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Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia submits Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 254 event on October 25, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
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The Best Finishes On UFC Fight Island...So Far

With the UFC returning to UFC Fight Island it's only right that we look back at some of the best finishes to happen on the island so far.

There simply is just something magical about UFC Fight Island.

The fascination with UFC Fight Island started with a mysterious location and an Octagon placed on a beautiful beach, but then transformed into a place where there was no limit on the spectacular. Over the course of nine events the MMA world witnessed amazing fights and moments.

So, with the UFC set to host three more action-packed events on UFC Fight Island this month, it’s only fitting that we take a look back at the best finishes from Abu Dhabi in 2020.

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The 10 Best Finishes from Fight Island...So Far
The 10 Best Finishes from Fight Island...So Far
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10) Germaine de Randamie Submits Juilana Pena - UFC Fight Island 4

 

 Germaine de Randemie of The Netherlands submits Julianna Pena in their women's bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 04, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Germaine de Randemie submits Julianna Pena in their women's bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 04, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

It’s well documented that the UFC’s inaugural women’s featherweight champion is one of the best strikers in the business. But what do you know about “The Iron Lady’s” ground game?

The world found out about de Randamie’s skills on the canvas when she faced a determined Julianna Pena in a showdown of bantamweight contenders. In the midst of a back-and-forth battle, Pena went in for a takedown, unsuspecting of the vice grip-like guillotine that de Randamie would secure in the blink of an eye. Moments later, de Randamie released Pena and found herself celebrating her first career submission victory.

The win was a massive one for de Randamie, who has done nothing but defeat rising contenders and maintain her status as one of the top threats to Amanda Nunes.

(Watch on UFC Fight Pass)

9) Magomedov Ankalaev KOs Ion Cutelaba – UFC 254

Magomed Ankalaev of Russia knocks down Ion Cutelaba of Moldova in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC 254 event on October 24, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Magomed Ankalaev of Russia knocks down Ion Cutelaba of Moldova in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC 254 event on October 24, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Sometimes when a bout ends in controversy, the only thing to do is run it back. That’s exactly what Magomedov Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba attempted to do on multiple occasions after their strange 38-second bout in Norfolk, VA last February.

The two light heavyweights were finally able to settle the score at UFC 254 and oh boy, did Ankalaev settle it.

Ankalaev’s hand found their mark early and often as Cutelaba lunged forward, until the Russian connected with a devastating left-right-hook combo that sent Cutelaba crumbling to the canvas. Ankalaev added in some vicious ground-and-pound that put Cutelaba’s lights out.

Rivalry over.

(Watch the full fight on UFC Fight Pass)

8) Jiri Prochazka KOs Volkan Oezdemir – UFC 251

Jiri Prochazka punches Volkan Oezdemir in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/ Zuffa LLC)
Jiri Prochazka punches Volkan Oezdemir in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/ Zuffa LLC)

Jiri Prochazka’s UFC debut was well worth the wait, as the newcomer made an immediate impact on the light heavyweight picture.

Standing across the Octagon from Prochazka was former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir, a well-known, big-time opponent. But Prochazka felt no pressure and simply went out there and was himself.

He threw heavy shots from crazy angles, keeping his hands low and drawing in the power shots of Oezdemir. Once Prochazka found his timing he was able to smother Oezdemir and connect with a massive straight right cross that made Oezdemir instantly collapse.

Walk-off knockouts don’t happen often and Prochazka impressed by notching one in his first UFC appearance.

(Watch the full fight on UFC Fight Pass)

7) Jan Blachowicz KOs Dominick Reyes – UFC 253

Jan Blachowicz of Poland punches Dominick Reyes in their light heavyweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Jan Blachowicz of Poland punches Dominick Reyes in their light heavyweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Every champion has a different journey to the top. For Poland’s Jan Blachowicz, it took plenty of bumps and bruises before he had a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title. There is no doubt that once he got the chance, he seized the moment.

Blachowicz started off fast, hitting “The Devastator” with plenty of kicks, including massive body shots on Reyes’ right side. The damage added up quick, with Reyes’ side painted purple and blue from the strikes. The inside leg kicks and combination attacks from Blachowicz started adding up. Blachowicz connected with a combination that broke Reyes’ nose and then the action reached a furious pace.

Related: Check-In With Blachowicz

Until the world witnessed the legendary Polish power yet again.

It was a left hand that sat Reyes down, forcing him to shell up on the canvas. Blachowicz swarmed and finished the fight.

It was a massive moment for Blachowicz, who finally achieved his lifelong goal.

(Watch Blachowicz win the belt on UFC Fight Pass)

6) Israel Adesanya TKOs Paulo Costa – UFC 253

Israel Adesanya of Nigeria kicks the head of Paulo Costa of Brazil in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Israel Adesanya of Nigeria kicks the head of Paulo Costa of Brazil in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

The main event championship showdown between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa was about as heated as could be. The buildup to the fight was full of trash talk and intense faceoffs.

The fight however, not so much.

