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UFC Fight Island: Dubai boy Lazzez shines on debut, Kattar nails Ige

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 16, 2020 | Last updated on July 16, 2020 at 08.36 am
Mounir Lazzez,  UFC debut, UFC,Fight Island, Abu Dhabi

There were six under-cards with exciting knockout wins and new stars emerge.

Dubai resident Mounir ‘The Sniper’ Lazzez made his mark on the UFC debut with a sensational win in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, Calvin Kattar nailed Dan Ige in the main event to make a strong claim for featherweight title fight against Alexander Volkanovski.

Lazzez was the real star of the day. Making his UFC debut in the welterweight division bout, he walked out by 6 am to open the main card event in the Flash Forum. Lazzez was amazingly calm when attacked and violent in his response against a ferocious Abdul Razak Al Hassan who’s on a record 10 first-round knockouts against one loss – the second highest KO rate in the UFC history.
As expected, Al Hassan started the encounter with ruthless punches and just when it seemed Lazzez was in a spot, the Tunisian expatriate hit back with his own set of head kicks.

Lazzez with a strong takedown stretched Al Hassan into the second round.

Next up, Lazzez threw in everything – strong punches, firm jabs, massive elbows, hard kicks, strikes and a couple of takedowns. The 32-year-old Dubai lad was very technical with well-rounded skills and solid ground game to claim the fight on unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 and 29-28). Truly a star is born.

“It’s been a long journey. I love being an underdog. So far in my career, I have been against the odds. But I like to shut the people, the world. This belief has come from my hard work. I am blessed to show my skills internationally. This is just the beginning. You will see me hungrier. I have waited for this a long time. I could show a little bit of my skill today.”

Lazzez, who has so far fought in Dubai and the region has now joined the big boys. And he even called out to ‘Platinum’ Mike Perry to be his next opponent. He also had UFC president Dana White walk up to him to congratulate.


Kattar makes a statement for title shot


Calvin Kattar ended the six-win run of Dan Ige in the main event of the Fight Island.  Kattar, the featherweight division number six, made a case for the title shot with a (49-46, 49-46 and 48-47) unanimous verdict victory over Ige at the Flash Forum.

Both the fighters showed great skills and techniques in the opening rounds. But Ige lost steam and Kattar punished him in the final rounds. A dominant Kattar left Ige with a swollen eye. There was great appreciation among the American opponents as both teams posed together for a post-fight group photo.

“He was a tough kid. It wasn’t easy but I got the job done. It seems everyone is calling out the champ right now but doing that from the comfort of their homes. I am going out there and fighting it. If the champ wants some contenders, he got one in me,” Kattar said after extending his win-loss record to 25-4.

Meanwhile, Ige noted that he will emerge as a better fighter from this loss.

“I tested myself against the best in the world. I went through five rounds. I have never been before five rounds, so I know I can push it. I have to work on technical errors. I am going to get better and win again,” Ige added.


Tim Elliott tames Ryan Benoit


In the co-main event, flyweight division veteran Tim Elliott saw off a challenge from Ryan Benoit. Both fighters were returning from losses and produced a 15-minute close encounter with a healthy number of strikes and takedowns. There was a sense of urgency as the fight progressed and Benoit made a late charge but it came too late. Elliott won a unanimous 29-28 verdict.

 

"I feel great. He brought the best out of me. I am lucky to get some good opponents. It was tough to take takedowns. I relied on my striking. For the first time I landed my jab more than once. I am ready to go right away for another fight," the 33-year-old Elliott said.


Jimmie Rivera shines on return


In an all American clash bantamweight, Jimmie Rivera was able to prevail over Cody Stamann and return to winning ways. In an equally-match bout, Rivera showed better control to win on unanimous decision: 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. Rivera extended his record to 22 wins from 25 fights.

 

After his first fight in over a year and two losses, he said: "I took this fight last-minute. I am happy to get back in the cage. It was hard to get my groove off. Cody was playing it smart. I felt a bit of gas sink. I need to get my cardio better and hopefully will get longer of my camp before I get another fight. I want to get back in better shape and give a better result to fans."


Santos ends McCann's win streak


Brazilian Taila Santos, in only her second UFC appearance, ended Englishwoman Molly McCann's three-win streak in women's flyweight division.

 

Santos had made her debut recently but was able to dictate terms on the mat. Santos extended advantage with dominant rounds to secure unanimous 30-27 verdict over three rounds.

"I was nervous on debut and wasn't even 10 per cent of the fighter but today I was focussed. Molly is a very tough fighter. So this win gives me a lot of confidence," Santos said.


Preliminary Cards


Starting 3am, there were six under-cards, which threw up exciting knockout wins and new names emerge.

Khamzat Chimaev shines on debut

Debutant Khamzat Chimaev from Sweden mauled an experienced Welshman John Philips in the middleweight division bout. Chimaev was all over Philips from the word go and in the second round, didn't waste time to set up a submission move to win in one minute and 12 seconds via D'Arce choke.

 

"I feel amazing. My coach told me to take him down and smash him. I did that. I am hungry for one more fight. I will wait here. I want to be the champion," Chimaev said.  


Lerone Murphy floors Ricardo Ramos

Englishman Lerone Murphy kept his unbeaten record intact with a first-round win over Brazilian Ricardo Ramos in the featherweight division. In a closely fought match, Murphy trapped Ramos in a corner and unleashed brutal punches to take the bout on technical knockout in four minutes 18 seconds.

 

After his ninth result and sixth first-round finish, Murphy said: "I had trained for all facets. After the first punch, I saw him give up, so I kept punching. The power I have in my right hand is like a sledge."  


Bukauskas knocks down Michailidis

In the light heavyweight clash of debutants, Lithuanian Modestas Bukauskas knocked down Andreas Michailidis from Greece. The first round saw both on their feet trading heavy punches until a late flurry of elbow knockout landed Bukauskas the fight.

 

"I have been waiting for this moment for my whole life. Those shots were clean. I will build on this performance and go for bigger ones," Bukauskas said. "My debut could not have got any better."
 


Jarden Gordon dominates Chris Fishgold

American Jarden Gordon defeated Englishman Chris Fishgold in the featherweight division via 30-26 unanimous decision across three rounds. Overall, Gordon had a control time of 10 minutes 22 seconds out of 15 minutes. Gordon has now won seven of the last 10 fights at a 16-4 win-loss record.

 

"I crushed him. I got the job done. I am ready for a lot more. I plan to be in the UFC for a long time," the 31-year-old Gordon said. "I dedicate this to my girl who had a miscarriage," Gordon said.
 


Liana Jojua pins down Diana Belbita

In women's flyweight division action, Liana Jojua in Georgia took just two minutes and 23 seconds to get an arm bar submission move over Romania's Diana Belbita. 'She Wolf' Jojua now has an 8-3 win-loss record with her fifth career arm bar move.

 


After her sixth first-round victory, Jojua said: "This submission move is no surprise move for me. I have finished seven out of eight wins." 


Jack Shore remains undefeated

In the bantamweight division, Jack Shore continued his unbeaten run with a rear-naked choke submission win over Aaron Phillips to maintain a 13-0 record. Welshman Shore dominated from the bell and forced the American to tap out in the second round in two minutes 29 seconds. It was third consecutive and seventh overall rear-naked choke submission win for Shore.

 

"I should have finished in the first round but can't complain as I did it in the second. I would like to return here in October," the 25-year-old Shore said.

Ashwani Kumar


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