Tag Archives: UFC London

UFC London: Blaydes vs Aspinall – Main card predictions

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 and after starting with the early prelims and then the rest of the prelims here, we move on to the main card now.


Paul Craig (16-4-1) vs Volkan Oezdemir (17-6) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Big time scrap between supreme grappler and powerhouse striker opens up this main card. Craig has won his last four in a row and is unbeaten in six, with all five wins coming via finish. Oezdemir has lost his last two in a row, getting slept by Jiri Prochazka at UFC 251 before dropping a decision to Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 267 most recently.

Craig is an absolute beast when it comes to the jiu-jitsu game, with an incredible aggressive guard and unorthdox submission skills. Oezdemir is a poor grappler, but he earned his “No Time” nickname from putting people’s lights out quickly and with one punch. This honestly depends on how generous the referee is feeling, because Craig often likes to take a bunch of strikes on the ground before wrapping in a submission when his opponent gets excited.

Oezdemir is powerful enough to put him out early though, and his takedown defence is solid enough to keep this standing. But Craig tends to be incredibly aggressive with his grappling and if he gets into a position of strength on the ground then Oezdemir will be in trouble. It’ll be very exciting, but I expect Craig to have the fans behind him and grab another amazing submission win.
PICK – Paul Craig via Submission, Round 1

Molly McCann (12-4) vs Hannah Goldy (6-2) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The owner of the knockout of the year so far is Molly McCann and that’s undisputed. McCann earned a stunning spinning back elbow to beat Luana Carolina last time out to make it back-to-back wins, while Goldy got her first UFC win with a first round armbar over Emily Whitmire last time out.

McCann is a boxer who was once a national champion and had the shortest reach in the entire UFC, meaning she had to learn to use her grappling and wrestling skills to close the distance. That was until Goldy signed, and she now is the owner of the shortest reach in the UFC. Goldy is a decent striker too but prefers to grind her opponents against the cage and try to be physical. She’s in trouble here though.

“Meatball” isn’t the biggest puncher in the world, but she’s incredibly aggressive and her pressure is relentless throughout 15 minutes. Her ability to get back to her feet will suit her here and using her reach and boxing skills she should be able to control this fight for the most part to earn yet another win, although a finish is pretty unlikely on this occasion.
PICK – Molly McCann via Decision

Nikita Krylov (27-9) vs Alexander Gustafsson (18-7) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A big time light heavyweight scrap between two highly experienced fighters. Krylov has lost three of his last four fights but all against elite competition, with Glover Teixeira, Magomed Ankalaev and Paul Craig all beating him soundly. He did claim a win over Johnny Walker in the middle of that run though. Gustafsson was once considered one of the best 205 pounders to never win gold when he retired, but since coming back he’s not had fun. He’s lost his comeback fight at heavyweight when Fabricio Werdum submitted him at UFC Fight Island 3.

Krylov is a brilliantly powerful puncher, but he’s also a solid grappler with good wrestling and top control. Gustafsson on the other hand is more of a boxer with great combinations and hand speed, although he’s shown his wrestling capabilities too – becoming the first man to ever take down Jon Jones. That said though, he’s five years out since his last win in the octagon.

Granted two years of that he was out of competition, but he’s 0-3 in his last 3 and he’s been beaten handily in all of those fights. In his prime I would expect Gustafsson to be able to string everything together and probably even claim a knockout. But this version of Gustafsson is slower and less durable and Krylov has been in there for a while against the very best, so I expect him to land another big win for his record.
PICK – Nikita Krylov via Decision



Paddy Pimblett (18-3) vs Jordan Leavitt (10-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The people’s main event in the lightweight division as “The Baddy” makes his return the O2. Pimblett has gone 2-0 in the UFC so far, knocking out Luigi Vendramini before submitting Kazulu Vargas last time out. Leavitt is 3-1 in the UFC, winning two in a row with a submission over Matt Sayles and then a decision against Trey Ogden.

Pimblett is a fine striker with good power and speed, but it’s his grappling and jiu-jitsu skills that really set him apart for many fans. Leavitt is a terrific grappler too, with excellent wrestling and strength and great idea for positioning for safety. Against someone like Pimblett, that will come in really handy as he is constantly looking to get the finish at the earliest possible opportunity.

