The UFC will return to London for the second time this year on Saturday, July 23rd. The latest edition of UFC London will feature heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes pitted against England’s own Tom Aspinall. Both of these men are known for throwing haymakers that are capable of ending a fight on impact. The odds are certainly stacked against the main event going the full five rounds. The rest of the main card features entertaining fighters who are sure to put on a good show. There’s a lot to unpack here; without further ado, let’s get into it!
Blaydes vs. Aspinall
Heavyweight prospect Curtis Blaydes has been in the UFC since 2016 but has never received a shot at the title. Over the years, he’s fought some of the biggest names in the division, losing to current champion, Francis Ngannou twice. However, his last three wins have come against some of the most respected names in the division, Alexander Volkov, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Chris Daukaus. With rumors swirling that Ngannou may soon announce his retirement, another big win during a main event may be just what Blaydes needs to secure that elusive title shot.Embed from Getty Images
At 29-years-old, Tom Aspinall is on his way to becoming a star in the heavyweight division. He has won each of his first five fights in the UFC and has been very active for a man his size. His introduction to the organization came in July of 2020. Aspinall fought twice that calendar year and twice in 2021. Combine those four wins with his victory in March of this year and the heavyweight from Manchester has some serious momentum behind him. Although he is an imposing 6’5″ and 250 pounds, he has more than size and strength on his side; Aspinall is also a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. It’s going to be an all out war when he and Curtis Blaydes face off in the octagon. You won’t want to miss it!
Hermansson vs. Curtis
Unlike most fighters who have a long career on their resume, octagon veteran Jack Hermansson has spent his entire career in one weight class. As a middleweight, he was able to become the champion in the Cage Warriors organization as well as the Warrior Fight Series. However, since joining the UFC in 2016, Hermansson has been a mediocre, middle of the pack, fighter. He’s lost three out of his last five fights, including a split decision defeat at the hands of Sean Strickland in February of this year. He’s only 34-years-old but he’s been a professional since 2010; most likely he has more of his career behind him than ahead of him.
Chris Curtis has been a professional fighter since 2009 but did not make his debut in the UFC until November of 2021. In a short amount of time, he has been very active. He already has three wins in the organization accredited to his name, and his most recent fight was one month ago at The Apex Center in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, Curtis is ready to climb back into the octagon and go at it again. He has a reputation for being focused and coming in prepared. Due to this, he is slowly but surely becoming a fan favorite each and every time he performs.
Pimblett vs. Leavitt
Lightweight prospect, Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett once referred to himself as “The Next Conor McGregor.” However, that prediction is incredibly premature. Although Pimblett is undefeated in two appearances in the UFC, he is a far cry from the fighter that McGregor was at his peak. Not to mention the fact that McGregor simultaneously held championship belts in two different divisions in the organization. Before Pimblett declares himself the next rendition of a legend, he must prove his worth inside the octagon.Embed from Getty Images
Jordan Leavitt is a fighter who has the talent, skills and poise to disappoint Pimblett and his large fan base on his opponent’s home turf. He and Pimblett are both 27-years-old, meaning they are both in the prime condition of their athletic prowess. Additionally, Leavitt has won three out of his four UFC matches and has proven that he is not afraid of the moment. When these two young warriors meet in the octagon, anything can happen. This is a bout no fight fan should allow themselves to miss!
Krylov vs. Gustafsson
Light heavyweight prospect Nikita Krylov has lost four out of his last six bouts. At his best, he is an agile 6’3″ fighter who is a Black belt in Karate and has a myriad of skills to display inside the octagon. At his worst, he is a fighter who struggles when the fight is taken to the mat; he has very little wrestling experience and opponents often take advantage of his lack of grappling skills.
Alexander Gustaffson has lost his last three fights and hasn’t been seen inside the octagon since July of 2020. In spite of that extended layoff, he is still a seasoned veteran who is dangerous once the starting bell sounds. In his hey day, Gutafsson was given three chances to capture the light heavyweight title, losing twice to Jon Jones and once to Daniel Cormier. However, the looming question is can a 35-year-old fighter be the same after a two year layoff? On Saturday, the world will get the answer when Gustaffson meets Krylov in the middle of the octagon.
McCann vs. Goldy
Women’s flyweight prospect, Molly McCann, hails from Liverpool and is a close friend of fellow Englishmen Paddy Pimblett. McCann is currently on a two fight win streak. A third consecutive win could catapult her into top fifteen status when the new rankings are released early next week. McCann’s next opponent, Hannah Goldy, competed in cross country and track and field in high school. Her love of competition ultimately led her to become a professional fighter as an adult. Neither woman is ranked, but they are both considered top prospects to keep an eye on in the flyweight division. They both know what’s at stake in their upcoming bout, a chance to bolster their careers and make their first appearance in the rankings.
Craig vs. Oezdemir
Scottish Light Heavyweight, Paul Craig, is a Black belt in Jiu-jitsu who was once the BAMMA World Light Heavyweight Champion. Although he has been in the UFC since 2016, Craig is yet to receive a title shot within the organization. His next opponent, Swiss-man Volkan Oezdemir, enters their fight on a two fight losing streak but it still ranked ninth in the division. This will be an intense bout between two athletes who desperately want to crack the top five in the rankings in order to get a shot at newly crowned champion, Jiří Procházka. You won’t want to miss it!
How to watch
UFC London will air from the O2 Arena. The prelims, as well as the main card, can be viewed on BT Sport in the United Kingdom, and on ESPN Plus in the United States. As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in depth analysis, available right here at World in Sport!