UFC Fight Night – Volkov Vs. Aspinall
The UFC returned to England after a gap of three years due to the pandemic, and the crowd was buzzing with so much energy. Saturday Night’s UFC Fight Night took place at 4:00 PM ET on March 19th at the O2 Arena in London, England.
The show started off with a fight between England’s Jai Herbert and Georgia’s Elia Topuria. Liverpool’s notorious Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett also had a fight scheduled against Mexico’s Kazula Vargas in the undercard.
However, this fight night was a stage set for England’s Tom Aspinall to make his mark in the heavyweight division as he faced Russia’s Alexander Volkov. The young English fighter announced his entry into the top 10 by beating Volkov with an armlock in the first round itself!
Before we head to the happenings of the main event, let us shift our attention to the fights that took place in the undercard. Except for Topuria’s win over Herbert, the rest of the roster was dominated by English fighters.
The show kicked off when Jai Herbert knocked down Elia Topuria with a left kick to the head, but Topuria quickly got up. He contained the pressure for the rest of the first round. Topuria took his time before he saw an opportunity to attack Herbert with a big right hand to his face, which knocked him out cold.
Next up was the fight between England’s Meatball Molly McCann and Brazil’s Luana Carolina in the women’s flyweight division. Molly McCann entered this fight with a lot of hype surrounding her as she was the first English woman in history to feature on a UFC Fight Night.
Molly McCann started the fight going all out as expected. The crowd’s energy gave her an adrenaline rush, and she went blazing at Luana. Luana did not do much until the start of the third round, where she also hit McCann with some shots. Just as Luana dominated the third round, McCann teed up Luana for a spinning back elbow and knocked her out. McCann won the match by KO.
Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett was also on the card against Mexico’s Kazula Vargas. Pimblett won the match by submission in the first round after recovering from an early scare where Vargas seemed to have landed a big right hand on Pimblett. This kid from Liverpool looks set to achieve superstardom with his enigmatic charisma and fluent fighting style.
The only match-up with no English fighters was between Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson and Japan’s Takashi Sato. The fight was a lifeless one, with both fighters having a Karate fighting style. Nelson took the win in this fight via the judges’ decision.
These two fighters woke up this morning and chose violence because this match-up was one of the best fights of the night. England’s Arnold Allen took on New Zealand’s Dan Hooker in the featherweight division for the co-main event, and it was indeed a treat to fight fans all over the world.
Coming into this match, people were uncertain about Arnold Allen as he had a lot of issues in the past with injuries. His inconsistency in fights created doubts over him, especially as he was taking on one of UFC’s hardest-hitting fighters in Dan Hooker.
To everyone’s sheer joy, Allen came out blazing with a combination of hard and quick punches, which caught Dan Hooker by surprise. Arnold Allen did not come to mess around as he continued putting pressure on Hooker with endless combinations of right and left punches, which shook Dan Hooker.
When everyone thought Allen took the wind out of Dan Hooker, he landed a solid blow to Allen’s head, almost knocking him down. Allen got back up to his feet and took a short pause. He returned to Hooker again with his punch combos and pinned Hooker to the cage. Hooker was getting beat up right and left with punches and elbows to the head till the referee stopped the fight resulting in Arnold Allen winning by TKO.
Tom Aspinall Vs. Alexander Volkov – Main Event
The fight that all fight fans were waiting for had finally arrived, and it did not disappoint. England’s heavyweight prodigy, Tim Aspinall, faced the experienced and fearsome Alexander Volkov from Russia.
Before this event, Aspinall had never fought in a match with an onlooking crowd. His performance told a very different story, though, as he looked like a seasoned fighter with no signs of nerves.
Aspinall took down Volkov on the canvas at the start of the first round and started chipping away Volkov’s head with elbows. Volkov got back to his feet, and the roles reversed as he took down Aspinall this time. However, Aspinall was able to get on top of Volkov. He submitted Volkov with an armlock without much hardship at 3 minutes and 45 seconds into the first round, to everyone’s surprise.
It was the biggest win of his career so far. Beating Volkov was a massive scalp for Aspinall. This win puts Aspinall in the top 5 or 6 contenders for the heavyweight title and takes him nearer to his dream of becoming a champion in the division.
This UFC London Fight Night brought out one of the best cards in recent history and lived up to its hype. The English dominated and won most of the fights, perhaps making a statement that it is now their time to take over the UFC!
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