UFC London is back this weekend for the first time since May 2019 with another stacked card on ESPN+ for the second weekend in a row.
The card is headlined by two ranked heavyweights. One is an MMA veteran who has seen the best of the division. The other is a rising UK star with four wins and no losses in the UFC so far.
Russia’s No. 6-ranked Alexander Volkov (34-9 MMA, 8-3 UFC) will face off against England’s own Tom Aspinall (11-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
The main event was up in the air up until the week of the scheduled card due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and complications with Volkov’s visa. But it seems things have worked out and the fight is on.
How to watch UFC London
Time zones mean a night of bouts in England are a rare afternoon card here in the Midwest.
- What: UFC London Fight Night on ESPN+
- Where: o2 Arena in London
- When: Saturday, March 19 — Prelims at noon; Main Card at 3 p.m.
Volkov is coming off a decision win over Marcin Tybura back at UFC 267 last October, and is 3-2 in his last five fights with losses to former interim champ Ciryl Gane and Curtis Blaydes.
In the last few years Volkov has notable wins over Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve and Roy Nolson.
The fight between Volkov and Aspinall is an interesting one because for one, Aspinall has never seen a third round as all of his fights have ended in the first or second round. All of his wins except for one have come in the first round and the majority of his wins have come in the first 90 seconds of the fight.
For Volkov, he will have to avoid those hard punches early in the fight and try to take the fight to the ground as soon as possible and test Aspinall’s cardio, which has never been done before. But he will have to be careful because Aspinall is no stranger to the ground game. He has won the British Open in Jiu-Jitsu in the past.
Iowa’s sportsbooks favor Aspinall for your UFC bets.
A win over Aspinall is important for Volkov’s future path. He has lost to three of the six guys above him and the other three do not have Volkov anywhere on their radar as of right now. Champion Francis Ngannou is likely out for the year following knee surgery, Stipe Miocic is probably gunning for an interim title fight against who he hopes is former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones (Will it actually happen? Nobody knows.) and Tai Tuivasa is trying for his own fight against Miocic. A win for Volkov could open up a matchup against Tuivasa if Miocic doesn’t work out.
But Volkov will have hands full on Saturday night. Aspinall has proven to be a well-rounded heavyweight and his last two victories have both been fairly early finishes over respectable opponents in Sergey Spivak and Andrei Arlovski.
Fighting Volkov in his fifth UFC fight is already a big deal, but a win over Volkov in his fifth UFC fight would raise Aspinall’s stock exponentially.
Matchups following a win over Volkov would be endless for Aspinall. He could easily be signed up to take on pretty much anyone in the top ten after Saturday. That’s a great place to be in at this point in the division.
Marcin Tybura: W (Dec)
|Last 5||Sergey Spivak: W (TKO)|
Ciryl Gane: L (Dec)
|Andrei Arlovski: W (Sub)|
Alistair Overeem: W (TKO)
|Alan Baudot: W (TKO)|
Walt Harris: W (TKO)
|Jake Collier: W (TKO)|
Curtis Blaydes: L (Dec)
|Mickael Ben Hamouda (Cage Warriors bout): W (TKO)|
UFC London Co-Main Event: Allen vs. Hooker
The co-main event will see top featherweight Arnold Allen (17-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) welcome back Dan Hooker (22-11 MMA, 11-7 UFC) to the 145-pound division.
No. 7-ranked Allen, who hasn’t fought since April 2021, is looking to continue his unbeaten streak in the UFC against two-weight contender Hooker. Hooker is ranked eighth as a lightweight.
Both guys are good strikers who prefer to stay striking and both guys have had the tendency in recent years to go to decision. Hooker has shown he has the knockout power to put someone away at a moment’s notice.
Hooker is coming off a first-round submission loss last October at UFC 267 to rising lightweight star Islam Makhachev. So this time around, he’s cutting the extra 10 pounds and returning to the featherweight division. He has previously competed at featherweight in the past, but has been a lightweight since 2017.
He has lost three of his last four fights to top lightweight contenders including Makhachev, Dustin Poirer and Michael Chandler. Before that however, Hooker went on an impressive three-fight winning streak in 2019-20 against James Vick, Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder.
Allen, who hasn’t lost a fight since joining the UFC back in 2015 has notable wins over Sodiq Yusuff, Nik Lentz and Gilbert Melendez in his most recent bouts.
Sodiq Yusuff: W (Dec.)
|Last 5||Islam Makhachev: L (Sub)|
Nik Lentz: W (Dec.)
|Nasrat Haqparast: W (Dec)|
Gilbert Melendez: W (Dec.)
|Michael Chandler: L (TKO)|
Jordan Rinaldi: W (Dec.)
|Dustin Poirier: L (Dec)|
Mads Burnell: W (Sub.)
|Paul Felder: W (Dec)|
More UFC London bouts and odds
- Heavyweight: Alexander Volkov vs Tom Aspinall
- Featherweight: Arnold Allen vs Dan Hooker
- Lightweight: Paddy Pimblett vs Kazula Vargas
- Welterweight: Gunnar Nelson vs Takashi Sato
- Flyweight: Molly McCann vs Luana Carolina
- Lightweight: Jai Herbert vs Ilia Topuria
- Featherweight: Mike Grundy vs Makwan Amirkhani
- Heavyweight: Shamil Abdurakhimov vs Sergei Pavlovich
- Light Heavyweight: Nikita Krylov vs Paul Craig
- Bantamweight: Jack Shore vs Timur Valiev
- Strawweight: Cory McKenna vs Elise Reed
- Bantamweight: Nathaniel Wood vs Vince Morales
- Flyweight: Muhammad Mokaev vs Cody Durden