The UFC’s second event in London in 2022 had a tough task to match the incredible action from the first show back in March, and Saturday night’s event at The O2 Arena paled in comparison to the UFC’s earlier visit.
After a largely forgettable preliminary card, the main card finally exploded into life when Molly McCann stunned everyone, including her opponent Hannah Goldy, by unleashing the same spinning elbow she used four months earlier to defeat Luana Carolina. That elbow badly hurt Goldy, as McCann moved in and claimed a finish that gave the patient London crowd the big moment they’d been waiting for.
Nikita Krylov followed with a blistering finish of his own as he overwhelmed Alexander Gustafsson with strikes to claim a quickfire TKO finish. Krylov looks like he’s ready to make a run toward the top men at 205 pounds, while Gustafsson’s fighting future looks far from certain after a demoralising defeat on his return to the light heavyweight division.
Then came the star turn of the evening. Paddy Pimblett’s entrance was epic, and his performance against Jordan Leavitt was his best in the UFC octagon to date. Leavitt brought everything we expected. He was tricky, unorthodox, and solid in the clinch. But after a difficult opening round, Pimblett found his feet in the second as he hurt Leavitt with a big knee, then took his opponent’s back and finished the fight with a rear-naked choke. The O2 exploded.
After a lacklustre co-main event between Jack Hermansson and a frustrated Chris Curtis, all eyes turned to the main event between Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall. But, just 15 seconds into the fight, Aspinall landed a kick to Blaydes’ thigh, then after bringing his leg back to the floor, the Brit fell back in agony and the fight was instantly waved off. Initial assessments suggested knee ligament damage, and Aspinall looks like he’s set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines as he gets his knee repaired, then rehabbed, ahead of a return to training.
Recap Fighters Only’s fight night updates below as we reacted to the action as it happened on fight night in London.
UFC London: Fight Night Updates
CURTIS BLAYDES DEF. TOM ASPINALL VIA TKO (KNEE INJURY) – ROUND 1, 0:15
The main event between Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall was over almost before it began, with Aspinall collapsing to the canvas in agony after sustaining a knee injury that required lengthy treatment inside the octagon.
Prior to the injury, both men were standing and throwing big strikes, but after throwing a kick, Aspinall stepped back and fell to the floor in clear agony. Blaydes immediately stepped away and referee Herb Dean waved off the fight.
A disappointing way to end a topsy-turvy fight night in England.
JACK HERMANSSON DEF. CHRIS CURTIS VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
In the night’s co-main event, Jack Hermansson used his lateral movement and boxing skills to stick and move his way to a unanimous decision victory over short-notice replacement opponent Chris Curtis.
Hermansson frustrated Curtis throughout the fight with his constant backpedalling and lateral movement as the American tried in vain to cut off the cage and land his strikes with power. In the end, with Hermansson almost running in retreat in the final moments, Curtis lost his composure as he flipped off “The Joker,” both in the final seconds of the fight, and again as he left the arena floor.
But ultimately, it was a win for Hermansson, who reiterated his desire to face originally-scheduled opponent Darren Till, while also calling for a fight on the mooted UFC event in Stockholm, Sweden, in November.
PADDY PIMBLETT DEF. JORDAN LEAVITT VIA SUBMISSION (REAR-NAKED CHOKE) – ROUND 2, 2:46
Paddy Pimblett promised to rock The O2 again, and he did exactly that with a second-round submission of Jordan Leavitt in their lightweight clash.
Leavitt proved a tricky opponent as he pushed the pressure on Pimblett, but it was the Liverpudlian who was chasing the finish as he tried with multiple submission attempts that the American smartly managed to escape.
The second round delivered the finish, as Pimblett took Leavitt’s back and, after some hand fighting on the mat, locked up a rear-naked choke to get the stoppage.
After the fight, Pimblett delivered a powerful message after revealing one of his friends had taken their life hours before he weighed in, as he urged men around the world to open up and speak about their worries to prevent more suicides.
His heartfelt speech was followed by an emotional moment as the entire O2 Arena joined together to sing the famous anthem of Pimblett’s team, Liverpool FC, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
"Please speak to someone, speak to anyone."
