What a night. Not just for UK MMA, but the sport of MMA as a whole. People will be talking about UFC London for years to come as one of the best cards of the modern-day UFC era. For good reason, too. The card was stacked from top to bottom with the UK’s most elite talent.
From memorable debuts to coming-of-age performances. UFC London had it all. The highs and the lows. The triumphs and the falls. We were spoilt and it seems as though the world has been put on notice of the plethora of talent coming out of the UK. As stated, there were many things to talk about, however here are five main happenings that have the MMA scene buzzing.
Mokaev Announces Himself on the Big Stage
Opening any UFC card, especially one in front of a buzzing London crowd is a daunting task. It certainly speaks levels that Mokaev, at 21 years of age, looked like he’d been outing for the UFC for years. There were many eyes on the Dagestani-born fighter, and for good reason.
“The Punisher” has gone perfect in his MMA career, both in the amateur and professional ranks. There certainly is a lot of hype around Muhammad Mokaev and he justified those expectations ten-fold against Cody Durden. Mokaev exceptionally finished the American, landing a flying knee and a subsequent guillotine choke to end the bout. It couldn’t have gone any better for the flyweight prospect, and some are even questioning whether he could break Jon Jones’ record as the youngest champion in UFC history.
KO of the Year Contender?
I have no words. Well, I do, otherwise, this would be a pretty terrible article, wouldn’t it? “Meatball” Molly McCann sure does know how to level up and alright hyped-up crowd. Straight out of the gates she came for war, pressuring Carolina and throwing leather at a mind-blowing pace. Her Brazilian counterpart had no answer for the relentless aggression of McCann, ultimately succumbing to the Scouse flyweight’s strikes.
One could not prepare, although, for the sheer magnitude of the finish we were treated to. There were a few mumblings that Molly could be fading heading into the third round. Given her output in the first two that would have been completely understandable. Despite this, she unleashed a spinning elbow from the depths of hell, devastatingly flatlining Carolina. Expect to see this knockout on highlight reels and end-of-year montages as one of the craziest finishes in 2022.
Is Paddy “The Paddy” Pimblett the UFC Next Big Star?
“Oh, Paddy the Baddy” sang 18,000 UK fans. On a night that compared with McGregor’s performance against Brandao, we got the see vintage Paddy Pimblett. The walkout, the finish, and the celebration all contributed to a moment that could go down in history as one of the most important homecomings in MMA history.
Another first-round finish was imperative for the rise of the young Liverpudlian. He certainly delivered under circumstances that would make others crack under the pressure. As far as potential star power goes, Dana White said it all. Claiming that Paddy is the “real deal”, you can see the cash signs in the UFC president’s eyes when he looks at his new lightweight prospect. Few nations get behind a fighter as well the UK do, and Pimblett knows how to amass a following. The UFC seems to have a new cash cow.
Arnold Allen Cements His Top Five Status
The MMA scene picked this fight instantly as one that could produce fireworks. It delivered ten-fold. For as long as it lasted it was non-stop action. However, it didn’t go as many expected. Arnold came out throwing BOMBS. Pushing forward from the opening bell Arnold was clearly looking for the finish on the big stage. The risk paid off as he finished Dan Hooker with a barrage of punches in the very first round.
Fans of UK MMA were well aware of the talent that “Almighty” possesses, however, the wider MMA scene needed a performance like this to truly appreciate the potential of the Tristar product. This fight has skyrocketed Arnold Allen into the top five and well-deserved title contention. Calvin Kattar was the name on 28-year-old lips, and if he could put that feather in his cap, a title shot would without a doubt be next.
Tom Aspinall is a Future Champion
Biased? Almost certainly. However, even the most outrageous bias requires substance. That being said, is it UK bias after what we witnessed at UFC London? Nobody, I repeat, nobody does that to Alexander Volkov. On the feet and the ground, Aspinall was at a whole different level. The sheer speed that the heavyweight fighter moves at is on par with a fighter 100 pounds lighter.
We are witnessing the new breed of heavyweight MMA fighter, and the Kaobon prospect seems to be the best example of this. With no apparent weaknesses in his game, I fail to see how one could deny that he has a huge future in the sport. This win has catapulted him into title contention, and he could be only one win away from a crack at the 265lb title.
Aspinall has all the credentials to beat any of the top ten, including the champion himself. Time will tell whether these assessments are justified. I, for one, am excited to see what the future holds for Manchester’s own.
Featured image credits go to UFC