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The UFC makes its way to O2 Arena in London for UFC on ESPN: Aspinall vs Blaydes. In the main event, hometown hero Tom Aspinall looks to take a step closer to challenging the Heavyweight title, but Curtis Blaydes stands in his way.
It’s a who’s who of European fighters on the card, with Jack Hermansson in the co-main event. Liverpudlian ‘s Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett and Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann are also back in the Octagon. Both fighters are highly entertaining in and out of the Octagon, and people will be happy to see them back in action.
Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes vs Tom Aspinall
There is nothing like watching two Heavyweights slug it out, whether it’s boxing or MMA. This fight is between two good martial artists, so it shouldn’t disappoint.
Blaydes made a statement in his last fight. Instead of taking Chris Daukaus down, he stood and traded with him. Blaydes did not attempt one takedown. Having a collegiate wrestling background, he has gone to that well plenty of times in the past, but it was good to see him end the fight standing up.
Tom Aspinall looks like a complete martial artist. Against Alexander Volkov, Aspinall stung him on the feet and took him down with ease. The Brit’s ground game is sublime, getting the victory via a straight armbar from the side mount. He hasn’t lost since 2016 and is riding a five-fight win streak in the UFC.
This is a hard fight to pick. Both looked good in their last fight. If you are going on big fight experience, then Blaydes has the edge. Aspinall, however, is like a true warrior. The British Heavyweight is just so calm and composed in the Octagon.
For Blaydes to win this, he will have to wrestle, but he will have to watch out for Aspinall going for submissions. The winner of this fight will no doubt get to fight a more prominent name next.
Betting Odds on Neds: Curtis Blaydes $2.15 Tom Aspinall $1.70.
Jack ‘Joker’ Hermansson vs Chris ‘Action-Man’ Curtis
Both fighters have a wealth of experience, with 66 fights between them. Hermansson is coming off a split decision loss to Sean Strickland in his last fight. The Norweigan was unlucky in a good fight; it didn’t go his way.
Curtis has won all three of his UFC fights. The ‘Action-Man’ trains out of the same gym as Hermansson’s last opponent Sean Strickland, so he will be ready for him. In his fight against Brendan Allen, Curtis showed that he has the power to finish a fight; also, the Xtreme Couture fighter doesn’t like being called a journeyman, so call him one at your peril.
A win here for either fighter should move them up the rankings, And who knows, an impressive performance could get them a title shot since the Champ is looking for new challengers (even though Alex Pereira has the next shot).
The loser here may be a gatekeeper moving forward, a dependable fighter that gets fed to the next superstar.
Betting Odds on Neds: Jack Hermansson $1.90 Chris Curtis $1.90
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Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett vs ‘The Monkey King’ Jordan Leavitt
An exciting fight between two up-and-coming Lightweights. ‘The Baddy’ is an exciting English prospect. He has good stand-up and an even better ground game (eight wins by submission). He will have the entire arena chanting his name, and no doubt his best friend Molly McCann will be watching after her fight like last time.
Leavitt has also very well versed on the ground as well. Coming through the Contender Series, he also has several submission wins and only one loss in the Octagon. He will be keen to continue rising through the Lightweight ranks, and what better way to do it than by beating Pimblett and silencing a vocal crowd.
Pimblett has the better stand-up out of the two fighters, and Leavitt shades him on the ground. There is no doubt that the Liverpudlian will keep it standing in the hopes of getting a knockout on home soil.
Betting Odds on Neds: Paddy Pimblett $1.38 Jordan Leavitt $3.10
Nikita ‘The Miner’ Krylov vs Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson
Krylov and Gustafsson need a win here; otherwise, they might be cut from the promotion.
Gustafsson is returning to Light-Heavyweight after a short stint in the Heavyweight division. Fans of the UFC know what ‘The Mauler’ is capable of and hope he shows shades of his former self.
Krylov has been out of the UFC before and returned, so he may not be afraid of being cut. It will be a nice notch on the belt to have a win over the Swede. Does he have the tools to get the win and stay in the world’s premier MMA promotion? We will find out.
Betting Odds on Neds: Nikita Krylov $1.45 Alexander Gustafsson $2.80
Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann vs Hammah ’24K’ Goldy
There is no doubt that McCann will want to put on a show as she did in her last fight at UFC. London. ‘Meatball’s’ spinning back elbow KO was something to behold, giving her two wins in a row.
Like McCann, Goldy broke a two-fight losing streak, beating Emily Whitmire via a first-round armbar. It looked like Whitmire was winning the fight, but ’24K’ pulled the victory out.
Goldy is the less experienced of the two, and she has not fought in an arena that will have such an atmosphere on Saturday (Sunday in Australia). She has the tools to win this fight, and she may even catch McCann if ‘Meatball’ starts this fight like her last one.
McCann must be careful; if she goes ‘balls to the wall’, it will be over in a flash. She needs to stick to the game plan and worry about the crowd second; a win is what is most important here.
Betting Odds on Neds: Molly McCann $1.22 Hannah Goldy $4.50
Paul ‘BearJew’ Craig vs Volkan ‘No Time’ Oezdemir
There is no better way to start the main card than with a classic striker vs. grappler bout, which will be a throwback of sorts to a by-gone era. Although, that might be dramatising it.
Craig is currently on a four-fight win streak. The ‘BearJew’ looked in all sorts of trouble in his last fight, but then again, the Jiu-Jitsu expert knows what he is doing and always works to his strengths. The ‘BearJew’ takes a licking and keeps ticking until he gets the tap.
Oezdemir is on a two-fight skid and needs to win this fight to get back on track. The man known as ‘No Time’ once fought for the title, so he has a bit more ‘big fight’ experience. He will need to call upon that to win here, but he must also not fall into Craig’s trap. Avoiding the ground is a must if he is to get back in the winner’s column.
Betting Odds on Neds: Paul Craig $2.20 Volkan ezdemir $1.67
Remember, Aussie fans, the preliminary card starts at 2 am AEST, with the main card beginning at 5 am on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN.