For the second time this year the UFC visited the UK capital as this past weekend, the promotion returned to London, England with UFC London: Blaydes vs Aspinall.
With the UFC’s return to the UK earlier this year being the most successful Fight Night in the promotion’s history, UFC Fight Night 208 was always going to struggle to surpass or even live up to those expectations. Despite the fights being extremely mediocre, the event once again broke the record for the highest gate in UFC Fight Night history.
Let’s take a look at some potential match-ups for the main card winners of the night.
Back-to-back weekends have seen truly unfortunate outcomes in anticipated main events. Just like at UFC Long Island, the main event of UFC London had huge title implications, with the winner likely finding themselves fighting the winner of Tuivasa and Gane to earn the right to fight for the title.
Coming into the bout, the questions were all focused on how well Aspinall would be able to defend the takedowns of the relentless, Curtis Blaydes.
Once again, we find ourselves with unanswered questions as just 15 seconds in, Herb Dean waved off the bout after Aspinall suffered an injury to his knee. Unfortunately, an immediate rematch will be improbable as it is likely Aspinall will be out of action for a considerable amount of time. Despite the bout ending in completely unfortunate fashion for Aspinall, I can’t help but feel sorry for “Razor” Blaydes too. The 31-year old travelled half way across the globe after partaking in a grueling camp only for that to happen.
It is now likely that Blaydes will fight the victor of the UFC Paris main event on Sept. 3.
Blaydes’ next fight: Winner of Gane/Tuivasa
With Darren Till having pulled out of his scheduled bout with Jack Hermansson, Chris Curtis came in to save the day, coming in off a hot streak of his own.
The bout didn’t play out in the desired way the fans craved, but Hermansson exhibited a different side to his game that has highlighted him as even more well-rounded than he already was. “The Action Man” was not happy with the lack of action during the fight, complaining that Hermansson spent the entire fight on the back foot, flipping him off multiple times during the fight.
Despite how Curtis expected or wanted the fight to play out, Hermansson showed patience and a skill in his counter striking to put himself back in the win column, putting a stop to Curtis’ three-fight winning streak since joining the UFC last year.
Although Hermansson isn’t keen on rebooking a fight with Till for the third time, it is a bout that would still answer a lot of questions in terms of how far Till’s training with Khamzat will have taken him.
Hermansson’s Next Fight: Darren Till
Paddy “The Baddy” once again blew the roof off the O2 Arena. Prior to the bout, the majority consensus was that this was far and away the toughest test of Paddy’s UFC tenure as Leavitt was coming in with only one prior loss and possessed a grappling-heavy style.
None of that proved significant as even after controlling the majority of round one with his offensive grappling, it was the submission attempts from Pimblett that proved pivotal as he was given the first round by all three judges.
The second round started off with more of the same as Leavitt put on the forward pressure, pressing the Scouser up against the cage. Just moments after, the Brit had “The Monkey King” tangled up in an arm triangle, subsequently followed by a huge knee to the dome. After trapping the arm in a body triangle, Leavitt became defenseless to Pimblett’s rear-naked choke, tapping out.
Although the star has made relatively easy work of his first three UFC outings, it’s difficult to predict whether the UFC will give him a similar treatment they did with Sean O’Malley. Having said that, for Paddy’s next outing I’d like to see him face Matt Frevola.
Pimblett’s Next Fight: Matt Frevola
Fan favourite Alexander Gustafsson was returning to the Light Heavyweight division on Saturday after a short stay at Heavyweight. “The Mauler” was coming in hoping to ignite one last flame to make a run towards a hopeful title run. Nikita “The Miner” Krylov though had other plans for the Swede.
Within the first few moments of the fight, Krylov found himself dropping Gustafsson with a heavy overhand right. Fortunately for Gustafsson, he managed to weather the early Krylov storm and got back to his feet, putting the 30-year-old against the fence.
Not long after, Krylov could sense Gustafsson didn’t want to be in there and began another onslaught of pressure. A clinch engagement by Krylov was followed by a powerful uppercut, dropping Gustafsson for a second time, but this time he made it pay with some viscous ground-and-pound, scoring his biggest win in the UFC so far.
With his little bit of mic time, Krylov decided to call out another victor of the night, Volkan Oezdemir.
Krylov’s Next Fight: Volkan Oezdemir
“Meatball” Molly didn’t only continue her impressive ways at UFC London, but she did it in extremely similar fashion. Like she said in her Octagon interview, ‘have you ever seen lightening strike twice? Well you have now.’
It’s fair to say, the two scousers stole the show in a night where the majority of fights were a big let down. When Molly McCann is fighting, violence is one of the guarantees. Hannah Goldy threatened the Brit with a few takedown attempts but didn’t have much luck with that strategy, finding herself getting involved in boxing exchanges. Not so long after, she caught a big right cross from the “Meatball” rocking her back to the cage. What followed is something Goldy may not remember eating, but the replays will show her receiving what has become a signature McCann spinning elbow. The spinning elbow was the start of a barrage of heavy punches, sinking Goldy and getting yet another KO win.
In her post fight press conference she responded to a callout from Miranda Maverick, but also stated that she’d like to test herself against Shevchenko. Not that one, but the sister of the champion, Antonina Shevchenko. Despite her making a callout of her own, out of the two potential fights, I would prefer to see her face Miranda Maverick as I believe fireworks would be all but guaranteed.
McCann’s Next Fight: Miranda Maverick
With “No Time” receiving a callout from Krylov, I believe that’s a fight that suits them both and makes a lot of sense from all angles.
Oezdemir’s Next Fight: Nikita Krylov