The second trip to London for the UFC this year saw a big performance from the returning Tom Aspinall in the UFC London main event, and a difficult setback in the co-headliner after Molly McCann was once again submitted.
What comes next for “Meatball” Molly and main event loser Marcin Tybura? It’s time! To play matchmaker, that is.
As consistent as Marcin Tybura has been in recent years, the deck was always stacked against him at UFC London. The Polish heavyweight was tasked with going into enemy territory and competing as the return opponent for a very motivated, very gifted Tom Aspinall.
Aspinall has future champ written all over him. In recent years, Tybura has been one of the most improved heavyweights on the roster — but he was hit by a freight train of momentum on Saturday.
Tybura is still 37, not exactly old for a heavyweight, and is 7-2 in his last nine fights. No cause for panic — though he’s faced so many of the division’s top names that he may have to take on a relative newcomer next.
Jailton Almeida would be one option, but he’s already ranked ahead of Tybura and seems destined for bigger things. Don’Tale Mayes, however, is 31, seven fights into his UFC career, and coming off a win against Andrei Arlovski. Beating an ex-champ should get him a step up, and since Tybura is likely to slide a couple of spots after this loss, fighting an unranked opponent isn’t the end of the world.
Tybura’s next fight: Don’Tale Mayes
After two stunning performances at the O2 Arena in London last year, “Meatball” Molly McCann returned to the scene of her greatest triumphs, looking to bounce back from a submission loss against Erin Blanchfield.
It didn’t happen. Instead, Julija Stoliarenko, making her flyweight debut, submitted McCann via a nasty arm-bar to put a damper on the night.
McCann has now signalled that she will drop to strawweight, after spending years fighting taller, longer opponents. Which puts a whole new spin on matchmaking for the Liverpool native.
While she won’t draw anyone ranked, McCann should be booked into a fun fight. Cheyanne Vlismas is coming off a loss to another U.K.-based fighter, Wales’ Cory McKenna. That’s a fight that could work as McCann gets her toes wet at strawweight.
McCann’s next fight: Cheyanne Vlismas
Andre “Touchy” Fili was touched up at UFC London, suffering his third loss in four fights (discounting a No Contest due to an eye poke). Fili, 33, has been with the UFC a decade, and is always good for a fun fight — but he needs to get back to winning consistently in a weight class that is quite frankly cruel to fighters over 35. Time is starting to be a concern, in other words.
Canada’s Kyle Nelson has had similar struggles of late, but is coming off a win over Blake Bilder at UFC 289 last month. Fili is enough of a name to make booking this fight worthwhile for Nelson even off a loss, and it could be a banger.
Fili’s next fight: Kyle Nelson
Middleweight Andre Muniz was smashed into next Tuesday by Paul Craig at UFC London, with Craig making his divisional debut in the fight.
Muniz had a five-fight win streak going to start his UFC run, and once snapped Jacare Souza’s arm. But he’s now lost two straight, struggling with steps up in competition against Craig and Brendan Allen.
Currently #14 in the weight class, Muniz could be out of the rankings when they update. He probably ends up fighting someone outside the top 15 next, which in this case could be Phil Hawes — also coming off back-to-back losses.
Muniz’s next fight: Phil Hawes
“The Black Country Banger” Jai Herbert suffered a decision loss against French lightweight Fares Ziam in London. He’s now 1-1-1 in his last three fights, and 2-4-1 in the UFC overall.
The former Cage Warriors champ needs a bounce back fight, and it would be fun to book him in Paris, maybe to flip the script after losing to a French opponent at home in London. But that’s likely a bit too quick of a turnaround. Guram Kutateladze lost earlier this month, however, and the timing there could work out.
Herbert’s next fight: Guram Kutateladze
Australia’s Josh Culibao saw a three-fight win streak snapped at UFC London. Like Herbert, there’s a chance for a quick turnaround, as the UFC heads to Sydney in September. Whether he can make that date or not, Culibao had been on a roll in the featherweight division. Jamall Emmers is also coming off a loss, and had been trading wins and losses since coming into the UFC. That’s a fun one.
Culibao’s next fight: Jamall Emmers
Davey Grant was bumped up to the UFC London main card due to time constraints, so this is sort of a bonus pick. Losing a split decision saw Grant’s two-fight win streak snapped by Daniel Marcos.
After losing so much time earlier in his career, who Grant fights is less important than him staying busy. 37 is not the age you want to be at bantamweight, but he’s still been finding success. Johnny Munoz Jr. is coming off a loss, and could be ready to go again given that fight was early June. If Grant does want to get right back to work, book that.
Grant’s next fight: Johnny Munoz Jr.