The UFC Fight Island 3 main card is moving right along and Fabricio Werdum just welcomed former 205-pounder, Alexander Gustafsson, to the heavyweight division by submitting him with an armbar in the first round. Gus was getting the better of the exchanges on the feet, but as soon as it hit the ground that was all she wrote. This is Werdum’s first win since November of 2017. As for Gustafsson, this makes three-straight losses for the former light heavyweight title challenger.
Before that, the UFC’s #9 ranked strawweight, Marina Rodriguez, went the distance in a competitive affair with former strawweight champion, Carla Esparza. Esparza had the takedowns with short shots, and Rodriguez dished out a bunch of damage with elbows from the bottom. When the dust settled, it was Esparza who walked away with the split decision. That makes four-straight wins for the former title holder.
In the light heavyweight division, Paul Craig pulled out another submission, this time on Gadzhimurad Antigulov and this time it came in the first round. Antigulov is the one that wanted the takedown, but quickly found himself fighting off a sub attempt. Craig is unbeaten in three outings.
Earlier in the night, Alex Oliveira commanded the Octagon for 15-minutes to earn a dominant decision win over Peter Sobotta. Cowboy hurt Sobotta to the body several times throughout, and also dropped him with a cross at the end of the second round. Oliveira looked as controlled as we’ve ever seen him out there, and the veteran has now strung together consecutive wins.
Opening up the event, Khamzat Chimaev stormed the castle of Rhys McKee, dropping a ton of ground strikes before securing the first-round TKO. Chimaev scored the quickest turnaround in UFC history at just 10-days, and also pitched a shutout with a perfect strike count of 68-0. He also finished both of those fights and is proving his worth as a top prospect to watch out for.
**See complete results below
Fabricio Werdum def. Alexander Gustafsson by submission (Armbar) at 2:30 of round 1: Heavyweight
Gus pressed forward, working his boxing and backing up Werdum. The former champ responded with a takedown, and although Gus tried to scramble out, Werdum was persistent and got what he wanted. Werdum took the back and threatened with an armbar. Gus fought it off for a bit, but he was so deep in the sub that it was only a matter fo time.
Carla Esparza def. Marina Rodriguez by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29): Strawweight
It didn’t take very long for Esparza to shoot a single leg and secure a takedown. She settled into the guard, but ate a bunch of elbows from Rodriguez who was on her back. Rodriguez actually cut open Esparza, causing her to leak from her face. The former champ dropped back for a leg lock, giving Rodriguez a chance to escape to her feet. Esparza tried to get another takedown, but ate some more elbows instead.
The second round saw a slow-paced kickboxing bout break out. A couple minutes of this low-volume striking went on before Esparza changed levels and brought the bout to the ground. Esparza looked to drop strikes from inside the full guard, and didn’t land anything devastating but did control Rodriguez for a large chunk of time. Esparza dropped back for another ankle lock, just to get snuffed with a series of ground strikes. The former champ landed an illegal up kick, but the fight went on and went back to its feet for the final moments of the round, where Rodriguez landed some hard knees to the face.
Esparza went for the takedown to start the final round, and delivered some unblocked punches to the face before Rodriguez got up. On the feet, it was Rodriguez landing the punches, but Esparza again took the bout to the floor. She controlled a bunch, with both fighters throwing small shots back and forth. Rodriguez chose to eat a head kick to stand back to her feet, but that was short-lived as Esparza snagged one last takedown before the bell.
Paul Craig def. Gadzhimurad Antigulov by submission (Triangle) at 2:06 of round 1: Light Heavyweight
Craig pressured right away, but Antigulov got a takedown to start the bout. Craig quickly threw up a triangle attempt, but had to eat a bunch of punches before locking it in tight. Antigulov hung tough for a bit, but the adjustments were made and Craig forced the finish.
Alex Oliveira def. Peter Sobotta by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Welterweight
The fighters came out measuring one another. Oliveira was the first to score, hurting Sobotta with a front kick to the body. Sobotta recovered quickly and the low-volume kickboxing bout resumed. Oliveira was throwing a lot of long front kicks, making it hard for Sobotta to get into striking range.
Sobotta closed the distance in the second round looking for the takedown, but ate some slicing elbows for his troubles. The elbows cut open Sobotta on his forehead, but didn’t seem to bother him much. An accidental cup kick from Oliveira came next, bringing a halt to the action. The bout resumed and Sobotta continued to find himself stuck on the outside getting picked apart. Oliveira was doing exceptionally well with his management of distance. And then he poked Sobotta in the eye. The fight resumed again after another break, and Oliveira managed to drop Sobotta with a counter cross right before the round.
Sobotta tried to get the fight to the ground in the final round, but again couldn’t make it happen. Oliveira fought with such command using his rangey weapons, keeping his foe stuck on the outside. Oliveira hurt Sobotta to the body again with another front kick, but it didn’t take very long for him to recover.
Khamzat Chimaev def. Rhys McKee by TKO at 3:09 of round 1: Welterweight
Chimaev clinched up right away here, and then carried his foe to his corner before getting the takedown. He began to pound away with savage ground work. He attempted a couple of rear-naked chokes, but McKee defended well. That meant more strikes were on the way. Chimaev kept dropping devastating blows, and a lot of them. The referee finally had seen enough and stepped in to rescue McKee.