Werdum vs Volkov | Manuwa vs Blachowicz | Duquesnoy vs Ware | Edwards vs Sobotta | Phillips vs Byrd | Roberts vs Enkamp | Henry vs Dawodu | Craig l vs Ankalaev | Ray vs Johnson | Godbeer vs Sosnovskiy
UFC Fight Night London: Werdum vs Volkov main card
Action starts at 5 pm ET
While a flashy attempt at a kick fell short to open the fight for Werdum, he did succeed in gettint the towering Volkov to the ground where he controlled and punched from the top position. Returning to the feet, it was Volkov’s turn to rain punches, rocking Werdum with a series of jabs and a knee. The second round saw Volkov taunt Werdum for only wanting to go to the ground, and dropped Werdum to his back after catching a slow kick. But when Werdum did succeed in getting to the mat, he was able to continue delivering heavy fists and elbows, and an kimura attempt that was thwarted by the bell. Bloodied, battered and fatigued, both fighters seemed frustrated by being countered by the other, and the third round saw them do a fair amount of circling and staring, to the chagrin of the impatient crowd. Volkov caught several of Werdum’s kicks and dropped him to the canvas, but refused to meet him there, beckoning him to stand up each time. In the fourth, ‘Drago’ seemed focused on waiting for Werdum to make any move, and countered each one successfully. After a short bout of wrestingling, Volkov unloaded a series of combinations the weary Werdum had no answer for, including a right uppercut that sent the former champ to the canvas one last time. Official Result: @AlexDragoVolkov def @FabricioWerdum by KO, 4th Round, 1:38. Alexander Volkov now has the 2nd longest active UFC win streak in the heavyweight division at 4 straight wins. (Stipe Miocic is at 6.)
Executing their respective game plans nearly perfectly throughout the first, both fighters landed brutally heavy punches including one from Blachowicz that sent Manuwa’s head bouncing loudly off the canvas. Somehow returning to his feet, the fight continued as it had started, with both fighters having success on offense. Bloodied and visibly gassing, Blachowicz tried for takedowns throughout the second to escape Manuwa’s onslaught, but was only able to rest on a couple clinch attempts. Despite sustaining plenty of damage, neither fighter took their foot off the gas in the third as Blachowicz was able to start pulling ahead in strikes, and a late takedown sealed the deal for the Polish star. Official Result: @JanBlachowicz def @POSTERBOYJM by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
THEY SAID IT:
Jan Blachowicz: “He was a monster. In training I was doing better than that but Jimi is a very tough guy and very dangerous. Tonight I played my game, not his, and that is the difference between this fight and our last fight. This for sure takes me into the top 10. But the rankings do not fight, people fight. And when we step into the Octagon and the door closes, the rankings don't matter; it is all about the fight. I don’t like to choose my opponents; UFC chooses my opponents. My dream was always to fight against Shogun so maybe him but the UFC will choose. To my family, friends and all the Polish fans who are here, thank you. It means a lot to me that you are always with me, in the bad times and in the good times. Thank you very much."
For the entirety of the first round, both fighters came forward without hesitation and found plenty of landing spots for the strikes and combinations, and both left the round visibly touched up and almost even in the striking battle. A similar pace followed in the second with Ware’s right hand as the aggressor, and Duquesnoy’s counterstrikes and low kicks returning fire. When the fight went to the mat late in the round, Ware was able to pull ahead in the strike count and exert control from the top. Duquesnoy came out surging in the third, landing some more heavy kicks, but Ware’s punches were always able to find his chin. Continuing forward until the final bell, both fighters adeptly found homes for their jabs, but it was Duquesnoy edged out ahead on the judges scorecards. Official Result: @TomFirekid (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) def @flashmma by Unanimous decision.
THEY SAID IT:
Tom Duquesnoy : “It never goes as perfect as you expect but it was an interesting fight. From here there are lot of things I can build on for when I get back in there. It was a pleasure for me to fight here in the UK. The fans here have been welcoming me from the very beginning of my career and I hope I was able to repay them for that support by putting on a good show tonight. Now I will take a few days off and then you will hear more from me about what is next. But fans can expect big things from me in the future. There is a lot more to come”.
