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Tom Aspinall of England celebrates his submission victory over Alexander Volkov of Russia in a heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at O2 Arena on March 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Aspinall

Heading into this year, the UFC hadn’t been to London since 2019, the night Jorge Masvidal knocked out Darren Till and introduced “two piece and a soda” into the MMA lexicon.

The global pandemic kept events limited to a handful of destinations as the world figured out protocols and mandates. But with the world slowly creeping closer to normal, the UFC made its annual trek across the pond in March and the results were even greater than could have been expected: the athletes rose to the occasion, the fans were raucous from the opening bout, and the overall atmosphere and energy of that show prompted the UFC to plan a hasty return to The O2 Arena in London.

Don't Miss Any UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Aspinall

This weekend, several of the competitors that combined to blow the roof off the building four months ago are back for an encore, accompanied by a surging contender, a returning former title challenger, and a whole host of others.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap this weekend as the UFC touches down in London for the second time this year.

Curtis Blaydes vs Tom Aspinall

Curtis Blaydes reacts after defeating Aleksei Oleinik of Russia in their heavyweight bout during the UFC 217 event at Madison Square Garden on November 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Curtis Blaydes reacts after defeating Aleksei Oleinik of Russia in their heavyweight bout during the UFC 217 event at Madison Square Garden on November 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Once again this weekend, the final act to hit the Octagon will be a pair of heavyweights, as Curtis Blaydes makes the trip to “Jolly Old England” to squares off with streaking Brit Tom Aspinall in a critical main event pairing.

The 31-year-old Blaydes is one of the most accomplished fighters in the division since arriving on the big stage in the spring of 2016, posting a 12-3 record with one no contest verdict. His first two setbacks each came against current champ Francis Ngannou, the first coming in his promotional debut, and since their second encounter, the Elevation Fight Team member has gone 6-1 with a second-round knockout loss to heavy hitter and perennial contender Derrick Lewis standing as the only blemish.

RELATED: Curtis Blaydes' Top Finishes

Aspinall returns to London looking to build on his perfect record inside the Octagon. The 29-year-old is 5-0 in the UFC with five stoppage victories and four Performance of the Night bonuses, the last of which came in March when he submitted Alexander Volkov in less than four minutes to cap the previous event at The O2.

This is a matchup between the top two active contenders in the heavyweight division, and will position the winner as a legitimate championship threat. Blaydes has continued to develop his hands into dangerous accompaniments to his top-shelf wrestling, while Aspinall has cruised through his first five outings largely untested, showcasing quality boxing and a slick submission game that makes him a different type of threat than the division has seen of late.

UFC LONDON FREE FIGHTS: Curtis Blaydes vs Chris DaukausTom Aspinall vs Alexander Volkov

These fellas know what’s at stake and will be looking to make sure they’re included in any top-end matchups that get booked later this year, so expect both to be locked in from the word “Go” and a statement to be made, one way or another.

Jack Hermansson vs Chris Curtis 

Highlight: Chris Curtis Secures Second TKO In A Month | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo
Highlight: Chris Curtis Secures Second TKO In A Month | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo
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World traveler Jack Hermansson returns to London in the co-main event, where he’ll look across the cage at surging American Chris Curtis, who raised his hand and was tabbed to replace Darren Till when the popular Liverpool native was forced out with a knee injury.

The 34-year-old middleweight, who has fought in 11 countries over his 29 fights, returns to London for the first time since successfully defending his Cage Warriors title in 2016, aiming to get back into the win column and cement his standing in the 185-pound hierarchy. “The Joker” has alternated wins and losses over his last seven outings, including wins over Kelvin Gastelum and Edmen Shahbazyan, and losses to Jared Cannonier and Marvin Vettori, and aims to show he’s on a different level than Curtis in this one.

