Last night (Sat., July 23, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) traveled to London, England. The first UFC London event earlier this year is one of the most memorable “Fight Night” events of 2022, and the competitors last night were eager to live up to that expectation. With high-action and high-profile local athletes on the card like Tom Aspinall and Paddy Pimblett, the English fans were especially ready to blow the roof off The O2 Arena.
It never really happened! There was one good streak of action during the main card, but otherwise, it was a far cry from the first event. Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
15 Seconds Of Pain
Last night’s main event sucked for more than the obvious reasons. Check out why it was such a crappy outcome right HERE!
Paddy Walks The Walk
Look, I don’t buy into Paddy Pimblett as a future contender. Not at Lightweight, the division of known killers like Islam Makhachev, as well as unknown ones like Damir Ismagulov. There’s too much talent, too much expertise to believe anyone other than absolutely elite prospects have a chance at gold.
That said, “The Baddy” is doing what he said he’s going to do. He just scored his third straight UFC finish, strangling Jordan Leavitt with a brilliant sequence that began against the fence with a unique combination of arm-triangle choke (from the front sprawl?) and knee to the face. It was lovely work, a genuine display of skill and creativity to take out a solid opponent. Then, he tea-bagged him just as promised!
While I may not think much of Pimblett’s title potential, I’ve been covering this sport long enough to appreciate honest fight promotion.
Krylov Crushes Gustafsson
Nikita Krylov absolutely decimated multiple-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson last night, rushing the veteran with a relentless flurry of blows and putting him down quickly.
There are two narratives in this fight, so let’s first go with the positive one: this is a huge win for Krylov! Ukraine’s “Miner” had lost two in a row leading up to this fight, but the established Top 15 talent once again proved himself an electric finisher. Even if a title seems unlikely, Krylov is one of the most consistently entertaining men at 205 pounds, so it was nice to see him get back in the win column.
On the flip side, Gustafsson is looking pretty done. Krylov hits hard, but Gustafsson collapsed from seemingly insignificant strikes, and he looked troubled by his opponent’s speed before those blows landed. This is the 35 year old’s fourth straight loss, and it’s a doozy.
If he refuses to commit to retirement, it’s time for a massive, massive step down in competition.
England’s Unlikely Star
Molly McCann deserves her fan adoration and newfound popularity, but I don’t know how anyone could have ever predicted it happening.
Respectfully, “The Meatball” is a 32-year-old, 5’4” Flyweight who’s unlikely to contend. She’s not overwhelmingly athletic or exceptionally skilled in any one area. She can put together combinations better than most women, but otherwise, she doesn’t read like a standout on paper.
Her last two fights have proven otherwise — Molly McCann is all “It Factor!” She can perform under pressure like few others. Who else would have predicted not one, but TWO spinning elbow stoppages in front of her home crowd? The odds on that are astronomical for any fighter, but they have to be extra long for McCann.
I’m still not predicting a title shot anytime soon, but McCann is now a star and has earned her spot on every future UFC London card.
An Underwhelming Undercard
There were so many decisions on the undercard that it forced an unplanned fight onto the main card timeslot!
Mostly, the performances were one-sided and wrestling-heavy, like when Muhammad Mokaev backpacked Charles Johnson for 15 minutes. Even fights involving strikers like Jai Herbert and Nicholas Dalby ended up with long stretches of (at best) mildly eventful ground work. Credit to Nathaniel Wood for kicking Charles Rosa’s ass in his own decision nod, but on the whole, there wasn’t a ton worth rewatching on last night’s “Prelims” card.
- Jonathan Pearce defeats Makwan Amirkhani via second-round knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): Pearce came into this fight very well-prepared to punish Amirkhani’s grappling attack. Right off the initial single leg attempt from his opponent, Pearce smashed his opponent with dozens of elbows. When the fight did move to the mat, he kept up with Amirkhani’s scrambling and submission threats really well, exhausting his opponent in the process. By the second, Amirkhani was damaged and tired, and “JSP” just poured it on to secure the finish.
For complete UFC London: “Aspinall vs. Blaydes” results and play-by-play, click HERE.
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