With that said, Leavitt has a good chance of getting control early on when Pimblett is still going through the motions with the crowd and he’ll probably win the first round. But with a few tweaks, Pimblett should be able to land powerful strikes that could drop Leavitt and then sink in a choke to claim a third win and send the crowd wild.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Submission, Round 2

Jack Hermansson (22-7) vs Chris Curtis (29-8) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A short notice co-main event in this one, as Chris Curtis steps in for the injured Darren Till. Hermansson suffered defeats to Marvin Vettori and Sean Strickland in two of his last three fights, with a win over Edmen Shahbazyan coming in the middle of that. Curtis meanwhile has gone 3-0 in the UFC, KO’ing Phil Hawes at UFC 268 before KO’ing Brendan Allen (UFC Vegas 44) and then earning a decision over Rodolfo Vieira most recently.

Hermansson is a decent striker but his best fighting comes in the grappling on the mat, with great submissions and vicious ground and pound coming at the end of good wrestling takedowns. Curtis is a top level boxer with excellent low kicks, stunning power and really good takedown defence too. This is a real fairytale for Curtis, who has done nothing but impress in the UFC since his debut. This is a really, really tough fight to call.

Curtis is good enough to keep the fight standing and he’s got better striking without a doubt, but Hermansson is someone who uses his physicality well on his opponents as fights go on. With that said though, Curtis beat a better grappler about a month ago with his takedown defence and counter-striking so it’s hard to see how he doesn’t do it again.
PICK – Chris Curtis via Decision

Curtis Blaydes (16-3) vs Tom Aspinall (12-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Huge main event with potential title implications on the line in the heavyweight division headlines this card. Blaydes bounced back from a nasty KO loss to Derrick Lewis (UFC Vegas 19) by dominating Jairzinho Rozenstruik and then sleeping Chris Daukaus most recently. Aspinall is 5-0 in the UFC and absolutely dominated Alexander Volkov last time out via a straight arm lock in the first round at UFC London in March.

Blaydes is the best wrestler the heavyweight division has ever seen. He has a huge overhand right and a decent left jab, but everything is set up to change levels and take his opponent down to dominate from top position and land vicious ground and pound. Aspinall is one of the most well-rounded heavyweights we’ve seen, with incredible boxing and hand speed to go with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt too. He really is the total package. That makes this fight super hard to call.

Nobody has been able to stop Blaydes taking them down so far, and I don’t expect Aspinall to stuff a bunch of takedowns in this one either. But on his back he’s dangerous and on the feet he has an absolutely huge advantage with his boxing skills. Blaydes often doesn’t let his opponents up once he gets them down though, but we have seen him fade in five-round fights before when he’s forced to chain takedowns together through the fight. Aspinall has never been dragged into deep waters so we don’t know how he’ll cope, but we do know Blaydes has the capability of being put to sleep when entering for takedowns and Aspinall has the power and speed to counter quickly. Its hard, and I may be a bit bias, but I think Aspinall can get it done.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 4

UFC London: Blaydes vs Aspinall – Prelims predictions

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 and after starting with the early prelims, we move on to the rest of the prelims here.


Makwan Amirkhani (17-7) vs Jonathan Pearce (12-4) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A really fun 145-pound fight up next between two great grapplers. Amirkhani snapped a three-fight losing streak last time out, submitting Mike Grundy in just 57 seconds via anaconda choke. Pearce is on a three-fight win streak KO’ing Kai Kamaka III, submitting Omar Morales (UFC 266) and then earning a decision over Christian Rodriguez most recently.

Amirkhani is a great grappler with really tight submission skills to work from, earning 12 submission wins in his career. “JSP” on the other hand is a great wrestler, but he tends to use his physicality to wear on opponents and uses his volume as a weapon to really grind on them. That means this fight goes one of two ways – a quick submission or a dominant display.

I’m leaning towards the dominant display, because Amirkhani isn’t as active from the top as he should be considering his skillset and his cardio lets him down on a regular basis. So long as Pearce doesn’t give up his back early doors, he should be able to use his activity to score points and then eventually grind his way to a wide decision of potentially even a late finish.
PICK – Jonathan Pearce via Decision

Nathaniel Wood (17-5) vs Charles Rosa (14-7) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Finally, “The Prospect” is back in a UFC octagon! Wood suffered defeat way back at UFC 254 against Casey Kenney and has seen several fights fall out ever since. Rosa on the other hand has lost his last two, dropping decisions to Damon Jackson and then most recently TJ Brown at UFC Vegas 46.

