During his in-cage interview, Ortega tried to deliver a message to his haters.
“For all you who counted me out,” Ortega told UFC commentator Daniel Cormier during the ESPN broadcast, “Learn to count (expletive).” That was the only misstep Ortega made on Saturday night.
Ortega had not fought since Max Holloway ran over him in December 2018, winning that bout by doctor stoppage before the start of the fifth round. In the lead up to the Jung bout, Ortega said he had made many changes since that defeat, but that’s something we’ve heard before from other fighters. On Saturday night, Ortega showed everyone that he hadn’t made false claims about the positive changes he made during his time away from the octagon.
As for the co-main event, former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade moved up to 125-pounds and after less than five minutes she might have secured herself a shot at flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko with a TKO victory over Katlyn Chookagian.
Read on for the winners and losers from the UFC Fight Island 6 event...
Brian Ortega: The days of looking at Ortega as a fighter who snatches victory from the jaws of defeat with a late finish in the last round of a fight ceased on Saturday when a new and improved Ortega ended a break of nearly two years with the best performance of his UFC career.
Ortega, who was looked at as a submission artist above all before he faced Chan Sung Jung in the main event of UFC Fight Island 6 showed that has developed into a true mixed martial artist. He landed a career high in significant strikes and striking percentage on his way to a unanimous decision win.
Ortega entered the Jung matchup with a UFC career significant striking rate of 33 percent, Ortega landed 59 percent of his significant strikes against Jung.
This win should be a huge confidence builder for Ortega. It should affirm to him and his team that all the work they did when he was out of action was worth it and that they are on the right track with the 29-year-old and that he is a better fighter than the one who faced Max Holloway in 2018.
Jessica Andrade: Andrade ended a two-fight losing skid and made a huge statement on Saturday night. After losing her strawweight title to Weili Zhang and then dropping a split decision to Rose Namajunas, Andrade moved to 125 pounds. The UFC seemed interested in seeing what Andrade could do at flyweight, matched her against the No. 1 ranked Katlyn Chookagian.
Andrade should send a thank you note to the UFC matchmakers for that decision. Andrade, who stared her UFC career at 135 pounds, stopped Chookagian in the first round with a nasty body punch. Don’t be surprised if Andrade lands herself a 125-pound title fight with this win.
Jimmy Crute: Crute picked up his fourth first-round stoppage in the UFC on Saturday with some nasty punches. The 24-year-old is now 5-1 in the UFC and has yet to go the distance with the promotion.
Crute was unranked before this event and I’m not sure a win over Modestas Bukauskas will earn him a spot in the top-15, but he called out top-10 ranked Nikita Krylov on Saturday. A win there would put Crute in the rankings for sure.
In a division that lacks a great deal of depth, Crute is someone to watch.
James Krause: Krause looked good in his short-notice fight against Claudio Silva. As he said in his post-fight interview, Krause knew he needed to stop the takedowns of his opponent. He did that, stopping 10 of the 12 takedowns Silva attempted in the three round contest. Silva hurt Krause’s knee early and that limited Krause’s movement, as did his cardio, which Krause said was not up to par because of lack of preparation time. Krause did an excellent job of using long single strikes to keep Silva at distance.
Jonathan Martinez: The 26-year-old Jonathan Martinez took a big leap up the featherweight ladder on Saturday with an impressive decision win over Thomas Almeida. It was not the just the victory that was outstanding it was how Martinez got the win. He used a good mix of striking and capitalized on Almeida overextending himself with his striking. Martinez’s movement and counters were outstanding and Almeida had no answer for those attacks.
Guram Kutateladze: We’ve heard fighters say that they’ve disagreed with the scores in a fight before, but I don’t recall someone arguing as vehemently as Kutateladze did after his decision win over Mateusz Gamrot. It was a bit uncomfortable, but it was also something that deserved a tip of the cap.
Kutateladze looked good against the former KSW lightweight champion, who entered the bout with a 17-0 record. Kutateladze did a great job shutting down the grappling of Gamrot.
Gillian Robertson: Robertson dominated Poliana Botelho for the final 10 minutes of their bout. When Robertson’s hand was raised in victory, she did not look satisfied and she wasn’t. Robertson, who had finishes in all of her previous UFC wins, was disappointed that she could not wrap things up before the final bell. I understand that, but her top control and ground strikes earned her a good decision win in this one. A very good performance from Robertson.
Jun Yong Park: after Park’s win over John Phillips, his coach pointed out that Park had cauliflower ear for the first time in his career. The message was that Park had worked a lot on his wrestling for the Phillips fight. That strategy worked well.
Park scored four takedowns on four attempts and landed a UFC record 258 ground strikes on his way to a one-sided win.
Maxim Grishin: Grishin fought a controlled first round. In the second stanza, he took advantage of what his opponent, Gadzhimurad Antigulov gave him. He teed off with elbows from the mount and then unloaded a flurry of punches when the two went back to standing. It didn’t hurt Grishin that Antigulov’s defense was to cover up and not work out of the bad spots nor throw strikes in return.