Adesanya said he would make it look easy and he kept his promise. “The Last Stylebender” picked Costa apart with a variety of attacks before landing a massive head kick that cut Costa. That was the beginning of the end, as Adesanya’s investment in leg kicks and body strikes forced Costa to lower his defenses.

Related: Check-In With Adesanya

Then the middleweight champion cracked Costa with a huge left hook and finished the fight with furious ground-and-pound. The fight result was about as clear as could be, and it will go down as one of the best performances of Adesanya’s career.

(Watch Adesanya defend the middleweight title on UFC Fight Pass)

5) Ariane Lipski Submits Luana Carolina – UFC Fight Island 2

Ariane Lipski secures a knee bar submission against Luana Carolina in their flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 19, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Zuffa LLC)
Ariane Lipski secures a knee bar submission against Luana Carolina in their flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 19, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Every once in a while, there is a submission that makes even the most hardcore fan cringe.

On UFC Fight Island 2, Ariane Lipski lived up to her nickname “The Queen Of Violence” by submitting Luana Carolina with a tight kneebar. The second the flyweight fighter yanked Carolina’s knee into the air, the pain was evident on her face.

The kneebar was just the second of its kind in women’s UFC history, with the other kneebar victory going to Mackenzie Dern at UFC Vegas 11.

(Watch The Submission On UFC Fight Pass)

4) Deiveson Figueiredo Submits Joseph Benavidez - UFC Fight Island 2

Deiveson Figueiredo secures a rear choke submission against Joseph Benavidez in their UFC flyweight championship bout on UFC Fight Island on July 19, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (Zuffa LLC)
Deiveson Figueiredo secures a rear choke submission against Joseph Benavidez in their UFC flyweight championship bout on UFC Fight Island on July 19, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (Zuffa LLC)

With the flyweight title up for grabs, the second bout between Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez was a turning point for the division. Either Benavidez would finally capture his elusive seat upon the 125-lb throne or Figueiredo would begin his reign of terror.

The latter would turn out to be true and Figueiredo would go on to completely dominate Benavidez.

Related: Look Back At Figueiredo's Fantastic 2020

Figueiredo showed off the incredible power in his hands, dropping Benavidez three times in the opening frame. Figueiredo chased the finish each time that Benavidez hit the canvas and eventually, after Benavidez was able to tough out some rear naked choke attempts, “The God Of War” was able to lock up a choke Benavidez couldn’t escape.

(Watch Figueiredo Secure The Flyweight Title On UFC Fight Pass)

3) Cory Sandhagen KOs Marlon Moraes – UFC Fight Island 5

Cory Sandhagen kicks Marlon Moraes of Brazil in their bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 11, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Cory Sandhagen kicks Marlon Moraes of Brazil in their bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 11, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

*Spinning wheel kick KO alert*

Cory Sandhagen’s UFC Fight Island 5 matchup with Marlon Moraes was an opportunity to get back in title contention. And “The Sandman” delivered in a big way, stunning Moraes with an amazing spinning back kick before swarming Moraes before he could collect himself on the ground.

(Watch Sandhagen's Knockout On UFC Fight Pass)

2) Khabib Nurmagomedov Submits Justin Gaethje - UFC 254

Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia submits Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 254 event on October 25, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia submits Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 254 event on October 25, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Simply put, Khabib Nurmagomedov should be in the greatest of all-time conversation. He proved why once again when he faced Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

A lot has always been made of Numagomedov’s wrestling (rightfully so), but what was most impressive about his bout with Gaethje was his ability to out-pressure the guy who is always out-pressuring everyone.

Nurmagomedov walked Gaethje down, showing off his underrated striking ability, while executing the game plan we’ve all gotten used to from “The Eagle.” The feverish pace on the fight continued once Nurmagomedov was able to get the fight to the floor.

Nurmagomedov masterfully transitioned from position to position, eventually throwing up a triangle choke that was simply too perfect for Gaethje to get out of. As Nurmagomedov stood up, leaving Gaethje on the canvas, the waterfall of emotions started flowing from the 29-0 UFC champion.

Overcome in the moment, Nurmagomedov decided to walk away from the sport, retiring as one of the biggest superstars MMA has ever seen.

(Watch Nurmagomedov's Win Over Geathje On UFC Fight Pass)

1) Joaquin Buckley KOs Impa Kasanganay – UFC Fight Island 5

Joaquin Buckley: The Kick Heard Around The World
Joaquin Buckley: The Kick Heard Around The World
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Joaquin Buckley’s first kick was caught mid-air by Impa Kasanganay and then it happened in a blink of an eye.

Buckley contorted his body, spinning to throw an additional kick while his other leg remained in Kasanganay’s possession. The strike landed flush to the face of Kasanganay, who, upon impact, released Buckley’s leg. The momentum of the strike pushed Buckley away from Kasanganay and by the time he was able to turn around to face his opponent, Kasangany was falling in what felt like slow motion to the floor.

The knockout was one of the greatest we’ve ever seen and will be one that fight fans will be talking about forever.

 

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