The UFC returns to London’s O2 Arena for the second time this year for a stacked card, headlined by a heavyweight duel between top five big-men Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall.
We’ll also see the likes of Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann, Mason Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, Paul Craig and Muhammad Mokaev competing in an event sure to provide plenty of fireworks.
Last week at UFC Long Island we went 8/12 with three perfect picks, moving us up to 685/1032 (64.34%) with 284 perfect picks (42.77%). You can check out our full history of picks here.
We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.
Claudio Silva (14-3) vs Nicolas Dalby (19-4-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
A fun welterweight scrap opens up the card in this one. Silva has lost his last two fights, dropping unanimous decisions to James Krause and Court McGee most recently. Meanwhile Dalby saw a six-fight undefeated streak snapped last time out, dropping a decision to Tim Means last time out.
Silva is a typical old fashioned Brazilian fighter who uses his excellent takedowns and jiu-jitsu skills to secure submissions, as his nine career submission wins show. Dalby on the other hand is a tidy kickboxer with decent boxing, but his takedown defence isn’t good and he’s a very slow starter.
That’s a big problem against someone like Silva, who will come out quickly and look to get this fight down to the ground quickly to work his grappling game. If he’s successful then this won’t last long, but if it goes on for a bit longer then Dalby should be able to grow and use his size and striking to pick Silva off from distance. That said, the fast start is a big problem so I think the Brazilian gets it done in this one, in one.
PICK – Claudio Silva via Submission, Round 1
Mandy Bohm (7-1) vs Victoria Leonardo (8-5) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
Two women coming off losses go head-to-head next in the flyweight division. Bohm suffered the first defeat of her career last time out, dropping a decision to Ariane Lipski while Leonardo has lost her two, getting KO’d by Manon Fiorot at UFC Fight Island 8 and then breaking her arm and retiring on her stall against Melissa Gatto at UFC 265.
Bohm is a decent striker with good mobility and movement as she looks to keep distance and pick her opponents off. Leonardo on the other hand is a strong grappler and wrestler, who uses her physicality to drive opponents against the cage and work her takedowns.
Leonardo’s only defeats in her career so far have come against top opposition, and her strengths lie exactly where Bohm’s weaknesses sit. Bohm is the better striker, but if she allows Leonardo to close the distance and get hold of her then I expect her to claim a comfortable win with control and damage on the mat.
PICK – Victoria Leonardo via Decision
Jai Herbert (11-4) vs Kyle Nelson (13-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)
Banger at lightweight up next as Herbert makes his return from the last UFC London event. He has lost three of four in the UFC, getting KO’d by Francisco Trinaldo (UFC Fight Island 3), choked out by Renato Moicano and KO’d again by Ilia Topuria. He earned his own stoppage win over Khama Worthy in the middle of that. Nelson on the other hand is in the same boat, but his fights stretch back to 2018. His last bout saw him KO’d by Billy Quarantillo most recently at UFC Vegas 10.
Herbert is a guy who absolutely loves to go to war with his guys, with solid striking and some decent wrestling defence in his locker too. He’s looked chinny in the UFC though, getting put out cold in both his KO losses. Nelson is a decent striker himself, with decent power, but he’s naturally a featherweight and he has a considerable speed disadvantage in this one.
Nelson will look to wrestle and slow Herbert down, but Herbert is so quick with such great technique and power on the feet as well as his defence that he’s likely to be able to catch him first with some powerful strikes to claim the win in impressive fashion in front of his home nation crowd.
PICK – Jai Herbert via Knockout, Round 2
Muhammad Mokaev (7-0) vs Charles Johnson (11-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
The super impressive undefeated Mokaev is back for his second UFC bout up next. He earned a brilliant debut win at UFC London back in March, choking out Cody Durden in just 58 seconds. Johnson on the other hand makes his UFC debut on a four-fight win streak, coming over from the LFA.
Mokaev is a brilliantly well-rounded fighter, with lightning quick strikes and good power to go with excellent grappling skills and some tight, technical chokes. Johnson meanwhile is super experienced, with good striking and scrambling skills and he will be a tough test for the 21-year-old without a doubt. With that said though, Johnson has some glaring faults that Mokaev should be more than ready to exploit.
Johnson has a habit of throwing naked kicks in punching range, and also backing himself up against the cage and going on the defence quickly. That makes him bread and butter for a wrestler as good and relentless as Mokaev is, and while I think Johnson should be able avoid being submitted I do expect him to be dominated for 15 minutes for another big win for “The Punisher”.
PICK – Muhammad Mokaev via Decision