UFC London was quite eventful Saturday afternoon so we looked at all the storylines that emerged from the weekend.
UFC London marked the homecoming of Darren Till. He took on Jorge Masvidal who had been on a layoff. Unfortunately for Till, Masvidal had different plans for his homecoming. Let’s take a look at a couple of the fights and see what’s next for some of the fighters of the card.
Volkan Oezdemir Robbed by Dominick Reyes
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) March 17, 2019
That decision has me sick to my stomach. Volkan Oezdemir won that fight. #UFCLondon
— Ryan Hobbs (@RyanHobbsMMA) March 16, 2019
— HotBoyTupu (@BoyTupu) March 16, 2019
Many people, including Volkan Oezdemir himself, didn’t agree with the judges’ decision to hand the fight to Dominick Reyes. In a very tightly contested fight, Reyes was gifted the decision, which brings back the old mantra from way back in the day in the boxing world: “Never leave it in the hands of the judges.” Oezdemir did just that, not for a lack of trying. Oezdemir did show improvement by displaying improved cardio and even landed a couple of takedowns on Reyes. After a pair of quick knockouts, Oezdemir is on a three-fight skid, a death sentence in the UFC. I don’t see Oezdemir being cut yet, and he’ll certainly get another shot in the octagon.
Reyes, on the other hand, looked good and was very wary of Oezdemir’s power. He took his time and landed his shots well, never really putting Oezdemir in much trouble, but scoring points none the less. Reyes moves to 11-0 and continues his rise to the top of the light heavyweight division, which is desperate for new title challengers. Reyes is probably one fight away from a title fight against Jon Jones.
Next for Dominick Reyes: Jan Blachowicz, Winner of Gustafsson/Smith
Next for Volkan Oezdemir: Shogun Rua, Misha Cirkunov
Leon Edwards Outwrestles Gunnar Nelson
Many people had this fight playing out like this: if it goes to the mat, Gunnar Nelson beats Leon Edwards. People were wrong. Leon Edwards, with the home field advantage, dominated Gunnar Nelson the first two rounds despite the split decision. Leon moved his win streak to seven fights and proved he is ready to make his move to top-10 fighters. He also showed he isn’t a one-dimensional striker on the main stage. Edwards definitely has a good fight coming his way soon.
It’ll be back to the drawing board for Nelson. After a bloodbath win over Cowboy Oliveira, many people were high on Nelson going forward in the welterweight division. With plans for a title run put on hold, Nelson will look to rebound and get back to winning again. He didn’t look too comfortable with the bigger and stronger Edwards. Managing to get mount at the end of the third round, Nelson did next to nothing with his advantage, riding out the clock.
Next for Leon Edwards: Robbie Lawler, Santiago Ponzibbio
Next for Gunnar Nelson: Neil Magny, Elizeu Zaleski
Masvidal Silences O2 Arena with Till Knockout
We knew we were in for a banger of a fight when the first thing Jorge Masvidal does is run out there and kick Darren Till below the belt. While it wasn’t intentional, it sure was entertaining. In the very next exchange, Till knocked Masvidal down with a straight. Masvidal didn’t let that bother him. Coming forward and landing big shots, it was only a matter of time before he hit the night-night switch on Till. With a huge left, Masvidal put Till out quick, making the former title challenger look like a dead body. Masvidal went on to piece up Leon Edwards backstage as well.
The weight cut seems to be too much for Darren Till. After his loss to Woodley, he and his camp said they planned to move up to middleweight. I think the lesser cut could be revitalizing for Till and his career. The top two middleweights are also former welterweights. While Till’s striking looked good, he was a little passive and took too many shots without worry.
Next for Jorge Masvidal: Rafael Dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley
Next for Darren Till: Chris Weidman, Romero/Souza loser