Wood is a fine striker on the feet but he’s also got some half-decent wrestling and submission skills from the top position. Rosa meanwhile is a great striker and he has got some violent top position which opens up submission attempts, but he has never been able to sort out his God-awful takedown defence and that’s a huge problem in this match up.

His offensive wrestling isn’t good enough to take Wood down at will, and the Brit is very good at scrambling back to his feet anyway. Outside of that, Wood is the better fighter everywhere. He’s a better striker, better wrestler, more powerful and quicker. He chooses how to win this essentially barring a hail Mary submission win, so go with Wood for a W.
PICK – Nathaniel Wood via Decision



Marc Diakiese (15-5) vs Damir Hadzovic (14-6) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Another British lightweight on the card in this match up. Diakiese suffered back-to-back defeats against Rafael Fiziev and Rafael Alves, before bouncing back with a decision win over Viacheslav Borshchev most recently. Hadzovic did the same in his last fight, beating Yancy Medeiros via unanimous decision.

Diakiese is a solid kickboxer with good power and explosiveness, while his takedown defence is strong too. Hadzovic is a brawler who relies on his heavy hands big time, and hopes to encourage his opponents to be drawn into a scrap with him. Diakiese won’t do that, because he’s got the advantage everywhere this fight goes.

“Bonecrusher” is taller, has a better reach, is the better technical striker and if he really needs it he’s by far the better wrestler too. Hadzovic’s takedown defence is pretty poor and Diakiese has shown great durability throughout his career to make a one-punch KO unlikely, so expect a dominant win for Diakiese.
PICK – Marc Diakiese via Decision

Mason Jones (11-1) vs Ludovit Klein (18-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

An absolute barnstormer of a fight gets the featured prelim spot, just one week after the fight got put together. Jones suffered the first defeat of his career to Mike Davis at UFC Fight Island 8, before a no contest against Alan Patrick at UFC Vegas 28. He finally got back in the win column last time out though, dominating David Onama. Klein on the other hand snapped a two fight losing-streak last time out when he grabbed a split decision over Devonte Smith at UFC 272.

Jones is a really well-rounded prospect, who has controlled the distance and pace of all his fights so far and dominated most people with his relentless pressure. Klein meanwhile is a really talented striker, with incredible kicks and striking skills but his overall game tends to let him down against people who won’t have a kickboxing match with him. Jones is almost certain to pressure Klein to death and look to land combinations and knees to the body.

Klein has the ability to knock Jones out because he’s always willing to take a shot to give three back. But if Jones is capable of eating them, in the way he’s been able to against everyone else, then he will walk through them and punish Klein with his pressure. Klein’s cardio tends to let him down later in fights, so expect Jones to really put it on him and maybe even get a finish late on.
PICK – Mason Jones via Knockout, Round 3

UFC London: Blaydes vs Aspinall – Early prelims predictions

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

UFC London: Volkov vs Aspinall – Main card predictions

After a three year absence the UFC returns to London and the O2 Arena for a huge UFC London fight card, headlined by heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall.

A stacked card will see the two heavyweights competing to get title contention with a win, while we’ll also see the likes of Arnold Allen take on Dan Hooker, Paddy Pimblett makes his UK return while Jack Shore, Nathaniel Wood and Muhammad Mokaev also compete too.

In case you’re unaware, we’ve done a list of five things you must not miss from this card too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 50 we went 11/14 with three perfect picks to move to 568/879 (64.62%) with 241 perfect picks (42.43%). You can see our full record here.

We’ll look to improve that record here and after starting with the early prelims, and rounding off our prelims picks here, we move on to our main card picks now.


Jai Herbert (11-3) vs Ilia Topuria (11-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A banger of a fight to open the main card in the 155-pound division. Herbert earned his first win in the octagon with a first-round KO against Khama Worthy at UFC Vegas 41, while Topuria is an undefeated prospect with his last win coming via brutal KO against Ryan Hall at UFC 264. This is Topuria’s debut at lightweight.

Herbert is a boxer with good power in his hands, but his defensive grappling isn’t great and that’s a big problem in this fight. Topuria is a super talented grappler with great cardio and also some solid boxing skills with knockout power. Topuria’s only disadvantage in this fight could end up being size, because he’s not the biggest in this weight class.

