UFC Fight Island 6: The Unknown
By; Clint MacLean (@DieHardMMAPod)
Last week I predicted that UFC Fight Island 5 would be wild, and I was more right than even I thought I would be. We had the biggest favorite on the card damn near lose the fight against an opponent who should’ve been easy work. There were no less than five big underdogs who showed up to destroy the fighters favored over them by the bookies. We were treated to a potential KO of the year contender, and even being a man who bet on Cory Sandhagen, I did not expect him to be as dominant as he was in the main event. I am pulling my crystal ball out again for UFC Fight Island 6, but this week is more of a cautionary tale because we simply don’t know what we are getting ourselves into this week.
Buckley’s KO is the fourth knockout in UFC history stemming from a spinning back kick to the head, per @ESPNStatsInfo. He joins Renan Barao, Uriah Hall, and Magomed Mustafaev. pic.twitter.com/8nzxfCMLEm
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 10, 2020
The night starts off with Said Nurmagomedov welcoming Mark Striegl to the UFC. Mark is the only fighter I have ever seen make it to the big show after kneeing his opponent in the junk to defend his title. Mark is a physical specimen who has been looking very good on the regional scene as of late, but he is wildly untrustworthy. Mark dives on legs and forces the takedown, and when he gets you on the floor, you are in serious danger. The issue comes when Mark is not able to get that submission! At 18-2, Mark has been more dominant than not, but the several times he has lost, he has looked like a fish out of water. On his best day, Mark looks like a world-beater, but which version is showing up on Saturday? As a gigantic +325 underdog, I wouldn’t hate rolling the dice on him, but you can’t be upset when he hits the canvas unconscious.
The second fight is one where we have Maxim Grishin in his 2nd UFC outing, taking on the fastest fighter in the UFC. Now obviously, Antigulov is not ACTUALLY the fastest fighter in the UFC, but he does have the quickest fights. Antigulov simply doesn’t like being in there. He either finishes his opponent off in 2 minutes, or he completely gasses himself, trying, and goes out on his shield. This is a fight where if you want to roll some dice, you have another big juicy underdog who is extremely dangerous early, but I would actually suggest the under here. Grishin is not a huge finisher, but when Antigulov has nothing left to give and 3 minutes left in the round, I feel Maxim can re-introduce himself to the UFC fans in a big way.
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) May 13, 2017
The main card of UFC Fight Island 6 kicks off in a similar fashion when Thomas Almeida returns to action after two years off. Welcoming his back is the streaking Jonathan Martinez, who will be stepping into the cage for the 3rd time this year. Thomas Almeida was once the hottest prospect in the division, but then he ran into Cody Garbrandt, who was on his way to the title at the time. Almeida seems to have had his chin cracked in that fight and went 1-3 in his last four before deciding to take some time off. Almeida is incredibly well rounded and dangerous everywhere, but the issue with laying the chalk to trust him is we have no idea how he will look after two years. He might have been training hard the entire time. Learning and growing while letting his body heal. We might see Almeida 2.0 on Saturday. We also might see a Thomas who has nothing left in the tank. While I am not convinced that Jonathan Martinez is headed for the title, I cannot trust the chin of Thomas Almeida with my cash.
Wait for it. Wait for it …
— SBR Sports Picks (@SBRSportsPicks) July 13, 2019
Claudio Silva is taking on James Krause as we near the top of the card, and Krause is once again coming in on short notice to save the show. Krause pulled this move a few months ago, but up a weight class at 185 against Trevin Giles and was robbed blind by the judges. Krause is coming into this fight with a chip on his shoulder and is facing a BJJ master who is getting up there in years. Claudio has been a submission and grappling machine so far and is undefeated in the UFC, but will father time come for him. Will Claudio Silva look old on Saturday? Krause has an extremely efficient striking game, and he is a BJJ black belt himself. If Krause can keep this fight standing more often than not, I think he can make Silva finally look his age.
— WhatsUpSE (@WhatsUpSE) November 17, 2019
The Co-Main event is another spot where there are so many questions. Former 115 champion Jessica Andrade is moving up a class and will be taking on perennial contender Katlyn Chookagian. Jessica has relied on her strength and power her entire career, and at 115, she has proven to be too much for most women, but at 125, will it translate? Chookagian is going to have a massive 8-inch height advantage, and a 6-inch reach advantage. These two do not belong in the same division, and I have a hard time understanding all the love for the smaller fighter here. Chookagian is an expert at range control and will keep the former champion at the end of her jab. The weakness for Chookagian is the ground game, but can Andrade get a woman that much larger than her down? And if so, can she keep her there?
— Christian 🦁 (@SpazzLion) May 12, 2019
The main event is yet another fight where we see a fighter coming back from an extremely long layoff. Brian Ortega’s last fight was in 2018, where he had a record for significant strikes set on his face. Ortega needed a full year off to recover and was sidelined by an injury requiring a surgery to his knee. Now, after two years, we see Ortega return, but what Ortega will we see? Ortega is an absolute wizard on the ground, and he has a squeeze that few can match. He has been adding tools and has been working to improve himself, so will he have added wrestling to compliment his BJJ, or will he fancy himself a striker these days? Standing across the cage from Ortega is The Korean Zombie, who is a technical striker who is willing to brawl and has the power to put down just about anybody. The Zombie has been in wars and has also destroyed his opponents in a matter of seconds. This fight will depend highly on what Ortega steps into the cage. Every way an MMA fight can end is on the table in this fight. We could see Ortega choke The Zombie out in the first round. We could see The Zombie clip and KO Ortega early. We could be treated to fight of the year! I don’t know how these fights are going to go… but I cannot wait for Saturday to find out.