UFC London has been and gone now, and what a night it was. This was especially the case for a lot of the UK stars, who collectively went 7-3 on the night. In this piece, we take a look at some potential fights to make for the winners.
Dagestan born Brit Muhammad Mokaev came into London with a lot of expectations on his young shoulders and managed to exceed them. He blasted Durden with a flying knee before submitting him early in the first, making it look easy in the process. While it is easy to get carried away with prospects, Mokaev looks special and wants to be the youngest UFC champion ever.
Number 17 ranked Bruno Silva is coming off back to back stoppage wins and represents a moderate step up in threat to the youngster, although Tagir Ulanbekov is also without an opponent and would be a bigger step up the rankings for Mokaev.
In perhaps the most significant win of his career, Welshman Jack Shore beat Timur Valiev over three rounds and made everyone in the audience question if we could be looking at a future world champion. Now 16-0, the UFC still bafflingly have him unranked, with most seeing him as at least top 15.
The names that make the most sense at the moment as far as fights to make are Frankie Edgar and Said Numagomedov. While Frankie may be at the tail end of his career, he still has more than enough left in the tank to check any potential champion’s metal before they crack the top 5. Failing that, Shore vs Numagomedov in a fight night headliner isn’t a crazy idea, is it?. Built as two fighting families going to war, with the winner getting all the momentum on their side. Said has name value, and Shore could be the next big thing at bantamweight.
The miracle worker that is Paul Craig did it again at the O2. Many shook their heads in defeat as Krylov bounced “Bearjews” head off of the canvas for the majority of round one. Then there were a few of us on the know, waiting with a wry smile for the thing we almost knew was going to happen to unfold. With his now world-famous triangle choke, Paul Craig duly obliged, submitting the Ukrainian in the first round.
Undefeated in six, with five finishes, it’s time to take Craig seriously. After recently announcing a two-year extension to his MMA career, he will be in a hurry to get moving up the rankings.
The Scotsman called out Anthony “Lionheart” Smith in the cage, and there’s very little reason not to do it, even if it’s not in Glasgow. This is definitely one of the easier fights to make.
Well, what can you say about “Meatball”?. She registered one of the most brutal knockouts in female MMA history.
A perfectly timed spinning back elbow turned out the lights of Luana Carolina and raised the roof off of the O2 arena. McCann has given herself a chance to jump up a few spots in the Rankings. Maryna Moroz is a marked step up in competition for “Meatball” and is coming off a submission victory at UFC 272.
For McCann, though, rankings may not mean all too much. She recently offered to face women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, if her current opponent dropped out. Whatever is next, we can only hope it is on UK soil.
In what was a real display of star power, “The Baddy” had a sold-out O2 Arena chanting his name as he survived a turbulent start against Rodrigo Vargas to secure a first-round submission victory. Pimblett has already stated he has no interest in fighting outside his pay grade, and Jamie Mullarkey fits that profile. The Australian is coming off a loss but is battle-tested inside the UFC. It would be a realistic assessment of just how close to the top 15 the Scouser is against a dangerous opponent.
Another suggestion would be to give Ilia Topuria his wish. Rankings wise, there aren’t many “easy” fights for Paddy, and this one could headline a fight night thanks to recent animosities between the pair. If the contract is right, Pimblett may reconsider taking this one.
Arnold Allen may have had the biggest breakout performance on the entire UFC London card. The BKK and Tristar contender managed to out tough notorious tough-guy Dan Hooker. Now on a nine-fight win streak in the UFC, Allen is on the cusp of a title shot.
As said by James Evans in his article, Calvin Kattar makes a tonne of sense.
It really would be a brawl to behold for the fans. Both men have proven their boxing credentials and are willing to test them in a phone box until something gives. It may be the first time in history a pre-fight if the night check is written. Barring that, the fan in me wants to say just throw him and Max Holloway in there and enjoy, but perhaps after the Kattar fight.
It was a big opponent, a big win and a HUGE statement. Team Kaobons Tom Aspinall might be the only person in the UK who doesn’t think he is title fight ready. Aspinall dominated the fight, showing both his agility on the feet as well as his comfort in the grappling exchanges against Alexander Volkov.
Aspinall is calling for Tai Tuivasa, and it’s hard to disagree. It would be a huge fight that is almost guaranteed a finish. The winner is next in line for a shot at the throne. “Bam Bam” may not want to fight down the rankings, though, and in this case, the winner of Blaydes vs Daukuas makes sense.
Blaydes could provide the type of octagon experience Tom is looking for. A world-class wrestler who has beaten some of the division’s best. Daukuas has competed with and beaten some experienced heavyweights and is no easy out for the young Aspinall either.
Which of these do you agree or disagree with?
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images