RELATED: Chris Curtis Post-Fight Interview | UFC Fight Night: Tsarukyan vs Gamrot

Curtis has been one of the best stories in the sport over the last three years, entering this fight on an eight-fight winning streak that includes three straight UFC victories, seven wins since the beginning of 2021, and four victories in the last 12 calendar months. After earning stoppage wins over Phil Hawes and Brendan Allen in his first two Octagon appearances, the 35-year-old “Action Man” fought a patient, tactical fight to dispatch Rodolfo Vieira in June, pushing his record to 29-8 and putting him on the brink of breaking into the Top 15.

With things at the top of the division starting to get a little clearer, this is a perfect chance for either of these men to assert their standing as potential championship threats going forward. Both are savvy veterans with well-rounded skill sets, so no matter how or where this one plays out, we should be in for a treat ahead of the main event.

Paddy Pimblett vs Jordan Leavitt 

Paddy Pimblett of England celebrates his submission victory over Kazula Vargas of Mexico in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: (L-R) Paddy Pimblett of England celebrates his submission victory over Kazula Vargas of Mexico in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at O2 Arena on March 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Liverpool lightweight Paddy Pimblett looks to make it three straight since joining the UFC when he makes the walk in London again this weekend in a clash with Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) graduate Jordan Leavitt.

Pimblett touched down in the UFC last fall amidst much fanfare, thrilling fans with a first-round knockout win over Luigi Vendramini in his promotional debut. Back in March, his walkout blew the roof off The O2 before he marched into the Octagon, navigated a bit of danger against Kazula Vargas, and ultimately put the Mexican veteran to sleep to secure his second straight first-round finish.

Athlete Profiles: Paddy Pimblett | Jordan Leavitt

A member of the DWCS Class of 2020, Leavitt collected a 22-second slam knockout of veteran Matt Wiman in his first UFC appearance before dropping a decision to ascending lightweight Claudio Puelles in his sophomore showing. Since then, the Las Vegas native has earned back-to-back wins over Matt Sayles and Trey Ogden, and carries the kind of awkward standup and dangerous grappling skills that make him a threat to leave the London faithful disheartened on Saturday evening.

This is a perfect matchup for each of these fighters at this point in their UFC careers — Pimblett needs a step up in competition, while Leavitt benefits from being in there with a bigger name.

Nikita Krylov vs Alexander Gustafsson 

Gustafsson Top 5 Finishes
Gustafsson Top 5 Finishes
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Nikita Krylov looks to halt a two-fight slide this weekend as he welcomes three-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson back to the Octagon for the first time in two years.

The 30-year-old Krylov has been a staple in the light heavyweight Top 15 for the last several years but enters Saturday’s contest needing to snap out of a funk. He’s dropped consecutive assignments, three of his last four, and four of his last six, and while they’ve all been to ranked competition, it’s made his hold on a place in the rankings tenuous heading into this weekend.

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Gustafsson last appeared in a heavyweight contest with Fabricio Werdum on Fight Island, where the Swedish standout was submitted in the first round. He’s dropped three straight dating back to his UFC 232 rematch with Jon Jones and is just 3-6 over the last decade, which begins with his epic first encounter with “Bones” in Toronto.

Can Krylov get things moving in the right direction again? Is Gustafsson looking to make a full-time return to competition? These questions and many others will be answered when these two light heavyweight mainstays step in across from one another on Saturday.

Molly McCann vs Hannah Goldy 

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Molly McCann of England knocks out Luana Carolina of Brazil in a womens flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at O2 Arena on March 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by John Barry/Zuffa LLC)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Molly McCann of England knocks out Luana Carolina of Brazil in a womens flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at O2 Arena on March 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by John Barry/Zuffa LLC)


Fan favorite Molly McCann looks to build on her blistering knockout win in March this weekend as she welcomes Hannah Goldy to England and the Octagon.

“Meatball” brought the partisan crowd at The O2 to their feet earlier this year, connecting on a beautiful spinning back elbow that instantly ended her fight with Luana Carolina and made her the clubhouse leader in the Knockout of the Year race. The 32-year-old from Liverpool has now earned consecutive victories and won five of seven since dropping her promotional debut to Gillian Robertson, showing clear improvements over her last two outings specifically.

