UFC Fight Island 8 takes place Wednesday, Jan. 20 from Yas Island in Abu Dabhi, UAE. Check out AJ’s thoughts on the main event!
Quick thoughts: With this fight as the new main event for January 20th (i.e., initially Chimaev vs. Edwards), it is now five rounds instead of three. Five rounds instead of three is noteworthy, espieically in this matchup, as Magny has one of the best gas tanks in the UFC, so the longer the fight goes, the more it favors Magny.
Favor Magny here. He will hold a 5-inch arm reach advantage (i.e., regularly utilizes his jab) over Chiesa and be fighting at a much higher pace while the two are in open space. Magny also uses the trendy low calf kick, which is essential here as Chiesa does NOT check them (i.e., RDA had success kicking his calf). Also, Magny is the more technical striker.
Magny can also operate as a switch stance striker. In contrast, Chiesa fights exclusively out of the southpaw stance. Neither fighter is a power puncher, so if a finish materializes, it more so is an accumulation of strikes combined with a wide cardio discrepancy, in which case Magny would be the party more likely to finish. Lastly, Chiesa does not pose the striker prototype (i.e., threatening with pressure) that has given Magny trouble in the past (i.e., Lorenz Larkin and Santiago Ponzinibbio), so I trust Magny to win by a comfortable margin in open space.
Favor Chiesa here. Chiesa will have the advantage in the clinch as he thrives in getting takedowns from this position mainly (i.e., ability to transition to the back mid takedown attempt, body lock + inside trip takedown ability, and body lock + angle change takedown ability). Chiesa also has excellent control and awareness in these exchanges.
In contrast, Magny has allowed double underhooks in the clinch in recent bouts (i.e., against Jingliang and Martin), which he controlled and get his back taken for stretches. Also, Magny allowed takedowns against Jingliang (i.e., body lock + trip) and Martin (i.e., from a double leg). However, Magny does an excellent job of reclaiming guard and working his way back to his feet promptly (i.e., digs an underhook to work back up). Lastly, Magny has been submitted a few times on the ground in the past (i.e., against RDA, Maia, and Moraes), but I lean he can avoid any sub threat from Chiesa. Magny is an overall solid grappler who holds a BJJ Brown Belt.
The matchup is the control grappling of Chiesa versus the volume striking of Magny. I will lean on Magny to win because he will likely be the party doing more damage, which is the priority when judging. Both guys are durable, so that I won’t predict a finish, so Magny via Decision is the official prediction.
No bet for me on this fight as I agree with it being a near even fight.