UFC Fight Island 2 Predictions & Tips: Best Bets For UFC Fight Night 173

Leigh Copson:

The UFC continues its spell on Fight Island this Saturday with a Fight Night card headlined by the bout between Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez for the vacant flyweight title, and we have picked out our favourites bets from the night’s action in Abu Dhabi.

UFC Fight Island 2 Predictions & Tips: Deiveson Figueiredo v Joseph Benavidez

These two men have already fought once this year and it did not end well for Joseph Benavidez. The 35-year-old had been aiming to finally erase his ‘gatekeeper’ status when he took on Deiveson Figueiredo for the vacant UFC flyweight title, but the weekend started off bad as his opponent failed to make weight, and it went from bad to worse on fight night as he was cut open by an accidental headbutt before being knocked out in the second round. Figueiredo’s win meant the title remained vacant and UFC president Dana White quickly called for a rematch, claiming the clash of heads “had a lot to do with the knockout”. So will the rematch have a different outcome and will the UFC finally crown the successor to Henry Cejudo in the flyweight division?

We will see a new champion on Saturday night and I believe we will see Benavidez avenge his controversial February defeat. Benavidez has been on a three-fight winning run going into that bout and he started off strong before the headbutt knocked him off his stride and he lost his discipline. If Benavidez can maintain his composure this time around and take it beyond the first couple of rounds, then his experience and excellent cardio will come into play. Benavidez knows that he can be knocked out by Figueiredo and he knows that defeat here will probably spell the end of his dream of becoming a UFC champion, so I expect the veteran American to take a lot more cautious approach as he outpoints the Brazilian and gets the nod from the judges after the full five rounds.

UFC Fight Island 2 Predictions & Tips: Jack Hermansson v Kelvin Gastelum

This is a huge fight between two middleweight fighters looking to climb back into the top five after disappointing ends of 2019. Kelvin Gastelum came up short in his bid to win the UFC middleweight title just over a year ago before dropping a split decision to Darren Till back in November, while Jack Hermansson failed to build on wins over David Branch and Ronaldo Souza as he was stopped by the fists of Jared Cannonier in the second round of their contest in September of last year. As a result both men are now on the outside looking in when it comes to the top five, so who can stake their claim to be considered a serious contender for the gold in the second half of the year?

There is no doubting that Hermansson, a former Cage Warriors middleweight champion, can be a major player in the middleweight division. He has added a couple of notable names to his record since arriving in the UFC, with the biggest clearing being ‘Jacare’, but last year’s stoppage loss at the hands of Cannonier slowed his momentum and it sets alarm bells ringing when it comes to this fight. Gastelum is hardly a man in form having gone 2-3 in his last five outings, but he has spent the last few years fighting the best of the best in the middleweight division, recording some impressive wins and suffering some losses that were far from embarrassing, and he possesses the punching power that could ensure Hermansson suffers back-to-back defeats for the first time in several years.