New Star Emerges At Fight Island
UFC’s first stint at Fight Island closed with a historic evening, as Khamzat Chimaev became the first MMA fighter to collect two UFC wins in 10 days.
The Swedish welterweight made quick work of Rhys McKee with a first-round TKO at Fight Island 3, 10 days after Chimaev scored a victory against John Phillips.
The breakout star at UFC’s event held in Abu Dhabi, Chimaev caught the attention of his contemporaries across the sport.
Of course, the record-setting performance also caught the eye of the man in charge, Dana White. According to Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, UFC is planning to have Chimaev on the card for UFC 252 on Aug. 15.
The undefeated (8-0-0) Chimaev looks ready and willing to take on the challenge, too.
Chimaev has been so impressive that lightweight Paul Felder joked on ESPN's broadcast about refusing to take the call from White for a fight.
Other highlights from Fight Island 3 on Saturday included a potential storybook ending for Fabricio Werdum and a return to winning ways for Robert Whittaker.
The 42-year-old Werdum registered a win via submission on Alexander Gustafsson in the first round for his first victory since Nov. 18, 2017.
Werdum detailed the importance of the performance in an emotional post-fight interview.
“I’m very happy now … I’m almost crying now.”
Whittaker, meanwhile, narrowly squeaked past Darren Till in a unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) in the evening’s main event. In Whittaker’s eyes, a rematch with Israel Adesanya would be the ideal scenario.
After a 14-day stay on Fight Island, White and the UFC can almost certainly call the experiment a success. The sport’s next event will be held next weekend in Las Vegas, with Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan headlining the card.
Earlier this month, however, White told reporters that if Nevada is forced to shut down due to COVID-19, the UFC could look to shift its August schedule back to Fight Island. Either way, Khamzat Chimaev will be ready.