Topuria will trade on the feet until an opportunity for a takedown presents itself and he will take it immediately. Topuria will land nasty elbows on the mat, pass guard and eventually work to the back before snatching up the neck for an impressive win in quick fashion.
PICK – Ilia Topuria via Submission, Round 1

Molly McCann (11-4) vs Luana Carolina (8-2) – (Flyweight/135lbs)

‘Meatball’ is back and she’s back in London for this women’s flyweight bout on the main card. McCann suffered back-to-back defeats to Taila Santos and Lara Procopio before getting back in the win column against Ji Yeon Kim at UFC Vegas 36 most recently. Carolina has won her last two via decision, beating Poliana Botelho at UFC Vegas 25 and Lupita Godinez at UFC Vegas 40.

McCann is a pressure fighter who looks to use low kicks and boxing to force her opponent backwards and make them crumble. Carolina is a lengthy boxer herself, but she struggles to make the most of her reach advantage. Her takedown defence is good, but when it comes to mixing it all up she tends to be troubled and that’s what McCann is best at.

The Brit will be relentless with her forward pressure, will land strikes and will almost certainly mix it up with takedowns against teh cage and she’s good enough to hold Carolina down and control her for long periods of time. If Carolina is able to make reads and defend it though, her reach and speed should see her pick McCann apart. For my money, ‘Meatball’ comes forward enough to slip the reach disadvantage, get takedowns and win rounds.
PICK – Molly McCann via Decision

Gunnar Nelson (17-5-1) vs Takashi Sato (16-4) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A strange welterweight bout up next on the main card between two guys returning from lengthy lay offs. Nelson is on a two-fight losing streak after defeats to Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns back in 2019, while Sato lost via submission to Miguel Baeza back in November 2020 at UFC Vegas 15.

Nelson is a brilliant submission fighter with a karate stance where he looks to counter strike to land on his opponents clean. Sato on the other hand is a solid striker with an excellent jab and good combinations, and is confident in the grappling but mostly struggles against elites in that field. Nelson is elite in that field, but he’s been away for so long it’s hard to get a proper read on him.

Sato is coming in on very short notice in this bout, which goes against him, and if Nelson is at least not completely rusty and done then he should be able to get a pretty convincing win here.
PICK – Gunnar Nelson via Decision



Paddy Pimblett (17-3) vs Kazula Vargas (12-4) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The most popular fighter on the card by a distance makes a return to the UK fight scene to take on Rodrigo Vargas. Pimblett earned a massive comeback knockout win at UFC Vegas 36 against Luigi Vendramini, while Vargas snapped a two-fight losing streak against Rongzhu at UFC 261 last time out.

Pimblett is a solid all-rounder, with excellent submissions skills and much improved striking in recent years with great knockout power. Vargas on the other hand is a decent boxer with plenty of experience but while he has a bigger frame and could overpower Pimblett, the trouble is he’s outmatched in skill.

‘The Baddy’ is a great kicker from range and has got the ability to take this fight wherever he feels he has the most advantage. He has promised a first-round finish, so who am I to go against that. Pimblett lands a hard right hand to drop Vargas and then jumps on the neck for a quick finish.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Submission, Round 1

Arnold Allen (17-1) vs Dan Hooker (21-11) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A truly brilliant fight in the featherweight division in the co-main event as both guys look to become a serious contender at 145-pounds. Allen is on a ten-fight win streak, including a big decision of Sodiq Yusuff last time out at UFC Vegas 23. Hooker on the other hand has lost three of his last four to Dustin Poirier (UFC Vegas 4), Michael Chandler (UFC 257) and Islam Makhachev (UFC 267) most recently with a win against Nasrat Haqparast just before that at UFC 266. He returns to featherweight for the first time since 2016.

Allen is a tremendous wrestler and solid defensive fighter on the feet who knows exactly what he’s good at and goes straight to it. Hooker on the other hand is a striker who doesn’t want to be on the ground, but is capable of holding his own down there and battling to get it back into a striking battle. Allen will not allow that.

