A crucial bantamweight fight headlines UFC Fight Island 5 at the Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on October 10, 2020.

Top-ranked bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes takes on fourth-ranked Cory Sandhagen in a five-round main event that could determine who will face newly crowned champion Petr Yan in his first title defense. In the co-main event, 14th ranked Edson Barboza looks to move up the ladder again as he takes on Makwan Amirkhani. Veteran heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Marcin Tybura also clash in Saturday’s main card at Fight Island.

Let’s take a look at the five bouts in the main card of UFC Fight Island 5 and pick our winners:

“Fighting" Marlon Moraes vs Cory Sandhagen

Marlon Moraes is the no. 1 ranked bantamweight in the UFC. The 32-year old Brazilian is a former WSOF bantamweight champion who made five successful title defenses. Moraes vacated his belt to join the UFC. After losing to Raphael Assuncao in his UFC debut, Moraes has won five of his last six bouts with his only loss coming to Henry Cejudo at UFC 238. Moraes is 23-6 with 10 knockouts and six wins via submission. He stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 67 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Cory Sandhagen is the 4th ranked bantamweight contender in the UFC. The 28-year old from Colorado is the former Sparta Combat League featherweight champion who also fought under LFA. Sandhagen joined the UFC in 2018 and won his first five bouts before losing to Aljamain Sterling in his last outing at UFC 250. The Sandman is 5-11 tall with a reach of 70 inches and is a switch hitter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 10/09/2020

It’s hard to pass up on Moraes, especially at plus money. He is a very balanced fighter and has one of the best finishing abilities in the lower weight classes. He has superb striking and impressive wrestling. That said, Sandhagen has a good size advantage here. He can fight at either stance and his length is going to be a problem for Moraes who likes to pressure his opponents. Given his advantage in length, Sandhagen can pick his spots and land some big counters on Moraes. With Moraes forced to bring the issue, Sandhagen outpoints him in a close and competitive striking battle.

Prediction: Cory Sandhagen

“Fighting" Edson Barboza vs Makwan Amirkhani

Edson Barboza is the 14th ranked featherweight in the UFC. This former kickboxer is a former Renaissance MMA lightweight champion. The 34-year old Brazilian has been in the UFC since 2010. He owns wins over Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, Dan Hooker, and Paul Felder. Barboza stands 5-11 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter. He has a record of 20-9 with 12 knockouts and one win via submission. Barboza has lost five out of his last six bouts.

Makwan Amirkhani owns one of the fastest knockouts in history. Amirkhani stopped Andy Ogle in eight seconds during his UFC debut in 2015. He is 6-2 inside the octagon with four stoppages. Amirkhani is coming off a win over Danny Henry at UFC 251. He has a record of 16-4 with one knockout and 11 wins via submission. He stands 5-10 tall with a reach of 72 inches and is a southpaw fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 10/09/2020

Barboza’s recent record isn’t something you like from a betting favorite. But he’s looked good in some of those fights. When you look at the level of competition, it’s not even close. I’m not saying that Amirkhani doesn’t have good wins. But his striking skills are far too inferior to Barboza’s. This means that he will have to take Barboza down and try to win by submission or by top control. Those are tough to do against a skilled veteran like Barboza. Amirkhani took this fight on short notice and Barboza has great takedown defense.

Prediction: Edson Barboza

“Fighting" Ben Rothwell vs Marcin Tybura

Ben Rothwell is the former IFL star who left the organization due to a contract dispute. Big Ben also had stints with Affliction, M-1 Global, and King of the Cage before joining the UFC in 2009. The 38-year old from Wisconsin is a former US MMA heavyweight champion who owns wins over Roy Nelson, Alistair Overeem, Matt Mitrione, Josh Barnett, and Stefan Struve. In his last bout, Big Ben defeated Ovince Saint Preux last May. Rothwell has a record of 38-12 with 28 knockouts and six wins via submission. Big Ben is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-4 tall with a reach of 74 inches.

Marcin Tybura is a former M-1 Global heavyweight champion and M-1 2013 Grand Prix champion. The 34-year old from Poland joined the UFC in 2016. He won three out of his first four UFC bouts but is just 3-4 in his last seven bouts. Tybura has won his last two bouts and is coming off a UFC 251 win over Maxim Grishin. He stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 78 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. Tybura has a record of 19-6 with seven knockouts and six wins via submission.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 10/09/2020

Rothwell’s been here forever. Big Ben is deceptively quick and powerful with his punches and is also dangerous with his headlock strangles. My problem with Rothwell is that you’ll never know what you’ll get from him unless you see him during the weigh-ins. He’s gassed when he’s out of shape but if he looks in good form, this is his fight to lose. Big Ben is never easy to take down and Tybura has looked uncomfortable on the feet in his recent bouts. Tybura will try to take him down but getting close will lead to Rothwell’s dirty boxing range.

Prediction: Ben Rothwell

“Fighting" Markus Perez vs Dricus du Plessis

Markus Perez is a former Jungle Fight and Legacy Fighting Alliance middleweight champion. The 30-year old from Sao Paulo in Brazil joined the UFC in 2017 and is only 2-3 in his five Octagon appearances. Perez is 12-3 with three knockouts and six wins via submission. He is coming off a loss to Wellington Tillman last November 2019. Perez is an orthodox fighter who is 6-1 tall with a reach of 73 inches.

Dricus du Plessis is a former KSW welterweight champion. This 26-year old from South Africa is also an EFC Africa middleweight champion who left the promotion to join the UFC. du Plessis will be making his promotional debut in this event. He is a switch hitter who is 6-1 tall with a reach of 76 inches. His record stands at 14-2 with five knockouts and nine wins via submission.

What are the Moneyline Odds?




Du Plessis


Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 10/09/2020

Du Plessis has finished all of his 14 wins. He is aggressive, athletic, and has the skills to fight on his feet and on the mat. But while his offense is already good, his defense isn’t and that could be a weakness that a veteran like Perez can take advantage of. Perez can explode with powerful strikes. The Brazilian also has a good set of submission skills. But Perez hasn’t been consistent enough for me to pick him. Once du Plessis puts him on the back foot, he’s going to be on the defensive end all night. I like de Plessis’ offense to overwhelm Perez.

Prediction: Dricus du Plessis

“Fighting" Tom Aspinall vs Alan Baudot

Tom Aspinall fought for BAMMA and Cage Warriors before joining the UFC in this year. Aspinall won his UFC debut against Jake Collier last July. This 27-year old from England has a record of 8-2 with seven knockouts and one win via submission. Aspinall is 6-5 tall with a reach of 78 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Alan Baudot fought for EFC and TKO before joining the UFC this year. The 32-year old from Lyon, France has not fought since April 2019. Baudot is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 79 inches. He has a record of 8-1 with seven knockouts.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 10/09/2020

Aspinall looked sharp in his octagon debut. He was throwing fast and accurate punches that his opponent could not cope with. Win or lose, his fights have been abbreviated. Baudot also has finished most of his fights. He is also quick and hit very hard at the 205-pound division. However, he is very hittable and when he faces bigger opponents, he has the tendency to get overpowered. Both still have a lot to improve on but to me, Aspinall is more proven. He also is the bigger fighter here and I think size is what decides this fight.

Prediction: Tom Aspinall

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