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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:53 PM

UFC Fight Island 2 Picks, Odds, Predictions

For the third time in eight days, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will take over the ESPN air waves for a 12-fight card.

‘UFC Fight Island 2’ is coming your way Saturday at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, with the vacant flyweight title on the line when Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Joseph Benavidez in the main event.

The television schedule is similar to last Saturday’s pay-per-view card, as all seven fights on the Prelims are on ESPN. However, the five main-card scraps are on ESPN+ only, but you only need a subscription rather than forking out the pay-per-view costs.

UFC Fight Island 2
Betting Resources

  • Betting Odds: Money-Lines, Totals
  • Date: Saturday, July 19, 2020
  • Venue: UFC Fight Island
  • Location: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • Expected Fights: 12
  • TV/Time: ESPN, ESPN+, 5:00 p.m. ET

Flyweight Championship
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Benavidez

UFC Fight Island
Main Event
Betting Analysis

The headliner is a rematch of a fight at UFC Norfolk on Feb. 29 when Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 pounds, making him ineligible to win the belt. After Benavidez won Round 1, an accidental headbutt left Benavidez on shaky legs and opened a big cut on his forehead.

Moments later as Benavidez noticed blood and wiped it away with his left hand, Figueiredo ripped a big right hand to the body. As Benavidez backed up, Figueiredo connected with a lung right hook that floored his opponent. The 32-year-old Brazilian followed up with a big hammer fist and that was enough for the referee to intervene.

After his second-round knockout victory, Figueiredo was unable to claim the title. Due to the controversial finish, a rematch was the only right thing to do, and here we’re 4.5 months later.

As of Friday morning, FanDuel had Figueiredo (18-1 MMA, 7-1UFC) installed as a -220 favorite with Benavidez at +184 on the comeback. DraftKings has the total at 3.5 rounds (‘under’ -125, ‘over’ -106).

Both fighters made weight Friday morning.

The 35-year-old Benavidez (28-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC) made his professional debut more than 14 years ago. This will be his fourth chance to capture UFC gold. He lost a pair of flyweight title fights to Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson, falling by split decision at UFC 152 in 2012 and via first-round KO 15 months later in 2013.

Benavidez is the division’s all-time leader in wins (13), appearances (17) and KO victories (five). Four of his six defeats have come against the best flyweight in the history of the sport (Johnson twice) and one of the best bantamweights (Dominick Cruz twice).

Benavidez owns notable career scalps over the likes of Henry Cejudo, Eddie Wineland, Ian McCall, Miguel Torres, Tim Elliott, Dustin Ortiz (twice), John Moraga and Jussier Formiga (twice).

The 32-year-old Figueiredo has 15 finishes in his 19 career fights, including nine knockouts and six submissions. His only loss came to Formiga on March 23 of 2019 via unanimous decision (28-29, 27-30, 28-29) at UFC Nashville.

Figueiredo has finished five of his seven victims during his UFC tenure. He has four second-round KOs and a first-round submission. Figueiredo has never been past the third round in his 19-fight career.

UFC Fight Island 2
Figueiredo vs. Benavidez Picks

The 5-foot-5 Figueiredo will have a one-inch edge in height and a three-inch reach advantage. He’ll also enjoy a two-inch advantage in leg reach (38-36). Nevertheless, I think the underdog is the play here.

Benavidez looked fantastic in the opening frame of the first fight, as he looked quicker to the punch until the unfortunate headbutt that altered the course of the contest. Benavidez has the revenge angle and has gone five rounds twice (once with Johnson in the UFC and once with Cruz in the WEC). Let’s go with Benavidez, albeit for only one-half unit, for a +184 return. Also, give me one unit on ‘under’ 3.5 rounds at a -120 price (William Hill).

UFC Fight Island
Co-Main Event
Betting Analysis

Middleweight Bout
Jack Hermansson vs. Kelvin Gastelum

In the co-main event, sixth-ranked middleweight Jack Hermansson will collide with seventh-ranked Kelvin Gastelum. As of Friday morning, FanDuel had Gastelum (16-5-0-1 MMA, 11-5-0-1 UFC) listed as a -116 favorite with Hermansson available at a -102 price. DraftKings had the total at 2.5 rounds (‘over’ -177, ‘under’ +130).

Gastelum’s back-to-back losses have him in desperation mode here. However, there was no shame in either defeat. The winner of Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter fought still-unbeaten Israel ‘The Last StyleBender’ Adesanya for the belt at UFC 236 on April 13 of 2019.

In an epic slugfest, Gastelum had Adesanya badly hurt in Round 4 and nearly got the finish. However, Adesanya rallied in the final stanza and won a unanimous decision by 48-46 scores (Adesanya was given a 10-8 in Round 5) from all three judges. The bout was dubbed the 2019 Fight of the Year.

Less than seven months later, Gastelum lost a split decision to Darren Till at UFC 244. Gastelum has a pair of wins over former champions on his resume, defeating Michael Bisping in 2017 and Johny Hendricks in 2016. A third win over Vitor Belfort was changed to a no-contest when Gastelum tested positive for marijuana.

He owns other notable victories over Jacare Souza, Tim Kennedy, Nate Marquardt, Uriah Hall, Jake Ellenberger and Rick Story. Gastelum also beat Josh Samman via first-round submission in the TUF 17 semifinals (that are considered exhibitions). In addition to the loss to Adesanya, two more of Gastelum’s defeats have come against former champions (Chris Weidman and Tyron Woodley).

The 32-year-old Hermansson (20-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) saw his four-fight winning streak snapped in a second-round KO loss to Jared Cannonier last September at UFC Copenhagen.

UFC Fight Island 2
Hermansson vs. Gastelum Picks

Gastelum has faced much tougher competition than Hermansson. I have no clue why the Swede gets the nod in the middleweight rankings. I’m a big fan of Gastelum in this spot. Give me three units on Gastelum in a must-win situation at a -112 price from DraftKings.

UFC Fight Island2
Bonus Predictions

-- In the curtain jerker to kick off the ESPN broadcast, Serghei ‘Polar Bear’ Spivac will welcome Carlos ‘Boi’ Felipe to the UFC in a heavyweight contest. Spivac (10-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has only been past Round 2 once in his 12-fight career. He has six submissions and four knockouts, with eight finishes coming in Round 1 and two coming in the second stanza. Felipe is 8-0 with six first-round knockouts on his resume. I like ‘under’ 1.5 rounds for one unit and a +110 return from William Hill.

-- Let’s go with a two-fight parlay for one unit featuring Grant Dawson at a -250 price (FanDuel) and Marc Diakiese at -167 (DraftKings). VI’s parlay calculator has those numbers equating to a +124 payout. Dawson is 15-1 overall and 4-0 in the UFC. He has 11 submissions and three knockouts on his resume. I don’t believe his opponent, Nad Narimani, is on Dawson’s level. Diakiese is 14-3 overall and 5-3 in the UFC. He’s seeking a third consecutive win after defeating Joe Duffy and Lando Vannata. His three losses in the UFC have come against top-tier competition, including setbacks against Drakkar Klose (split decision), Dan Hooker and Nasrat Haqparast. I expect Diakiese, who has a two-inch height advantage and a 1.5-inch edge in reach, to win a decision over Rafael Fiziev.

-- Let’s try the prop on Dawson to win by submission for one-half unit and a lucrative +250 return.



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