Leon Edwards vs Peter Sobotta
Sobotta was dropped early on by a swift left uppercut from Edwards, but was able to slow his opponent’s roll when the fight went to the mat where neither fighter was able to inflict much damage while trading control. Edwards eventually stood up and the referee signaled for Sobotta to do the same. Back on their feet, Edwards was able to stay just out of reach of most of Sobotta’s punches, while continuing to haunt the German fighter with his left hand. A groin shot to Sobotta early in the second round stunted the momentum while he recovered. When the fight resumed, Edwards scored a takedown where he controlled most of the round. A mostly even striking battle started the third, until a clinch brought the fight back to the mat where Edwards continued most of the control despite some good work by Sobotta. When Sobotta gave up his back, Edwards started with the ground and pound to the head. In the most unlikely of coincidences, a second fight end ends at 4:59 in the third round on the same night. Official Result: @Leon_edwardsmma def @PeterSobotta by TKO, 4:59 3rd Round.
THEY SAID IT:
Leon Edwards : “Five in a row, top 15 in the world, I feel good. I’m looking forward to the next one. I called out Darren Till - it is what it is. There are no friends in this game. I’ll have a rest this weekend and then I want to go again in eight weeks. If they don’t give me Till in Liverpool, July in Vegas would be great. I want on that Stipe/D.C card. I haven’t fought in the States for a while now so that would be good too. But whatever they give me, I’ll be ready to go.
UFC Fight Night London: Werdum vs Volkov FIGHT PASS prelims
Action starts at 1:45 pm ET
Contender Series alumni Byrd immediately got Phillips on the takedown to start the fight where he went to work. His elbows, shoulders and fists were the story for most of the round as he worked from top control, eventually rolling Phillips over and securing the rear naked choke and grabbing the win in his official UFC debut. Official Result: @dynamitebyrd170 def @JohnPhillipsmma by Submission. RNC. First Round, 3:58.
THEY SAID IT:
Charles Byrd : “It feels great. This is my UFC debut, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. To come out here in hostile territory, when he’s big out here, it just feels great to get the job. All the hype and all that stuff, it doesn’t matter. When the bell rings that’s when the real fight starts. He had said some things on Twitter like he was going to knock me out, he was going to take my head off, and I was like - 'alright, we’ll see once we get in there'. I just want to keep focusing on getting better now, on climbing the ladder, and hopefully one day I’ll get a big fight and maybe be the main event in my home town. It has been an absolutely amazing experience fighting here in the UK. I love the fashion, the people, the culture - it’s just been great”.
Both fighters came out with high energy, closing range and looking for the right timing. It was Roberts who found it first and exploited it, dropping Enkamp with a savage left hand and walking out with the knockout victory. Official Result: @DanHotChocolate def @OliverEnkamp by KO 2:12, first round.
THEY SAID IT:
Danny Roberts : “I feel on top of the world right now. To have that outcome - there’s not many things that can top it so for me it’s very special. This is where I grew up. The UK has moulded me into the person I am today so to be able to come back and give the fans something that they deserve, and to feel the love and respect back from them, it’s electric. We’ve got a good strong team coming up through the UK now and it feels good to be a part of that - loads of dynamic fighters, personalities like myself, Darren Till, Leon Edwards. We’ve all got our own powers and abilities but it’s good to be able to establish ourselves as a country, in one of the biggest sports in the world. I know a lot of us are at 170lbs but this division is stacked so there is a good chance that I could have 30 fights and never fight anyone from my own country, so why do I need to? I don’t need to do that. Next up, it’s got to be Liverpool for me. It has to be Liverpool. It’s a realistic turnaround time and that’s my home so we can do that easy, come on!"
HOW DO WE FOLLOW IT UP???? WITH THIS!!!
With an overhand right that dropped Dawodu as the fight got underway, the Scotsman Henry moved in quick to secure the guillotine and made it an early night for both fighers and spoiled the debut of one of Canada’s hottest prospects. At 39 seconds, Danny Henry ties the 4th fastest submission in UFC/WEC featherweight history. Official Result: @DannyHenryMMA def @meanhakeemko by Submission, guillotine choke. First round, :39.
THEY SAID IT:
Danny Henry : “Listen, you’ve got to be ready when I fight! I’m ecstatic. To get a finish like that, so quickly, in and out, I’m over the moon. I can’t put into words how happy I am and on St Patrick’s Day as well. Most of my father’s side of the family are all Irish so everything has just come together for me. I could hear the Scottish fans. As I walked back I’ve been hit with about thirty Scottish flags so I’m so happy that the Scots made the trip down and I hope they enjoyed the performance. I don’t like to pick my opponents, I just take each fight as it comes. Stylistically I like strong opponents who I can put on an exciting performance with so hopefully that’s what I’ll get next. It’s not always just about winning for me; it’s about putting on a performance. When you fight close to home, and you’ve got that home support cheering for you, it’s great so to fight here in the UK and have the crowd on my side for a change is brilliant."