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) July 23, 2022
NIKITA KRYLOV DEF. ALEXANDER GUSTAFSSON VIA TKO (PUNCHES) – ROUND 1, 1:07
Nikita Krylov bounced back in style from his UFC London loss to Paul Craig with a stunning 67-second demolition of former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson.
Krylov stepped into the pocket in the opening seconds and let fly with heavy shots that dropped the big Swede in the opening moments of the fight. Somehow, “The Mauler” managed to get back to his feet and keep himself in the fight. But Krylov wouldn’t be denied, and another heavy-handed combination sent Gustafsson to the canvas again. This time Krylov followed up with heavy ground shots to force referee Marc Goddard to step in after just 67 seconds.
After his victory, Krylov called for a bout with fellow light heavyweight victor Volkan Oezdemir in Abu Dhabi.
MOLLY MCCANN DEF. HANNAH GOLDY VIA TKO (SPINNING ELBOW AND PUNCHES) – ROUND 1, 3:52
The London crowd inside the O2 Arena had been starved of their big “WOW” moment until Molly McCann delivered her party piece for the second fight in a row.
McCann came out in typically aggressive fashion, but found Hannah Goldy to be a stubborn adversary. But that resistance was broken in spectacular style when McCann unleashed another stunning spinning elbow that connected flush on Goldy’s chin.
A furious flurry of follow-up punches made sure referee Herb Dean wouldn’t let things progress much further as the bout was stopped amid total bedlam inside the O2 Arena.
— Simon Head (@simonhead) July 23, 2022
VOLKAN OEZDEMIR DEF. PAUL CRAIG VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Craig relentlessly tried to drag the action to the mat through Round 1, and though he was successful on multiple occasions, Oezdemir’s defence proved smart enough to keep him out of serious submission danger. By the end of the round, the Swiss fighter had managed to brush off the Scot’s takedown attempts.
The second round saw both men trade strikes, with both enjoying success on the feet. Oezdemir’s shots carried the greater power, but Craig got through with a number of solid shots himself. But again, whenever the Scot tried to take things to the canvas, Oezdemir smartly escaped and backed away to force the fight back to the feet.
The third round saw more of the same, with Oezdemir avoiding the ground and carefully outstriking Craig to earn a clear win on the judges’ scorecards.
LUDOVIT KLEIN DEF. MASON JONES VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ludovit Klein spoiled Mason Jones’ return to the octagon with a hard-earned decision victory. After a well-contested opening round, Klein made the breakthrough in Round 2 when he dropped Jones hard with a beautiful combination. But the Welshman recovered remarkably swiftly and defended well off his back to keep the Slovakian at bay.
Jones attempted to rally in the final round, but Klein remained composed and stayed on top of the striking exchanges while holding sway on the mat to earn a clear win on the cards.
MARC DIAKIESE DEF. DAMIR HADZOVIC VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Marc Diakiese may have arrived in the UFC with a flurry of knockouts, but he’s showing the world that he’s a more than effective wrestler, too. “The Bonecrusher” showcased that wrestling skillset once again in his dominant decision victory over Damir Hadzovic, as he totally shut down his opponent for three full rounds.
Diakiese’s win may not add too much to his highlight reel, but it showed that he’s a much more well-rounded fighter, and one that is a genuine threat, both on the feet and on the mat.
NATHANIEL WOOD DEF. CHARLES ROSA VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Nathaniel Wood produced a performance full of maturity and composure as he comprehensively outstruck Charles Rosa to earn a shutout win on the scorecards.
Wood lit up Rosa with his hands, and demolished “Boston Strong’s” lead left leg with punishing leg kicks through three well-paced rounds to earn scores of 30-26, 30-26, 30-27 from the three octagonside judges.
Measured. Composed. Clinical!
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) July 23, 2022
The win gave London’s Wood a long-awaited win on home soil after the Englishman was forced off the card in March due to his opponent being taken ill.
JONATHAN PEARCE DEF. MAKWAN AMIRKHANI VIA TKO (GROUND STRIKES) – ROUND 2, 4:10
After a difficult opening round, Jonathan Pearce rebounded superbly to defeat Makwan Amirkhani and extend his win streak to four with a second-round TKO finish.