Said Nurmagomedov: Nurmagomedov bounced back from a December 2019 decision loss to Raoni Barcelos with an all violence knockout win over Mark Striegl. Nurmagomedov wobbled Striegl with a counter left and then took advantage of Striegl’s mistake of holding onto a single leg takedown. Nurmagomedov, with his leg in the grasp of his opponent, landed nasty punches to wrap things up in 51 seconds. Don’t expect Nurmagomedov to open more UFC events.
Chan Sung Jung: There are two questions about Jung’s performance against Brian Ortega. The first, was it an off night for “The Korean Zombie?” The second, did Ortega make Jung look bad?
If I was forced to answer that inquiry, I would go with the latter. I think Ortega’s approach was unexpected and overwhelming and Jung and his team had no answer for what Ortega brought to the fight.
Whatever the answer, Jung lost and lost badly in a fight that could have earned him a second UFC title shot.
Katlyn Chookagian: Chookagian had a huge advantage of Jessica Andrade in both height and reach, but she spent far too much time fighting at the distance her opponent preferred and that cost her as Andrade was able to land a punch to the body against the cage that badly hurt Chookagian. Another strike to the body wrapped things up for Andrade. There’s little doubt that the first-round loss will cost Chookagian her spot at the top of the 125-pound women’s rankings.
Modestas Bukauskas: Bukauskas entered his fight opposite Jimmy Crute on a seven-fight winning streak with all of those bouts ending by stoppage. That run ended abruptly on Saturday when Crute cracked Bukauskas with a counter right. This was not a good night for Bukauskas.
Claudio Silva: Silva’s 14-fight winning streak came to an end on Saturday when he lost a unanimous decision to James Krause. Two things cost Silva the fight. First was his inability to get the fight to he ground. Second was his poor striking style, which was undisciplined, looping and easily countered.
Thomas Almeida: Almeida was out of action for nearly three years before he faced Jonathan Martinez on Fight Island. Almeida said the time off did him well and allowed him to develop. I’m not sure I agree with that assessment after seeing him lose to Martinez.
Almeida got caught admiring his striking too often and left himself too open to counters. Yes, Martinez looked excellent, but let’s not forget that Almeida had quite the hype train after opening his UFC career on a 4-0 run with three knockouts.
Today, Almeida is 5-4 with the promotion and on a three-fight losing skid. His most recent win was a 2016 TKO over Albert Morales, who went 1-4-1 in the UFC.
Poliana Botelho: Botelho kept her fight with Gillian Robertson off the mat for most of the first round. However, Botelho failed to do so in the second or third round and she spent most of the final 10 minutes at the mercy of Robertson’s ground strikes
John Phillips: Any fighter who gets booked against Philips needs to work on his takedowns. Phillips was taken down easily by Jun Yong Park and then spent more than 13 minutes getting punched in the head on the mat. Not good, not good at all for Philips, who lost 30-25 on all scorecards.
Jamie Mullarkey: The judges gave Mullarkey a valuable less on Saturday. That lesson was that you can get as many takedowns as you want, but if you aren’t aggressive on the mat, those takedowns are for naught. Mullarkey scored five takedowns against Fares Ziam, but he didn’t throw a single significant strike on the ground nor did he attempt a submission and with that he lost the fight.
Ziam also delivered a message to Mullarkey, don’t show frustration when your opponent refuses to fight to your strengths.
There was a lot of value in this loss, it’s up to Mullarkey to look at that as a positive
Gadzhimurad Antigulov: Antigulov did not have a good fight. He failed on a guillotine attempt and that led to him getting mounted in the second round. However, he was in the position to push off the cage and escape, which he eventually did, but not until he took a lot of unnecessary elbows to the head. Antigulov allowed his opponent, Maxim Grishin, to score with strikes at will and did not offer much in the way of working out of bad positions.
Mark Striegl: Said Nurmagomedov got caught by a counter left in the early going of their bout. The blow put him on the mat and led to Striegl shooting for a single leg takedown. The shot was not a deep one and that allowed Nurmagomedov the time and space he needed to tee off with some heavy punches. Despite getting tagged, Striegl held Nurmagomedov’s leg, which was a mistake. If Striegl was on autopilot, that’s understandable, but if he decided to not separate and retreat, that was a terrible decision, as it led to the fight ending inside the first minute.
Mateusz Gamrot: Gamrot came into his bout opposite Guram Kutateladze with a lot of hype. He had a 17-0 record, a KSW belt and some betting sites had him as high as a 3-1 favorite. Things did not go Gamrot’s way in his UFC debut as he was on the wrong side of a split decision.
This was a fun fight and even though he lost, there was enough in Gamrot’s performance to think he will learn something from his first career defeat and be all the better for it the next time he sets foot inside the octagon.
Fares Ziam: Ziam fought a smart first round against Jamie Mullarkey. He forced Mullarkey to pursue him around the cage and his striking looked better than that of his opponent. He was also unwilling to accept Mullarkey’s takedowns.
Ziam slowed as the fight wore on and he began his accept the takedowns and spend too much time on his back on the mat. Ziam might have won the fight on the scorecards, but the reality of the situation was that Mullarkey more lost the bout than Ziam won.