‘Almighty’ is strong in the grappling, good enough to hold his own in the striking, has constant volume, is younger, fresher and won’t be struggling with the weight cut. This is his chance to make a real impact on the division and I think he does just that.
PICK – Arnold Allen via Decision

Alexander Volkov (34-9) vs Tom Aspinall (11-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweight main event in what should be an absolute banger. Volkov has won three of his last four, with defeat to Ciryl Gane at UFC Vegas 30 splitting up wins over Walt Harris, Alistair Overeem (UFC Vegas 18) and Marcin Tybura (UFC 267) most recently. Aspinall is an undefeated 4-0 in the UFC with stoppage wins over Jake Collier (UFC Fight Island 3), Alan Baudot (UFC Fight Island 5), Andrei Arlovski (UFC Vegas 19) and Sergei Spivak (UFC Vegas 36).

Volkov and Aspinall are both tremendous boxers, with brilliant jabs and combinations as well as legitimate knockout power. The difference between the two fighters is that Aspinall is a true grappler also, with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and some solid wrestling too. Aspinall has a speed advantage and with a five-year age gap, his cardio has looked good so far. He has never fought in front of a live UFC crowd though and has never had a five-round fight in his career.

This fight will stay on the feet for the early exchanges as Aspinall looks to test the chin and make reads. His jab is more than good enough to land despite the size advantage but it’s the submission and grappling threat that will open up a big opportunity for him to land a combination. That could be enough to put Volkov out, but if not he’ll take the neck and secure a submission as a result to claim the biggest win of his career.
PICK – Tom Aspinall via Knockout, Round 3

UFC London: Volkov vs Aspinall – Prelims predictions

After a three year absence the UFC returns to London and the O2 Arena for a huge UFC London fight card, headlined by heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall.

A stacked card will see the two heavyweights competing to get title contention with a win, while we’ll also see the likes of Arnold Allen take on Dan Hooker, Paddy Pimblett makes his UK return while Jack Shore, Nathaniel Wood and Muhammad Mokaev also compete too.

In case you’re unaware, we’ve done a list of five things you must not miss from this card too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 50 we went 11/14 with three perfect picks to move to 568/879 (64.62%) with 241 perfect picks (42.43%). You can see our full record here.

We’ll look to improve that record here and after starting with the early prelims, we round off our prelims picks here.


Jack Shore (15-0) vs Timur Valiev (18-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Arguably the fight of the night, so no idea why this is all the way down the card like this. Shore is an undefeated talent with a perfect 15-0 record, earning a dominant decision win over Liudvik Sholinian at UFC Vegas 36 most recently while Valiev earned a mightily impressive win over Raoni Barcelos at UFC Vegas 30 in his most recent outing to make it eight wins in his last nine bouts.

Shore is a technical kickboxer with some solid top game too with excellent jiu-jitsu skills too, while Valiev is a speedy striker who has really strong wrestling skills too and has fought a better level of competition. This is an incredibly close match up stylistically and in terms of their current level and could really go either way.

Valiev has the speed edge on the feet and his wrestling is usually good enough to dictate where the bout goes, but Shore will pressure him hard and if he gets on top the likelihood is the round ends with a finish or with him still in that position. Valiev has shown an ability to get KO’d in the past and while Shore doesn’t have that one-punch power himself, the ground-and-pound game will come in handy to secure him a late finish.
PICK – Jack Shore via Knockout, Round 3

Nikita Krylov (27-8) vs Paul Craig (15-4-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A big light heavyweight banger up next as ‘BearJew’ makes a return to the octagon. Krylov has alternated defeats and losses in the UFC with losses against Jan Blachowicz, Glover Teixeira and Magomed Ankalaev most recently at UFC Vegas 20 while he earned wins against Ovince St Preux and Johnny Walker. Craig hasn’t fought since UFC 263, where he smashes Jamahal Hill and got a nasty TKO after pulling guard and dislocating his elbow.

Krylov is a solid offensive fighter with good kickboxing skills, good power in his hands and a decent ground game too. Craig on the other hand is a highly-skilled Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and while he has powerful striking, his home is on the mat. Krylov will want to keep this fight standing as much as possible, but Craig should look to bring it down quickly.

On the feet, Krylov is the more crisp striker and he has got 15 submission wins in his career from the top position but he’s also been defeated five times via tap out. Craig will likely get clipped on the feet, pull guard and eventually work his way to an armbar for yet another brilliant submission win..
PICK – Paul Craig via Submission, Round 2



Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-6) vs Sergei Pavlovich (14-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Heavyweights step up to the plate in this prelim bout between a veteran and a prospect among the big men. Abdurakhimov returned after two-years away to get stomped by Chris Daukaus at UFC 266 last time out, while Pavlovich is on a two-fight win streak but hasn’t fought since October 2019.

