A rare mid-week card saw the UFC in action Wednesday. The middle of three Fight Island events (the third, UFC 257, being January’s crown jewel), UFC Fight Island 8 saw Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny topping the card. Both men were looking to break into the top five of the welterweight division — and a statement win might do just that.
While neither man was about to jump into a title shot, both had won three straight, and were inching closer to title contention. And for both, approaching the end of their prime, the timing to go on a run at the title was perfect.
Of course, a number of fighters sat ahead of Chiesa and Magny in line. Gilbert Burns vs. Kamaru Usman for the 170lb title was set for February. Names like Stephen Thompson, and perhaps the winner of Khamzat Chimaev vs. Leon Edwards, were outliers for the title shot after that.
But MMA is a harsh mistress, and the UFC was firmly in the era of opportunity, where one win could change anything. So the victor from Wednesday’s Chiesa vs. Magny headliner might be just one win away from gold, if the stars aligned.
Also on Wednesday’s card, a strong crop of rookies, including the debut of Umar Nurmagomedov.
Following the event, check back for the UFC Fight Island 8 press conference. The live stream can be viewed above.