Amirkhani outwrestled Pearce through the opening five minutes as he took control of the grappling exchanges on the mat, but Pearce adjusted well in the second stanza and eventually claimed a stoppage win – the first of the night here in London.
— UFC on TNT Sports (@ufcontnt) July 23, 2022
MUHAMMAD MOKAEV DEF. CHARLES JOHNSON VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Muhammad Mokaev picked up his second straight UFC victory with a dominant decision win over former LFA flyweight champion Charles Johnson.
The feet! The bridge! The slam!
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) July 23, 2022
While Mokaev claimed a stunning first-round finish on his octagon debut, the former IMMAF world champion used the full three-round duration to claim victory on his second appearance, as he comprehensively outwrestled and outgrappled Johnson to earn a shutout win on the scorecards with scores of 30-27 across the board.
JAI HERBERT DEF. KYLE NELSON VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
It wasn’t pretty, but Jai Herbert picked up a hugely important victory for his UFC career as he came from a round down to defeat Canada’s Kyle Nelson via unanimous decision.
Nelson did a good job of stifling a nervous-looking Herbert in the opening round, but “The Black Country Banger” finally found his mark late in Round 2 as he connected with a huge straight right and a big knee to test the Canadian’s chin.
Then, in Round 3, Herbert excellently evaded a Nelson takedown attempt to end up on top, and when the fight returned to the feet, he kept Nelson at bay with strikes to earn scores of 29-28 on all three scorecards.
VICTORIA LEONARDO DEF. MANDY BOHM VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
The women’s flyweight bout between Mandy Bohm and Victoria Leonardo produced a gritty, hard-fought scrap that went all the way to the judges’ scorecards. Both women pushed the pace, but neither was able to score a definitive knockdown in a bout that largely saw them cancel each other out in the stand-up exchanges.
In the end, it came down to who pushed the pace more and landed the better work, and it was Leonardo who got the nod, with scores of 30-27 on all three scorecards.
NICOLAS DALBY DEF. CLAUDIO SILVA VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
“Danish Dynamite” was on full display at The O2 Arena as Denmark’s Nicolas Dalby came from behind to claim a hard-earned decision victory over Claudio “Hannibal” Silva.
Silva used his grappling well in the opening round to control Dalby, but the former Cage Warriors champion turned the tables in emphatic fashion in the second stanza as he battered Silva for the majority of the round.
The final frame saw Dalby maintain control against an exhausted Silva, whose late takedown gave him a brief glimmer of victory. But Dalby kept his cool through the grappling exchanges on the mat to earn a unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards.
Welcome to London! The arena is starting to fill up ahead of the opening bout of the night here at The O2 Arena. If the atmosphere is even slightly close to the one we had back in March when the UFC last came calling, we’ll be in for another raucous night.
We have 14 bouts on tap tonight, culminating in the heavyweight main event between Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall. But this fight card is about much more than just the headliner, with a host of British stars looking to repeat the huge success local fighters enjoyed in March.
The first fight will kick off at 5pm local time, 12 noon ET, 9am PT, so settle in and enjoy the action with us at Fighters Only.
UFC London: Official Results
- Curtis Blaydes def. Tom Aspinall via TKO (knee injury) – Round 1, 0:15
- Jack Hermansson def. Chris Curtis via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Paddy Pimblett def. Jordan Leavitt via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:46
- Nikita Krylov def. Alexander Gustafsson via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:07
- Molly McCann def. Hannah Goldy via TKO (spinning elbow and punches) – Round 1, 3:52
- Volkan Oezdemir def. Paul Craig via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ludovit Klein def. Mason Jones via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Marc Diakiese def. Damir Hadzovic via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
- Nathaniel Wood def. Charles Rosa via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
- Jonathan Pearce def. Makwan Amirkhani via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 2, 4:10
- Muhammad Mokaev def. Charles Johnson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jai Herbert def. Kyle Nelson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Victoria Leonardo def. Mandy Bohm via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Nicolas Dalby def. Claudio Silva via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)