After dropping his last two fights, Scotland’s Paul Craig feared he was “fighting for my contract,” and he came out aggressive against Dagestani newcomer Magomed Ankalaev, eventually scoring a takedown that backfired when Ankalaev gained top control and began raining down his trademark ground and pound as time expired in the first. Smelling he had done some damage, Ankalaev unleashed a continued series of overhand strikes in the second until Craig shot the takedown. On the mat, Craig lost top control and ate some elbows and fists as a result. More strikes and kicks from the newcomer to start the third, with Craig continually (and unsuccessfully) looking for a chance to go for the submission. Take punch after punch on his back, Craig, with eyes closed and just seconds from losing, somehow found the space to get in a triangle choke and handed Ankalaev the first loss of his professional career. First UK win of the night. At 4:59 R3, Paul Craig earned the latest finish ever in a three-round UFC fight. Official Result: @PCraigmma def Magomed Ankalaev by SUB, triangle choke, 4:59, 3rd round.
THEY SAID IT:
Paul Craig : “Did you hear those fans? It didn’t go my way in Glasgow last time so to be able to get that finish for the Scottish fans tonight was something special. Listen, people say the Irish fans are the best but the Scottish fans are so loud and so supportive. To come back after two losses and get that finish, it just means so much. My coach jumped into the Octagon and said I had finished it with only seconds to spare. Now I’m going to take my kids to Disneyland and give them something special to make up for all the time I spend training and preparing."
In a meeting of two counter-strikers, much of the first round was an exercise in closing range and feeling out the opponent, with Kajan Johnson using his height and reach advantage to land a few damaging leg kicks and knocking Ray off balance. When the fight went to the mat in the second, Johnson dodged a stiff sub attempt by Ray and landed a series of knees on Ray against the fence. Ray scored another takedown but Johnson continued to move and work as the round ended. A series of left hands from Ray rocked Johnson early in the third, and after some lengthy stretches on the mat, the referee stood the two up with 90 seconds remaining. Returning to the canvas almost immediately, Johnson was able to lock up control, despite taking some damage from Ray. While Ray had more strikes throughout the fight, it was Johnson’s control on the ground that gave him the edge. Official Result: @IamRagin (29-28, 29-28) def @StevenRayMMA (29-28) by split decision.
THEY SAID IT:
Kajan Johnson: “I feel like I got hit way more than I like to get hit! The first round felt really easy and it went just as I planned. My long range weapons were working. I wasn’t able to land my hands very much but he wasn’t able to get anywhere near me. In the second round the ref said he wanted to see more from both of us. I ended up landing a really nice right hand and it ended up hurting him so I kind of went in with some heavy shots but he wasn’t going down so I shot the double. He was a lot better off his back than I thought he would be. In the third round, wow, he came out and he was landing well, so that round didn’t go as I planned and he ended up taking me down. He ended up putting my arm behind my back, which is something I like to do to other people, and it’s never somewhere I want to be. I wasn’t sure if I’d won the fight or not. I thought I could have lost actually because of how dominant he was in the third round. I feel very blessed to walk out of there with a win. If I don’t get a finish, it doesn’t feel like a real victory because it’s somebody else’s opinion but, as I said, I feel very grateful”.
What a debut win!
Kicking off the London fight card after the initial opening bout between Nasrat Haqparast and Nad Narimani had to be scrapped at the last minute, local hero Mark Godbeer got the already packed crowd to their feet early. Countering Dmitry Sosnovskiy’s ground control with some brutally heavy strikes, he opened Russian newcomer’s head in the first round. Trading ground control throughout the second round, Godbeer was able to deliver more damage in between slipping submission attempts, until late in the round when he gave up his back and the patient Sosnovskiy executed the choke. Sosnovskiy gets the win in his promotion debut and remains undefeated professionally. Official Result: Dmitriy Sosnovskiy def @MarkGodbeerUK by Submission, RNC, 2nd Round, 4:29.
THEY SAID IT:
Mark Godbeer : "I knew it was going to be a tough fight, I knew he was going to be a strong guy and I knew he was going to try and close the distance but I just wanted to keep the fight going and entertain the crowd, and hopefully we did that. I made a few mistakes and I know what those mistakes were. Hey, this is the UFC - people are at the top of the game - if you make one mistake, the fight is over. I’m gutted to lose but our job is to entertain and hopefully I gave the crowd what they wanted tonight."