Sunday, August 14, 2022

UFC Long Island fight card: Three must-watch fights outside of Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez

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Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez has Fight of the Night written all over it. The undercard on Saturday in Long Island is not without darkhorse contenders looking to steal some shine from the headliner.

Ortega and Rodriguez have 10 Fight of the Night and five Performance of the Night bonuses between their 21 combined UFC fights. The theme heading into UFC Fight Night appears to be violence at any cost: technical or messy. Matchups like Shane Burgos vs. Charles Jourdain are expected to deliver a storm of creative strikes while Dalcha Lungiambula vs. Punahele Soriano could resemble a car crash.

Take a look below at three fights worth catching outside of Saturday’s main event.

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Shane Burgos vs. Charles Jourdain

Burgos and Jourdain are almost incapable of putting on a boring fight. Burgos would have likely cashed three consecutive Fight of the Night checks if he had not competed on the same card as Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler. Jourdain has been a joy to watch against the likes of Doo-ho Choi, Marcelo Rojo and Lando Vannata. Burgos’ application of Tiger Schulmann teachings produces crisp, technical kickboxing. Jourdain — arguably Canada’s best hope for another UFC title — overwhelms opponents with punches, kicks, elbows and knees. This should be good fun.

Ricky Simon vs Jack Shore

Simon and Shore are some of the most promising bantamweights in the sport. Simon (19-3) and his now-defunct mullet turned heads after he beat Merab Dvalishvili, Montel Jackson and Rani Yahya in his first three UFC fights. Losses to Urijah Faber and Rob Font signaled a rise that was too much, too soon. Simon turned the tide with a four-fight winning streak capped by a second-round knockout of Raphael Assuncao in December. Shore (16-0) has been undeniable since making his UFC debut in September 2019. A win over Timur Valiev in March proved that he can hang with UFC caliber competition. Simon’s grinding style and Shore’s submission acumen could produce a laborious fight. Perhaps their grappling skills negate one another and present a barnburner on the feet. Either way, it is a significant fight for the division and should position the winner for a top 10 bantamweight opponent.

Michelle Waterson vs. Amanda Lemos

Waterson’s comeback is cause for celebration. “The Karate Hottie” recovered from a career-threatening injury that sidelined her for more than one year. Her return this weekend officially marks her 15th year competing as a pro mixed martial artist. Waterson could have been a UFC champion in an alternate universe where Dana White introduced an attomweight division. In this universe, the level of competition at strawweight has been a touch too steep. Waterson remains a reliable main card act in spite of it. Lemos appeared primed for a run up the rankings after piecing together five consecutive wins. Unfortunately, she ran neck first into Jessica Andrade’s suffocating grip. Waterson can be something of a point fighter, but Lemos’ reach and power could make this fun. Hopefully both parties will draw from their Fight of the Night efforts against Angela Hill and make some magic.

Honorable mention: Dustin Jacoby vs. Da Un Jung

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