‘Abrek’ is a grinding wrestler, with a great sambo background and dominant top game looking to wear on his opponents on the mat. Pavlovich on the other hand is a heavy-handed striker with tremendous power, but some takedown defence issues make this a hard fight to call. Abdurakhimov is happy to take a punch or three to close the distance and get hold of his opponent, but those punches could see the end of the night early on.

Pavlovich’s path to victory is clear; avoid takedowns and strike with speed and power. If he can keep this on the feet then I expect him to land enough clean shots to end this one early and while Abdurakhimov will try hard for the takedown I think he gets dropped on the way in before a quick finish.
PICK – Sergei Pavlovich via Knockout, Round 1

Mike Grundy (12-3) vs Makwan Amirkhani (16-7) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun featherweight scrap rounds off the prelims section of the card between two European fighters. Grundy is on a two-fight losing streak, dropping decisions against Movsar Evloev and then most recently Lando Vannatta at UFC 262. Amirkhani on the other hand has lost each of his last three, dropping decisions against Edson Barboza and Kamuela Kirk before getting KO’d by Lerone Murphy at UFC 267 most recently.

Grundy is a freestyle wrestler, who looks to use pressure and a big right hand on the feet to set up his takedowns. Amirkhani is a brilliant wrestler also, with excellent submission skills but just about two rounds of cardio in the bank. If it goes to the ground, it’s all about how long they’re there for and who’s on top.

If Amirkhani is on top, then I expect him to be able to work the position before finding a neck or an arm and getting a submission win. If Grundy is on top he will look to wear on Amirkhani and start using big ground and pound on the mat to do damage. With their skills matched up, I’m going to go with the cardio and home crowd advantage of Grundy to drag him through and earn him the victory.
PICK – Mike Grundy via Decision

UFC London: Volkov vs Aspinall – Early prelims predictions

After a three year absence the UFC returns to London and the O2 Arena for a huge UFC London fight card, headlined by heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall.

A stacked card will see the two heavyweights competing to get title contention with a win, while we’ll also see the likes of Arnold Allen take on Dan Hooker, Paddy Pimblett makes his UK return while Jack Shore, Nathaniel Wood and Muhammad Mokaev also compete too.

In case you’re unaware, we’ve done a list of five things you must not miss from this card too.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 50 we went 11/14 with three perfect picks to move to 568/879 (64.62%) with 241 perfect picks (42.43%). You can see our full record here.

We’ll look to improve that record here, starting with the early prelims.


Muhammad Mokaev (6-0) vs Cody Durden (12-3-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

A super interesting card opener at flyweight between debutant prospect Mokaev and the new most-hated Durden. Mokaev is 6-0 with a stacked 23-0 amateur record making his company debut, while Durden snapped a two-fight winless streak last time out by defeating Aoriqileng before going off on a racist rant in the octagon interview.

Mokaev has earned plaudits and comparisons to Russian duo Khamzat Chimaev for his quick rise, and has solid grappling and striking skills despite being just 21-years-old. Durden is a grinding wrestler who looks to put his opponents on their back and work them over with ground-and-pound. This is a tough debut for ‘The Punisher’, but he has got some great abilities and a chance to claim victory.

Durden will push a hard pace for the first round but his history tells you he will gas. Mokaev will scramble plenty and use his excellent hand speed and kicking techniques, before using his pressure and wrestling himself to wear on Durden and earn a hype TKO win midway through the second after a tough first round.
PICK – Muhammad Mokaev via Knockout, Round 2

Nathaniel Wood (17-5) vs Vince Morales (11-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A very fun bantamweight fight here between one of Britain’s own against a very game opponent. ‘The Prospect’ came into the UFC with really high hopes but has suffered defeat in two of his last three, dropping a decision to Casey Kenny at UFC 254 most recently. Morales steps in on short-notice for this fight on a two-fight win streak, earning a decision against Drako Rodriguez at UFC 265 and then KO’ing Louis Smolka at UFC Vegas 44.

Wood is a talented grappler with solid submission skills and nasty low kicks, which serves as a great antidote against Morales’ biggest strength which is a monster right hand. Morales has struggled against pressure fighters with good takedowns in the past and on short notice that makes this an even worse stylistic match up than it would be normally.

