UFC United Invasion Arrives Again!
As the globe sorted out standards and mandates, the worldwide pandemic kept events to a few select locations. The UFC made its yearly trip across the pond in March, and the results were even better than expected:
- The athletes responded to the occasion.
- The fans were loud from the opening bout.
- The general atmosphere and intensity of that performance spurred the UFC to schedule a speedy return to The O2 Arena in London.
Several fighters who united to blow the roof off the building four months ago are back for an encore this weekend, a surging contender, a returning former title challenger, and a slew of others.
Here's a preview of what's in store this weekend as the UFC returns to London for the second time this year. Several fighters who united to blow the roof off the building four months ago are back for an encore this weekend, a surging contender, a returning former title challenger, and a slew of others.
Here's a preview of what's in store this weekend as the UFC returns to London for the second time this year.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Tom Aspinall
This weekend's closing act will be a pair of heavyweights, as Curtis Blaydes travels to "Jolly Old England" to face off against sprinting Brit Tom Aspinall in a crucial main event matchup.
Blaydes, 31, has been one of the division's most accomplished fighters since debuting on the big stage in the spring of 2016, having a 12-3 record with one no contest judgment. His first two losses came against current champ Francis Ngannou, the first in his promotional debut. Since then, the Elevation Fight Team member has gone 6-1, with the lone blemish being a second-round knockout loss to heavy striker and perennial challenger Derrick Lewis.
Aspinall returns to London hoping to improve his unblemished record inside the Octagon. He finished the previous tournament at The O2 in less than four minutes by submitting Alexander Volkov.
This is a fight between the top two active heavyweight contenders, and the winner will be considered a credible championship challenger. Blaydes' hands have grown into dangerous complements to his top-tier wrestling. In contrast, Aspinall has mostly gone untested in his first five fights, demonstrating superb boxing and a great submission game that makes him a different of threat than the division has seen recently.
These guys understand what's at stake and will want to be included in any top-tier matchups later this year, expect both to be locked in from the start and a statement to be made.
Paddy Pimblett vs. Jordan Leavitt
Liverpool lightweight Paddy Pimblett makes it three in a row since joining the UFC when he fights Dana White's Contender Series (DWCS) graduate Jordan Leavitt this weekend in London.
Pimblett made his UFC debut last fall, exciting fans with a first-round knockout win against Luigi Vendramini in his promotional debut. His walkout amazed he O2 crowd back in March before marching into the Octagon. He navigated a little danger against Kazula Vargas and eventually put the Mexican veteran to sleep to secure his second consecutive first-round finish.
In his debut UFC outing, Leavitt scored a 22-second slam knockout of veteran Matt Wiman before losing a decision to rising lightweight Claudio Puelles in his sophomore appearance. Since then, the Las Vegas native has won back-to-back fights against Matt Sayles and Trey Ogden. He possesses the kind of awkward standup and deadly grappling talents that might disappoint the London faithful on Saturday evening.
Pimblett needs a step up in competition at this point in their UFC careers, while Leavitt benefits from being in the ring with a more significant name.
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