UFC London Best Bets & Predictions


UFC returns to London for the second time this year on Saturday night as UK MMA’s golden generation looks to carry the momentum from March’s showcase and put on another sizzling night of action in the O2 Arena.

It isn’t just the fighters who’ll be looking to cash big checks and take-home bonuses, as we’re here to provide you with our best tips and analysis for your betting slips this weekend.

Tom Aspinall v Curtis Blaydes

The main event once again sees Manchester’s Tom Aspinall (12-2) under the magnifying glass as he will look to make the biggest stamp on the UFC heavyweight division in his toughest battle yet versus Curtis Blaydes.(16-3).

Last time round we saw Aspinall dispatch of veteran Alexander Volkov in brilliant, unorthodox fashion with a first round straight armlock submission. This time round, however, his adversary is not on his way down the rankings. Curtis Blaydes is a true threat to anyone in the top ten heavyweights. His untraditional approach to heavyweight combat is not that of the slugger who will stand in the middle of the Octagon and throw hell for leather, no. His attitude is very much to make the fight all about his gruelling wrestling, pressure his opponent and capitalise in the grappling facets of the game. It may not be pretty, but Curtis hasn’t been one to care for the crowd’s approval.

However, Tom Aspinall has been evolving into a true heavyweight titan. The coolness required to bounce from the APEX in Vegas to the O2 Arena so nonchalantly says a lot about the man’s solid mentality. He will sure be looking to dazzle the American with his lightning-fast hands and, with his expert Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt level of grappling, Aspinall will be more than comfortable tying up with Blaydes.

Paddy Power odds are favouring Aspinall much higher as of this writing. The Brit coming in with 4/6 odds of leaving victorious with Blaydes at 11/10. If you’re fancying an upset, this could be your path. However, a stoppage at any time for Aspinall stands at 21/10. It’s a real pick ‘em fight, but Tom Aspinall has seemed untameable in the UFC thus far and after Saturday night.

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Paul Craig v Volkan Oezdemir

You can never count out Scotland’s Paul Craig (16-4). The submission standout is never in an easy fight and rarely finds himself in a suitable nor comfortable predicament. Time and time again, however, he has managed to deliver – either with immediate effect or late on. There simply is no middle ground for the light-heavyweight, known as the catalyst for the latest submission in 205lbs history in the very last second of the third round. He is not a fighter to take lightly.

Standing adjacent to the Scotsman is Volkan Oezdemir (17-6): a combatant that had a meteoric rise through the UFC’s light-heavyweight division, falling at the final hurdle versus Daniel Cormier. Since then, the Swiss national is once again finding his feet in the division. Surprisingly, Paddy Power’s odds have Oezdemir as the betting favourite at 4/7, despite Volkan having lost his last two bouts decisively and having not won since 2019, sheer contrast to the Bearjew at 5/4 having won five of his last six – the previous being a draw – and three of which by submission.

Craig looks to be underrated in this contest, for some reason or another. Momentum is truly with him entering this contest and he always performs on British shores. A third consecutive loss for Volkan may see him leave the promotion, so there is plenty of pressure on him to remain.

Paddy Pimblett v Jordan Leavitt

Paddy Pimblett (18-3) is well on his way to be the next UFC superstar. With his charisma, personality and talent, the UFC would be silly not to put stock in the thriving Scouse submission artist. The last time out in the O2, Pimblett absolutely rocked the house and was clear to all in attendance and all watching on that he is ‘the boy,’ as he so eloquently puts it.

After storming through his first two encounters in the UFC, Pimblett meets his third adversary in Jordan Leavitt (10-1) which might just be the last time we see him go to battle on English soil before he heads over to America for pay-per-view cards.

It’s no surprise for Pimblett to be the heavy favourite here, with 1/3 odds. Those returning odds may be slim, but a first round submission on the Liverpudlian’s behalf bring back fantastic odds at 11/2 and is a very possible outcome given his pedigree and history.

Leavitt’s odds are 2/1 coming into the bout. A big underdog to get the job done in London, Leavitt fancies his handiwork against the Scouser and intends on sleeping the star in his home country. Pimblett is no stranger to getting rocked early in the opening stanza of his bouts, so if an opening is to present itself Leavitt will surely be one to take it – and that opportunity stands at a massive 13/1 according to Paddy Power.

That said, however, Pimblett is highly expected to get his hand raised on Saturday night; another stoppage packed into it once again before he leaves for Las Vegas.

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Jai Herbert v Kyle Nelson

Jai Herbert’s (11-4) UFC tenure has been one of the toughest assignments any newcomer to the UFC has endured. Battles with top talents such as Francisco Trinaldo, Renato Moicano and Ilia Topuria are on his resume, but his UFC record in those battles are not ones you can hold against him. A former Cage Warriors lightweight champion in his own right, respect must be put on Herbert’s name.

In his last outing versus the aforementioned Ilia Topuria, Jai was on his way to the biggest victory of his career in a very close bout with Topuria. Jai had him hurt on several occasions until Ilia turned the lights out in a destructive second round finish – a bout that Jai was on top of right up until the stoppage.

The Black Country Banger recently signed a new contract and will step out in London against much less formidable opposition in Kyle Nelson (13-4). This is the kind of fight Herbert should have been given way back when he entered the big league and this bout will provide the lightweight scrapper a chance to reignite his fighting prowess and reintroduce himself amongst the 155lbs division.

The Canadian Nelson has had a much similar run inside the UFC, however versus much different competition. His last victory came by TKO in 2019 and will be on the hunt for a significant statement in beating Herbert this weekend. The fluctuating performances haven’t left him in the best stead amongst UFC lightweights either and will need a big win this weekend.

Jai’s odds entering this bout are a strong 3/10 favourite to take the victory, but a favoured method & round combination of a second-round TKO in favour of the Wolverhampton warrior at 5/1 will sit happily in your pockets.

PaddyPower Special

There’s a fantastic special being offered on Paddy Power for submission victories by both Paddy Pimblett and Paul Craig at 10/1. In one’s humble opinion, this is a steal to jump right on top of. With the skillset both men possess to submit their opponent’s with their unorthodox approaches, this is definitely a special worth the while.

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How to watch UFC London?

📅   When is UFC London? / Saturday, 23rd July 2022 from 5:10PM
🏟   Where is UFC London? / 02 Arena (London)
📺   What TV channel is UFC London on? / BT Sport