Order UFC 277: Peña vs Nunes 2

Goldy was called up to the UFC less than two months after failing to secure a contract on the second season of Dana White’s Contender Series, losing a unanimous decision to Miranda Granger in her debut. After suffering a similar fate against Diana Belbita two years later in her sophomore effort, the Florida-based fighter broke into the win column last time out, collecting a first-round armbar win over Emily Whitmire last September.

Business is always bustling in the flyweight division, so both women will be gunning to maintain their winning ways in this one. Will McCann thrill the fans again or will Goldy pull off the upset and make an arena full of supporters upset on Saturday evening?

Paul Craig vs Volkan Oezdemir

Paul Craig Locks In Another Amazing Submission Win | UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Aspinall
Paul Craig Locks In Another Amazing Submission Win | UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Aspinall
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Light heavyweights open up the main card this weekend as Scottish submission ace Paul Craig faces off with former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir.

Craig has been on a real roll as of late, entering Saturday’s pairing on a three-fight winning streak and unbeaten in his last six. The 34-year-old has been making steady improvements with his striking throughout his UFC career, but remains an absolute terror on the canvas, needing only one minor miscue from his opponent in order to lace up a fight-ending submission.

RELATED: The Submissions | 2022 Half-Year Awards

Since challenging for championship gold at the start of 2018, Oezdemir has become the veteran litmus test in the 205-pound ranks; the guy every hopeful and ascending talent needs to face and dispatch if they want to climb higher in the division. He enters this weekend’s contest on a two-fight slide, but has the kind of power and aggressive style that could give anyone fits on any given Saturday.

Things at the top of the light heavyweight ranks are a little up in the air at the moment, making this a grand opportunity for either of these men to post a statement effort that secures their place in the pecking order and positions them for a date with someone stationed above them in the rankings next time out.

Mason Jones vs Ludovit Klein 

Ludovit Klein of Slovakia reacts after defeating Shane Young of New Zealand in their featherweight bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Ludovit Klein of Slovakia reacts after defeating Shane Young of New Zealand in their featherweight bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


A late addition to this weekend’s fight card, Welsh prospect Mason Jones makes his return to the cage opposite Ludovit Klein.

A two-division champion under the Cage Warriors banner, Jones arrived in the UFC with a 10-0 mark, but stumbled out of the gate, suffering a loss to Mike Davis in a back-and-forth battle in his debut before an accidental eye poke prematurely ended his sophomore effort against Alan Patrick. He finally secured his first win with a hard-earned victory over David Onama last October, and now looks to build on it here against Klein.

Athlete Profiles: Mason JonesLudovit Klein

Initially slated to face Ignacio Bahamondes in August at UFC 277, the DWCS grad was forced to withdraw, prompting Klein’s return to be pushed ahead to this weekend. The 27-year-old Slovak snapped a two-fight skid in his lightweight debut last time out, landing on the happy side of a split decision verdict in a fight with Devonte Smith at UFC 272, and aims to pick up the biggest win of his career this weekend by toppling Jones on Saturday.

This is an entertaining matchup between young, hungry talents in the talent-rich lightweight division, and a welcome addition to the quality lineup set to hit the Octagon in London.

Marc Diakiese vs Damir Hadzovic 

Marc Diakiese of The Democratic Republic of Congo reacts after his lightweight fight against Viacheslav Borshchev of Russia during the UFC Fight Night event at Nationwide Arena on March 26, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Marc Diakiese of The Democratic Republic of Congo reacts after his lightweight fight against Viacheslav Borshchev of Russia during the UFC Fight Night event at Nationwide Arena on March 26, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


Stalwarts of the lightweight division Marc Diakiese and Damir Hadzovic man the final preliminary card slot on Saturday’s fight card.

Diakiese returns to London looking to build on his unanimous decision win over Viacheslav Borschev earlier this year. The 29-year-old “Bonecrusher” hasn’t quite lived up to the lofty expectations that accompanied his 3-0 start in the UFC, but he may have turned a corner with his victory over “Slava Klaus” in Columbus.

