UFC FIGHT NIGHT: VOLKOV vs. ASPINALL aired live in Asia on Sunday, March 20, and blew the top off the 02 Arena in UFC long-awaited three-year return to London.
With nine out of twelve fights ending in finishes, and hometown heroes delivering amazing performances, the sold-out event was a success on all fronts. All nine finishers earned $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses, and it was the highest grossing Fight Night in UFC history.
The highly anticipated heavyweight contenders' match between #6 Alexander Volkov and #11 Tom Aspinall gave the London crowd exactly what they wanted: a dominant victory from their underdog. Aspinall had Volkov on the back foot, easily got the thudding takedown, and from there was able to secure a fight-finishing straight armlock. After the first round tapout, Aspinall said,
"I've been telling everyone all week that I'm born for this! The secret is self-belief. My teammates, my coaches, they believe in me. Since I was born my brother's been helping me every day. I believe in myself so much because of everyone who's around me. Someone buy me a beer!"
From the word go, it was high stakes for the hearts of the audience when hometown #7 ranked featherweight contender Arnold Allen and fan favorite Dan Hooker entered the Octagon. Allen quickly unloaded a barrage of punches, through which Hooker unbelievably stayed standing and fired back. But a second onslaught from Allen spelled the end, spurring the referee to jump in and stop the fight. After the first round TKO victory, Allen said,
"My coach said to wrestle. I said I'm English, we don't wrestle! I know how hard I hit. I know how good of a striker I am. I want to dedicate this fight to my Muay Thai master who's in the hospital battling cancer. This is for you."
The main card started off with a bang when Jai Herbert dropped Ilia Topuria with a head kick inside the first minute, but Topuria turned things around in the second and got the come from behind KO.
The hometown pair from Liverpool, Molly McCann and Paddy Pimblett, raised the roof off the 02 Arena with a pair of spectacular finishes. McCann and Luana Carolina battled into the third round where McCann landed a spinning back elbow that flattened her opponent. Pimblett was put on his back early by Kazula Vargas, but he returned the favor with his own judo throw and a rear naked choke for the tapout.
UFC London Results:
Performances of the Night:
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