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UFC “London” predictions, preview of the first “Prelims” undercard | Volkov vs. Aspinall

One of the game’s most promising heavyweights faces his toughest test yet this Saturday (March 19, 2022) when Tom Aspinall meets Alexander Volkov at the O2 Arena in London, England. The card airing on ESPN+ will also see Dan Hooker return to Featherweight to take on the once-beaten Arnold Allen, while Paddy Pimblett will make his second UFC appearance against Kazula Vargas.

Seven “Prelims” bouts define the state stage of UFC “London’s main card,” four of which we’ve broken down below. Let’s start…

LIVE! Stream UFC ‘London’ on ESPN+

The wait is over! The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the O2 Arena in London, England on March 19, 2022, for the first time in two years, led by a hard-hitting heavyweight showdown between the division’s top contenders, Alexander Volkov (#6) and Tom Aspinal (No. 11). In the UFC “London” co-main event, Dan Hooker returns to featherweight action against Arnold Allenwhile the rising English hitting sensation, Paddy Pimbletlock the horns with Rodrigue Vargas.

Don’t miss a single second of face-smacking action!

125 pounds: Molly McCann vs. Luana Caroline

A three-fight UFC winning streak for Molly McCann (11-4) gave way to back-to-back losses to Taila Santos and Lara Procopio, knocking her Octagon record to .500. Undaunted, she fought her way past Ji Yeon Kim to claim both a unanimous decision and the “fight of the night” in September 2021.

“Meatball” ended four professional fights by knockout.

Luana Carolina (8-2) defeated Mabelly Lima on Competitor Series and Priscila Cachoeira in the Octagon before suffering a gruesome knee loss to Ariane Lipski. After almost 10 months on the shelf, she returned to the win column by upsetting both Poliana Botelho and Lupita Godinez in order.

“Dread” is the larger of the two-by-two inches and sports a seven-inch reach advantage.

What sank Godinez in this fight was his insistence on chasing takedowns even when Carolina figured out his tricks. “Loopy” actually possesses strong boxing, but seemed reluctant to use it against his greatest enemy. That won’t be a problem for McCann, who has landed more than 100 major strikes in each of his four UFC wins. His mix of high-volume boxing and developing wrestling should give Carolina all sorts of trouble considering how often Godinez has managed to get within reach of the Brazilian.

Carolina is unquestionably a stronger fighter than you realize, but the McCann who fought against Kim can find tons of success with that same approach. In the end, the exit, the occasional level change, and raw aggression should lead “Meatball” to victory.

Prediction: McCann by unanimous decision

135 pounds: Jack Shore vs. Timur Valiev

Wales’ Jack Shore (15-0) established himself as one of the UK’s best with a destructive run in Cage Warriors, where he won and defended the bantamweight title before making the jump to the Octagon. “Tank” was just as effective there, winning in all four of his UFC appearances.

His 12 pro finishes are split 8/4 between submissions and knockouts.

The disastrous knockout loss to Trevin Jones in Timur Valiev’s Octagon debut (18-2) became a ‘No Contest’ after Jones failed a drug test, keeping the unbeaten streak intact. “Lucky”. He has since extended it to nine with decision wins over Martin Day and Raoni Barcelos, the latter earning him a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.

It gives up two inches in height and four inches in reach to Shore.

Speed ​​seems to be the deciding factor here. Valiev’s footwork and quick-firing combinations look like more than Shore’s technically sound kickboxing can handle, and while “Lucky” proved ominous during his tenure in the Octagon, Shore apparently didn’t. the power of a blow to put him away.

Shore’s best weapon is his best game, which Valiev’s excellent wrestling numbers have to take off the table even if Dagestan can’t earn their own eliminations. In the end, expect a gripping, fast-paced battle in which Valiev’s production, movement, and overall speed win out.

Prediction: Valiev via unanimous decision

125 pounds: Cory McKenna vs. Elise Reed

Cory McKenna (6-1) went 4-1 under the Cage Warriors banner before defeating the dangerous Vanessa Demopoulos to claim a contract on Competitor Series. Three months later, “Poppins” made his successful Octagon debut with a close decision over fellow countryman Kay Hansen.

This will be her first fight in 16 months, as she pulled out of a scheduled September 2021 clash with Emily Whitmire.

Elise Reed (4-1) edged out the future Competitor Series graduated Jasmine Jasudavicius to win gold from Cage Fury in her second pro fight, then beat Jillian DeCoursey and Hilarie Rose in a pair of title defenses. This set up a late clash with the much bigger Sijara Eubanks, who beat Reed late in the opening round.

She scored two knockouts as a professional.

It should be clarified that Reed was a former atomweight taking a natural bantamweight in his UFC debut. She is very capable of fighting women of her size, and I expect a much stronger performance from her this time around.

I still don’t think she’ll win, though. Although less adept with his kicks, McKenna has a clear advantage in hand speed and ground speed. As long as McKenna stays on the front foot, smothers Reed’s kicks and threatens to take down, she has the tools to win. I say she does, mixing punches and struggles to make a clear decision.

Prediction: McKenna via unanimous decision

135 pounds: Nathaniel Wood vs. Vince Moraux

Nathanial Wood (17-5) lived up to his ‘Prospect’ moniker with three consecutive Octagon wins, one of which earned him ‘Performance of the Night’. He now sits 1-2 in his last three games, a decision over John Castaneda sandwiched between losses to John Lineker and Casey Kenney.

This is his first appearance in nearly 17 months.

Vince Morales (11-5) stumbled out of the UFC gate with losses in three of his first four appearances, including a knockout technical kick through Chris Gutierrez. Next came back-to-back victories over Drako Rodriguez and Louis Smolka, with the latter scoring his first knockout win since 2018.

“Vandetta” replaces Liudvik Sholinian on two weeks’ notice.

The one-note Sholinian probably would have been an easy pick for Wood, and while Morales presents a very different kind of challenge, it’s still the fight from “The Prospect.” Wood regularly shows off the powerful groundwork and low kicks that have given Morales so much trouble in the past, giving him multiple paths to victory. The only real threat is Morales’ hammer right hand, which ‘Vandetta’ struggled to land consistently in the Octagon.

Even though Wood peaks below the Top 10, he has more than proven his ability to handle Morales level fighters. In short, he rips off the latter’s legs and dominates him on the mat for either a wide decision or a late stoppage.

Prediction: Wood via second-round submission

There are three more UFC London “Prelims” undercard fights left to preview and predict, including the Octagon debut of 21-year-old phenom Muhammad Mokaev. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.

remember that will provide live, round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC London fight card right herestarting with the ESPN+ “Preliminary” matches, which are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining balance on the main card (also on ESPN+) at 4 p.m. ET.

For all the latest and greatest news and notes from UFC London: ‘Volkov vs Aspinall’, be sure to check out our full event archive here.