After a long period out, Wood should be able to use his low kicks from range and mix in takedowns and his speedy one-two to cause trouble and out-point Morales for a much-needed win.
PICK – Nathaniel Wood via Decision



Cory McKenna (6-1) vs Elise Reed (4-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

An interesting strawweight bout in this one between one homegrown prospect and an American with aspirations of making a name for himself. McKenna is on a four-fight win streak, going 1-0 in the UFC so far aged just 22 with a decision win over Kay Hansen at UFC Vegas 14, while Reed lost her UFC debut getting smashed by Sijara Eubanks at UFC Vegas 32.

McKenna is a good pressure fighter with great hand speed and some good wrestling skills too, mixing up all her techniques well and never losing any sharpness. Reed is a kicker who likes to strike, but she’s naturally smaller having usually competed at atomweight outside the UFC.

This seems like a fight to get McKenna on the radar of the home crowd. At just 22 she’s got a huge future ahead of her and has the edge almost everywhere in this fight if she’s able to close the distance, so I expect her to mix it up well enough to claim a decision win.
PICK – Cory McKenna via Decision

Five things not to miss at UFC London

It’s fight week baby and for the first time in three years the UFC is back in London, England for a hugely exciting fight card.

Headlined by heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall as he looks to crack the top five against Alexander Volkov, the UFC have put some of Britain and Europe’s best talent together on the card for the fans.

But while there are some obvious headlines coming out of the card, here are some thing to look out for that you definitely don’t want to miss.



PADDY PIMBLETT AND ILIA TOPURIA BEEF

There’s a big rivalry brewing between these two hot prospects in the UFC, and the fact they’ve been in different weight classes may not even matter.

Ilia Topuria is an undefeated featherweight contender, currently sitting with a record of 11-0 and scheduled to fight against Jai Herbert at this event. But that fight will now take place at 155lbs, after a botched weight cut most recently.

Pimblett is one of the biggest names to come out of the UK & Ireland since Conor McGregor, with a record of 17-3 after winning his UFC debut in the lightweight division. He will fight Kazula Vargas at UFC London.

But these two have gone back and forth on social media in recent months and even came to blows in the hotel during check-in. If both are able to secure wins, don’t be surprised to see them meet in the octagon against each other before too long.

MUHAMMAD MOKAEV – A STAR WILL BE BORN

There a few undefeated prospects on this card, and one of the most exciting is Muhammad Mokaev in the flyweight division.

After going 23-0 in the amateur scene, Mokaev is now 6-0 (1 no contest) as a professional and will make his UFC debut against Cody Durden during the prelims section of the card.

Compared to Khamzat Chimaev and Khabib Nurmagomedov, the 21-year-old has a very bright future and you don’t want to miss out on the birth of a superstar at UFC London this weekend.

JACK SHORE V TIMUR VALIEV! – FIGHT OF THE NIGHT

Without doubt the fight of the night, and somehow it’s only on the prelims section of the card in the O2 Arena.

Shore is 15-0 and one of the best English talents in mixed martial arts, but he faces the toughest test of his career to date when he takes on the incredibly talented Valiev in their bout at 135-pounds.

Both men are incredibly well-rounded and will look to make an impression, with the bantamweight division one of the most stacked in the entire company. A win would be huge for both, and this should be fireworks. So don’t miss it!

ARNOLD ALLEN – NEXT FEATHERWEIGHT CONTENDER

Featherweight is screaming for a new contender at the top of the division, and Arnold Allen has the chance to make that place his own.

Currently ranked at number 7, ‘Almighty’ will take on Dan Hooker who returns from an exciting run at lightweight back into the division he originally entered the UFC in.

A high-profile win for Allen against a household name like Hooker would see the attention Allen gets rise exponentially, but also make his claims for a title shot far more legitimate.

With Alexander Volkanovski defending his title against Korean Zombie next month at UFC 273 and Max Holloway next in line, a win for Allen sets him up for a number one contender fight later this year to get a crack at gold in 2023.

TOM ASPINALL TITLE CHALLENGE?

The heavyweight headliner, Aspinall will fight in front of a UFC crowd for the very first time despite being 4-0 in the organisation after making his debut in 2020.

Taking on a veteran like Volkov is never easy, but there will be added pressure with the fight being in his home nation and in his first main event.

