picked up the UD win over Amirkhani, his first win at featherweight and first since Dec 2018!
The Main vent between Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen was meant to be an all-out war to determine the next contender for the bantamweight strap. Sandhagen showed how much of a problem he is for any in the division by knocking out the number one contender with a beautiful spinning head-kick – certainly a title shot is next for the Sandman.
Finally, not many fight fans noticed the MASSIVE MISTAKE by the UFC in promoting the upcoming UFC 254 headliner. The bizarre spelling of “Gaejthe” used by the UFC on the cage padding has to be a complete slap in the face of the interim champ Justin Gaethje who posted the following on Twitter “maybe they should just go with Khabib vs Justin“! I believe he has a point.
While Dricus du Plessis may have stolen the show for many SA fight fans, it will be the enziguri KO kick from Joaquin Buckley that will be the biggest talking point for quite some time – probably one of the most unbelievable KOs you’ll ever see!