UFC London: What Fights Should Be On The Card
By Jack Maher
The UFC’s schedule for next year is slowly coming together, and with that the promotion have announced a date for next year for the capital of England on March 21st.
The annual trips to London are a date British fight fans all look forward to as it gives them a chance to see some of the best British fighters, as well as some other European favourites showcase their skills on UK soil.
Fighters like Darren Till, Molly McCann, Jack Shore, Nathaniel Wood, and many more are all natural fits for the event, so let’s look at what an ideal UFC London main card could look like:
Wood vs Font
Many fighters struggle with the initial jump up from domestic competition to the UFC, but the aforementioned Wood has done no such thing.
The London bantamweight has looked comfortable in the deeper waters of the worlds biggest MMA promotion, and is 3-0 in the UFC.
Some fans will feel that Wood is ready to take on the big fish of the division, but there’s no reason to rush ‘The Prospect’. An opponent like Rob Font would be ideal for Wood, as he is a notable step up from Wood’s previous competition, and acts as a good bridge between the fringe contenders and the divisions best.
Font is a veteran and has only lost to elite opposition since joining the UFC, and currently occupies the #10 spot in the bantamweight rankings. Wood is renowned for his toughness and finishing ability, while all but one of Font’s UFC wins have come by stoppage, this makes for a brilliant style clash and would be a great main card opener.
Allen vs Burgos
Another highly touted British prospect undefeated in the UFC, Arnold Allen is starting to make waves in the featherweight division, and now finds himself ranked #14 in the division at just 25 years old.
Another fighter looking to break in the upper echelons of the featherweight division is ‘Hurricane’ Shane Burgos. The 28 year old New Yorker’s recent exciting wins have seen him climb up to the #11 spot in the featherweight rankings, going 5-1 in the UFC so far.
Both fighters are exciting young prospects on the cusp of something big in the featherweight division, so it only makes sense to put them against each other to find out who the best prospect in what is a crowded division.
Roberts vs Dalby
Always an entertaining fighter to watch, Danny Roberts recorded an epic KO win in his last fight, and after being on the losing end of his two previous fights it’s good to see that ‘Hot Chocolate’s confidence hasn’t wavered.
A fun matchup for Roberts would be Nicolas Dalby, who was successful in his return to the UFC earlier this year.
One of Europe’s best, Dalby is looking to fight the wrongs of his first UFC stint, rejoining the promotion after a successful spell in Cage Warriors. Both men seemingly don’t know what it means to be in a boring fight, so pairing them together makes for a blink and you’ll miss it type of fight.
McCann vs VanZant
Two quality fighters who’ve had different paths in life, Molly McCann vs Paige Vanzant could have all the makings of a classic.
McCann has stuck close to her working class routes despite her octagon success, and her nickname ‘Meatball’ is in reference to her time spent as a Subway worker.
While Vanzant’s life in recent years has been glitz and glamour outside of the cage, her appearances on American television and modelling gigs shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of dedication or toughness.
Both have overcome hardships in their lives and careers to get where they are today, and are deserving of a main card spot.
The women’s flyweight division gets more competitive by the day, and these two fan favourites will be eager to prove that they deserve to keep moving with the division.
Edwards vs Maia
Fingertips away from a title shot, Leon Edwards will feel hard done by to not already be challenging for UFC gold as the Birmingham welterweight is on an 8 fight win streak and has notable wins against Donald Cerrone, Rafael Dos Anjos and Gunnar Nelson.
A win over a veteran like Damian Maia will surely be the leave the matchmakers no other option. Maia is one of the greatest Jiu-Jitsu practitioners to ever compete inside the octagon, so Edwards will need to remain switched on to avoid ending up in a precarious situation on the ground.
Maia has won his last three and a win over Edwards would assert him back in to title contention at the age of 42. This would be a great co-main event for UFC London, and would lead in brilliantly to the main event.
Till vs Whittaker
In my opinion this is the perfect main event for the O2. Till is the biggest UK MMA fighter right now and is the natural fit for the main event slot. ‘The Gorilla’ has exchanged verbals with former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker on social media, with both men seemingly eager to fight each other.
Whittaker lost the middleweight championship to Israel Adesanya in his last outing, and will be eager for an opportunity to avenge that loss, and a win over Till would put him in pole position to do that.
Till likewise is also eyeing up a fight with Adesanya, and a win over the former champ would make Till 2-0 since moving up from welterweight. A true fifty-fifty between two strikers, Till vs Whittaker is the main event to make.