There will be dueling debuting fighters on the prelims of UFC Fight Island 1 as Modestas Bukauskas battles Andreas Michailidis.
Four days after a prestigious UFC 251 card, the UFC is back to Fight Island on a Wednesday. This card is headlined between a featherweight bout in Dan Ige and Calvin Kattar in a fight with important title complications.
Opening up the card was the debuting Modestas Bukauskas going against Vinicius Moreira. Unfortunately, Moreira had to pull out after testing positive for COVID-19. Now we will see a debut against a debut as Bukauskas will fight Andreas Michailidis.
Denham, Buckinghamshire, England
How will Modestas Bukauskas fare in the UFC:
Bukauskas started his career fighting lower-level guys and journeymen of the sport. In his last two outings, though, he beat Marthin Hamlet Nielsen and Riccardo Nosiglia who are both highly regarded prospects. Bukauskas also finished both guys by the way of TKO. Outside of MMA, Bukauskas was also a former British kickboxing champion.
You’ll see Bukauskas utilize a lot of kicks going to the body and head and throwing some good spinning kicks to the midsection. He’s much better at attacking the lead leg of his opponent, which is a weapon he should utilize much more often. While he’s profiled as a distance fighter, all his success has been in the clinch or on the mat. He doesn’t have the wrestling to be a threat in the UFC but on top he does throw well and can take the back effectively.
His takedown defense, on the other hand, needs a lot of work. Lesser guys have taken him down usually at will. Bukauskas doesn’t seem to have the sense to fight the wrist or underhooks before he’s dumped to the mat. He is good at using the cage to get back to his feet, but off his back in the middle of the cage he most likely will struggle.
Most of his better qualities are on the feet. Bukauskas has good light movement, a good one-two, and a lightning right-cross. He has been caught coming in before so if he doesn’t keep his hands up during his entrances he will be in trouble in the UFC. Bukauskas has been improving in each fight and at only 26 I think his future in the UFC could be bright. As of right now, his takedown defense is a huge problem but his cardio may be the advantage in the coming future.
Andreas “The Spartan” Michailidis
Middleweight (205 for debut)
EFL Martial Arts Academy
How will Andreas Michailidis fare in the UFC:
Michailidis is a talented fighter with both European BJJ champion and three-time kickboxing champion on his resume. On the feet, his abilities indicate that he’s a very strong and diverse kickboxer. The speed in the release of his kicks is very quick. He likes to throw a spinning wheel kick to the head which has forced a few stoppages following that connection. Michailidis is really good at mixing it up with his kicks as well, going to the body, legs, and head. He can get away with having a heavy kickboxing attack since he throws so quickly and so hard. I like how he stays actively light on his feet complementing his forward bursts with combinations. When initiating, Michailidis is solid at grabbing the Muay Thai plum and landing big knees.
Michailidis has some underrated wrestling as his timing is solid. While he does struggle at times to secure the initial takedown, he’s good at resetting his frame and dragging his opponent down. Overall, I don’t rate his wrestling too highly and his grappling is better but he’s not really a major threat. His biggest flaw is he has around a 7.5 minute gas tank. Through three rounds, Michailidis is still dangerous but his posture stiffens and his punches reach the point much slower. If he was to improve his cardio I think he could be a real force at 185.
How does Bukauskas and Michailidis match up:
I love this fight between two good exciting fighters. I believe Michailidis has the ability to take Bukauskas down but won’t be able to over the course of three rounds and hold him there. Bukauskas is a good-sized 205er and Michailidis is a natural middleweight. The idea of Michailidis winning the first round is likely but he will probably gas out and Bukauskas will take over. And unlike Michailidis, Bukauskas has good cardio. Both are evenly matched on the feet but the size and length of Bukauskas will give him the edge.