Curtis Blaydes vs Tom Aspinall at UFC Fight Night 208
CURTIS BLAYDES VS TOM ASPINALL FACTS
When is UFC London? Sunday 23rd July 2022 – 18:00 start (UK)
Where is UFC London? The O2 Arena, London (UK)
Where can I get tickets for UFC London? Click ere to buy tickets for UFC London
What channel is UFC London on? BT Sport 1
Where can I stream UFC London? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website
For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ and you can sign up for access as part of a Disney Bundle here!
CURTIS BLAYDES VS TOM ASPINALL LOWDOWN
Curtis Blaydes (16-3(1)) is still on his quest for a first shot at gold. He is doing everything right, just falling at the final hurdle and those hurdles have been two of the deadliest knockout artists in combat sport. Ngannou switched the lights off in 2016 and again in 2018. After that, he put his best ever run together outpointing Justin Willis (2019), knocking out Shamil Abdurakhimov (2019) and Junior dos Santos (2020) before outpointing Alexander Volkov (2020). However, he then ran into Derrick Lewis’ (2021) uppercut to suffer his third knockout loss. As you would expect, he has rallied since outpointing Jairzinho Rozenstruik (2021) and TKO’d Chris Daukaus (2020) to set up a potential number one contender clash.
This is the biggest test of Tom Aspinall’s (12-2) career. The Brit has not put a foot wrong since joining the UFC and has looked in a league of his own earning four ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses out of his five UFC fights. He knocked out Jake Collier (2020) and Alan Baudot (2020) before submitting Andrei Arlovski (2021) and notched up his ninth knockout when he met Sergey Spivak (2021). That set up his first headliner against Volkov back in March and rose to the occasion with panache submitting the Russian in the first round.
CURTIS BLAYDES VS TOM ASPINALL PREDICTION
It is no secret that Blaydes’ wrestling will be the key here and it is his improved striking that will be able to unlock Aspinall’s takedown defence. In his fight with Lewis, he was expected to get the fight to the ground as soon as possible however, he stood for the first round and was even getting the better of the knockout king. It was when he shot in for a predictable takedown, he got flatlined.
Aspinall does not possess the same knockout power, but his speed will make up for it. He has the speed of a middleweight, effortlessly stringing combinations together while backing his movement to stay out of danger, so Blaydes needs to respect his hands in the same way.
Aspinall is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has efficient offensive wrestling, but his defence has barely been tested and he cannot afford to let Blaydes get on top of him with some of the most devastating ground-and-pound in the game. The Brit will be aware of this, so Blaydes needs to be very deliberate with his set-ups.
The American will no doubt respect his striking and jiu-jitsu, but Aspinall has to respect the striking and cardio of Blaydes. Aspinall is on a different level on the feet, but so was dos Santos who underestimated him and got caught clean. The Brit also has to be prepared 25 minutes of grappling. He is an athlete, but he has never gone past the second round whereas Blaydes is built for long-term suffocation.
A number of outcomes are possible here. We can see Aspinall finding an early or late knockout/submission sparked by rocking Blaydes with his speed. We can also see Blaydes weather the early storm to grind out a decision with his wrestling or even find a TKO himself with ground-and-pound.
That said, Aspinall continues to improve drastically and will have the familiarity of headlining a London card with the whole of the O2 Arena behind him. We expect Blaydes to grab a hold of him at some point, but we are backing Aspinall to create enough space to overwhelm Blaydes with his speed, breaking him down and finding his damaged chin with a flurry of combos.