A win however would see him enter the title picture. Francis Ngannou is unlikely to fight again until the end of the year at best, it opens up plenty of opportunities for those around him.

The likes of Stipe Miocic, Tai Tuivasa, Ciryl Gane and even Jon Jones are hanging around, while Derrick Lewis will be keen to get back to winning ways too. The opportunities are aplenty with a win, but he must get a win first and foremost.

UFC London heavyweight main event announced

UFC London has got it’s main event as British heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall will take on number five ranked Alexander Volkov at the O2 Arena on March 19th.

The UFC announced it’s return to the UK earlier this week with a big event in March, but the fight was without a main event at the time.

It’s now been revealed however by UFC president Dana White that it will be two heavyweights going toe-to-toe in the octagon.



Volkov has been in-and-around the top five of the division for a while but while he’s beaten up-and-comers, he has struggled against the elite of the elite.

‘Drago’ has been beaten by Derrick Lewis, Curtis Blaydes and Ciryl Gane in his last seven fights, while earning victories over Greg Hardy, Walt Harris, Alistair Overeem (UFC Vegas 18) and Marcin Tybura (UFC 267).

Aspinall has been on a roll in the UFC since joining the company in 2020 and is currently on a seven-fight unbeaten streak including four wins in the UFC with four finishes.

He beat Jake Collier via knockout at UFC Fight Island 3, before returning with a stellar KO against Alan Baudot at UFC Fight Island 5 in his next fight. He then secured a brilliant submission win over veteran Andrei Arlovski at UFC Vegas 19, and most recently knocked out Serghey Spivak at UFC Vegas 36.

Aspinall was originally scheduled to fight against Shamil Abdurakhimov on this card, with Darren Till expected to headline against Uriah Hall.

But with Till yet to be medically cleared for the event, the UFC have bumped Aspinall up to the headline spot and give his opponent a facelift too.

Aspinall is currently ranked number ten in the company and a win would shoot him into the top five, meaning only huge fights going forward. If Volkov can earn victory, he will put himself back into title contention and earn another crack at the top ranked fighters in the division.

UFC announces two middleweight main events for this summer

The UFC have announced two blockbuster middleweight main events for this summer as they begin to plan the third quarter of 2021.

With the division on the move next month when Israel Adesanya defends his title against Marvin Vettori at UFC 263, the company are looking towards the next contenders by pairing up four of the top six ranked fighters together.

It was revealed recently that the UFC are potentially looking at making a return to London in August, and it seems like that could be headlined by the returning Darren Till as he will fight Derek Brunson on August 14th pending medical clearance.

Till was supposed to face off against Vettori himself last month to determine the number one contender for Adesanya’s title, but the Briton broke his collarbone in training a little over a week out from the fight and was forced to withdraw.

Vettori went on to beat Kevin Holland in a short-notice fight and earn himself a title shot off the performance. Brunson however continued his fine run of wins by beating Holland himself just two weeks prior to ‘Trailblazer’ getting beaten by the Italian.

Brunson made it four wins in a row, after losing to Adesanya back in 2018 by beating Elias Theodorou and Ian Heinisch before a main event win against highly rated prospect Edmen Shahbazyan got him back in the conversation among contenders.

The following week on August 21st, the UFC will welcome back Paulo Costa to the octagon when he takes on hard hitting Jared Cannonier in the main event.

Costa hasn’t fought since being knocked out in the second round of his title fight with Adesanya at UFC 253 in October, after withdrawing from a scheduled bout with Robert Whittaker in April with flu-like symptoms attributed to COVID-19.

Cannonier himself hasn’t been in the cage since UFC 254 when he fought Whittaker, being nullified to a complete halt as he saw his three-fight winning streak come to an end in the co-main event.

It will no doubt be an absolute banger of a fight, with both men having genuine one-punch knockout power to rely on while Costa is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt too.

With Whittaker guaranteed the next title shot after Adesanya vs Vettori 2, these fights will go a long way to establishing the contender after that. The most impressive winner is likely to get the nod early next year, in a division that is shaping up beautifully with new contenders constantly emerging to fight the top dogs that are already established.

There is always the wildcard option of Kamaru Usman moving up to middleweight should Vettori or Whittaker be able to dethrone Adesanya, with the current welterweight champion admitting that a move up a weight-class could become an option should his fellow African no longer be the man holding the belt.