Like Diakiese, Hadzovic looks to turn a single victory into a modest two-fight winning streak this weekend, having earned a unanimous decision win over Yancy Medeiros in his most recent appearance last June. “The Bosnian Bomber” is tougher than a $2 steak, never shies away from a scrap, and earned a victory in his lone trip to London prior to this weekend in what was his penultimate fight before getting called up to the UFC.

This should be a frenetic affair between two sturdy talents in the 155-pound weight class looking to really kick off a string of positive results. We should get a little bit of everything from these two, setting the tone for the main card.

Nathaniel Wood vs Charles Rosa 

Nathaniel Wood at UFC Fight Island during UFC 254 fight week

Nathaniel Wood at Yas Beach, UFC Fight Island during UFC 254 fight week. (Photo credit John Berry/Zuffa LLC)

October 21, 2020 in UFC Fight Island

British standout Nathaniel Wood returns for the first time in nearly two years, moving up a division to face off with Charles Rosa in his featherweight debut.

“The Prospect” last appeared at UFC 254, landing on the wrong side of the results in a catchweight engagement with Casey Kenney in Abu Dhabi. The 28-year-old former Cage Warriors champion is 17-5 overall and heads up a division looking to recapture some of the buzz he carried upon first arriving in the UFC four years ago.

An eight-year Octagon veteran, Rosa’s pattern of alternating losses and wins in his UFC career came to an end last time out as he dropped a second straight decision to TJ Brown in January. The 35-year-old Massachusetts native is a perennial tough out with quality grappling and stockpiles of grit, making him the perfect first test at featherweight for the returning Wood.

Can the Englishman get back into the win column and begin his tenure in the 145-pound weight class with a victory or will Rosa spoil his divisional debut by snapping his two-fight skid?

Makwan Amirkhani vs Jonathan Pearce 

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Makwan Amirkhani of Kurdistan celebrates his submission victory over Mike Grundy of England in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at O2 Arena on March 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Makwan Amirkhani of Kurdistan celebrates his submission victory over Mike Grundy of England in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at O2 Arena on March 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Featherweight mainstay Makwan Amirkhani aims to build off his impressive outing last time the UFC touched down in England this weekend, but streaking DWCS grad Jonathan Pearce has other ideas.

Amirkhani entered his bout with Mike Grundy in March on a three-fight slide, having been knocked out seconds into the second round of his clash with Lerone Murphy at UFC 267. But “Mr. Finland” showed why he’s a constant threat, lacing up an anaconda choke and putting the British wrestler to sleep in just 57 seconds, getting himself back into the win column and reminding everyone of the danger he presents when focused and engaged.

After getting thrown to the wolves in his promotional debut at lightweight against Joe Lauzon, in Boston no less, Pearce has gone 3-0 since returning to the featherweight ranks. Following stoppage wins over Kai Kamaka III and Omar Morales, “JSP” edged out Christian Rodriguez on the cards in February, pushing his record to 12-4 overall and giving him eight wins in his last nine outings.

Amirkhani has had brilliant moments and befuddling moments inside the Octagon, while Pearce has been pretty consistent over his last three starts. If everyone shows up in top form this weekend, this could be a scramble-filled sleeper in the Fight of the Night race.

Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson

Muhammad Mokaev's Quick Round 1 Submission | UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Aspinall
Muhammad Mokaev's Quick Round 1 Submission | UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Aspinall
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Four months after making a splash in his promotional debut, Muhammad Mokaev is back in search of a second straight UFC victory in London, as he welcomes LFA champ Charles Johnson to the Octagon for the first time.

Arguably the top prospect in the entire sport, the 21-year-old Mokaev needed just 58 seconds to dispatch Cody Durden in March, catching the American in a guillotine choke to maintain his unbeaten record. The decorated amateur and international wrestling standout has relocated to South Florida, preparing for this bout at American Top Team (alongside Durden, ironically) and it will be interesting to see what working with that all-star crew brings out of the ultra-talented youngster.

