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The time has finally come for the infamous fight island to be officially unveiled, and what a card we have to break it in. Although one has to feel bad for Gilbert Burns missing out on his chance to fight for the strap, the new main event we have now makes this card infinitely more interesting. Three title fights as a whole, plus a stacked undercard, this event is as hot as the country it's hosted in.
But we are here to predict some fights, so here we go!
Jorge Masvidal vs Kamaru Usman
There is no question that Masvidal stepping in for Burns gave this headliner new life, and although this was Plan A all along, you can't help but feel like this matchup falls right into Usman's wheelhouse. Not that Jorge isn't talented on the mat, Burns was just more likely to do damage when Usman starts to implement his wrestling. Also, 20 pounds in 6 days? Jorge's path has been anything but smooth sailing.
I suppose Masvidal has a chance early to catch Usman with a fight altering strike, but with the weight cut, pay dispute, the short notice and Usman being just an all-around bad matchup, I think the Nigerian gets the nod. However, if Jorge wins look forward to a BMF rematch with the great Nate Diaz.
Prediction: Kamaru Usman, Decision
Max Holloway vs Alexander Volkanovski
What's weird is that Max has flat out admitted that he hasn't trained much for this fight because of the pandemic, I don't know if that is something one should admit to, but you know what? I got a funny feeling about this fight, and even though his son isn't with him I think Holloway channels something from the island that will propel him to a close win over Alex the Great.
Yes, I'm leaning on mystical powers to help Max pull this one out.
Prediction: Holloway, Decision
Jose Aldo vs Petr Yan
I'll be the first to say that Aldo doesn't deserve this title fight. He just doesn't. I'll also say that he's just past his best years plain and simple. Yan is coming into his fighting prime and Aldo is on the way out. Just hope the legend doesn't get put out to pasture too brutally.
Prediction: Petr Yan, 3rd RD TKO
Jessica Andrade vs Rose Namajunas
Former champs, Andrade took the belt from Rose and then promptly lost it. Sure, Andrade won via slam the last time these two ladies squared off, but Rose was firmly in the drivers seat. If Andrade can keep her torrent pace and eat Rose's shots then maybe she repeats the outcome of the last meeting, but I just can't see a fluky finish like that repeating itself. Rose will get her revenge in Abu Dhabi.
Prediction: Rose Namajunas, Decision
Amanda Ribas vs Paige VanZant
Listen, VanZant may be one of the biggest draws in Women's MMA, but she certainly hasn't earned it. Every big test she's faced she's been swallowed up by her opponent. The Rose fight, the Waterson fight, she just isn't on that level and I think Ribas is definitely much closer in skill level to those two women than Paige is. She's the biggest underdog on the card for a reason so she'll have to prove all the naysayers wrong. I don't think that happens.
Prediction: Amanda Ribas, 2nd RD SUB
Rest of the Card
Oezdemir def Prochazka
Salikhov def dos Santos
Amirkhani def Henry
Santos def Bogatov
Tybura def Grishin
Zhumagulov def Paiva
Rosa def Melo
Day def Grant
2020 Predictions Record: 54 - 33