Johnson arrives in the UFC on a four-fight winning streak that includes winning and successfully defending the LFA flyweight title twice. The 31-year-old has finished eight of his 11 career wins and his two setbacks have come against Sean Santella and Brandon Royval, the former a long-time regional standout and the latter currently positioned at No. 5 in the flyweight rankings.

This is an excellent test for the promising, but inexperienced, Mokaev, and a tremendous opportunity for Johnson to show straight out of the gate that he is going to be a factor in the flyweight division going forward. All eyes will be on this battle this weekend and there is no reason to expect that these two won’t deliver.

Jai Herbert vs Kyle Nelson 

Jai Herbert of England punches Khama Worthy in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 23 2021 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Jai Herbert of England punches Khama Worthy in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 23 2021 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


British veteran Jai Herbert looks to erase the memory of his last appearance in London with a return to The O2 Arena on Saturday, where he faces off with Canadian Kyle Nelson.

It’s been a rough go for Herbert since debuting in the UFC three summers back. He suffered consecutive stoppages losses to Francisco Trinaldo and Renato Moicano before collecting a first-round TKO victory over Khama Worthy last October to break into the win column for the first time. Back in March, “The Black Country Banger” started well, but got put to sleep by streaking talent Ilia Topuria, sending him into this one with a 1-3 mark inside the Octagon.

Nelson has struggled to the same record and in very similar fashion as Herbert, honestly, suffering a pair of stoppage losses before collecting a first-round finish to earn his initial UFC triumph, only to land on the wrong side of a stoppage result again the next time out. This is the 31-year-old’s first appearance since the fall of 2020, so it will be interesting to see how he handles competing in a hostile environment when he takes on Herbert this weekend.

Each man needs a win in a major way and, as such, they both should come out ready to leave every last ounce of themselves inside the Octagon on Saturday. Only one of them will garner the victory they both covet, and figuring out who that will be should be entertaining for all those watching this weekend.

Mandy Bohm vs Victoria Leonardo 

Mandy Bohm of Germany punches Ariane Lipski of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 18, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Mandy Bohm of Germany punches Ariane Lipski of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 18, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Flyweights seeking their first UFC win collide here as Mandy Bohm faces off with Victoria Leonardo in this preliminary card affair.

Following a couple different postponements, Bohm made her promotional debut last September, landing on the wrong side of the results in a clash with Ariane Lipski. The German competitor has been readying for her sophomore appearance at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas and is angling to get back to the form that produced seven straight wins ahead of her first foray into the UFC cage last fall.

Leonardo impressed with a second-round stoppage win over Chelsea Hackett on Season 4 of Dana White’s Contender Series, but the 32-year-old has struggled in her first two trips into the Octagon. She suffered a stoppage loss to Manon Fiorot in their joint debuts in January 2021 on Fight Island, and was unable to continue after two rounds in her UFC 265 clash with Melissa Gatto last August after suffering an arm injury.

Claudio Silva vs Nicolas Dalby 

Nicolas Dalby trains at the UFC Performance Institute on June 23, 2021. (Photo by Zac Pacleb)

Nicolas Dalby trains at the UFC Performance Institute on June 23, 2021. (Photo by Zac Pacleb/Zuffa LLC)


Claudio Silva and Nicolas Dalby square off in this meeting of veteran welterweight positioned early on Saturday’s prelims.

Silva, who has resided in London since 2007, won his first five UFC appearances, including a split decision nod over impending title challenger Leon Edwards, to move to 14-1 for his career through the summer of 2019. Since then, however, “Hannibal” has suffered consecutive unanimous decision defeats in matchups against James Krause and Court McGee.

The 37-year-old Dalby authored an outstanding comeback story by working his way back to the UFC in the fall of 2019, securing a unanimous decision win over Alex Oliveira at home in Copenhagen to cap the fairytale return. He beat Daniel Rodriguez two fights later, but suffered a unanimous decision loss to Tim Means last time out, dropping his record to 19-4-1 with two no contest verdicts overall.

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Aspinall took place live from the at The O2 Arena in London on Saturday, July 23, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards, and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass