Three new matchups are now expected for UFC’s return event to the O2 Arena in London, England. The recently reported fights join a card that is expected to take place on March 19th.
Hooker Set For Featherweight Return Against Allen
After a lengthy stint at lightweight, Dan Hooker will make the move down to featherweight to face prospect Arnold Allen. The fight was announced by the UFC on Monday.
Hooker started his UFC career as a featherweight but has spent his past 12 bouts up at the lightweight limit. He is making the move down after losing three of his past five to the top names at lightweight. His last appearance was in October when he lost a short-notice appearance to Islam Makhachev.
Prior defeats on Hooker’s record came against names like Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier.
Allen provides a tough test for Hooker’s return to featherweight.
Allen has yet to lose since joining the UFC roster and has picked up eight wins in the promotion. His last victory came in April 2021, when he beat Sodiq Yusuff via unanimous decision.
Veteran Nelson To Return Against Silva
Veteran Gunnar Nelson will return to action in March, facing Claudio Silva in a welterweight fight. News of the matchup was first reported by Alfredo Zullino.
Nelson will be attempting to break a two-fight losing skid for the first time in his pro career. He last fought in 2019, where he lost to high-up names Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns.
The fight in March will mark Nelson’s first appearance since crossing a decade-long anniversary with the UFC.
Silva is also coming off two consecutive losses, albeit they have been much more recent. He was defeated by veterans both times around, losing to James Krause in 2020 and Court McGee last year.
‘TUF’ Alum Sholinian To Face Wood
Nathaniel Wood will fight to return to the win column when facing Liudvik Sholinian on the card. The fight, which was first confirmed by Alfredo Zullino, was announced by the promotion Tuesday.
Sholinian fought on the most recent season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” where he was eliminated in the semi-finals. He was later given a UFC shot in September, stepping in to face undefeated prospect Jack Shore on short notice. Shore won that fight via unanimous decision.
Wood will be fighting for the first time in over a year. He took a loss last time around, dropping a unanimous decision to Casey Kenney in October 2020.
A heavyweight fight between Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall is currently set to headline UFC’s March 19th event. Here are the fights that have been reported for the card thus far:
Bout 8: Alexander Volkov (34-9) vs. Tom Aspinall (11-2) (Heavyweight)
Bout 7: Jake Hadley (8-0) vs. Francisco Figueiredo (12-4-1) (Flyweight)
Bout 6: Muhammad Mokaev (5-0) vs. Cody Durden (12-3-1) (Flyweight)
Bout 5: Mike Grundy (12-3) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (16-7) (Featherweight)
Bout 4: Paddy Pimblett (17-3) vs. Kazula Vargas (12-4) (Lightweight)
Bout 3: Arnold Allen (17-1) vs. Dan Hooker (21-11) (Featherweight)
Bout 2: Gunnar Nelson (17-5-1) vs. Claudio Silva (14-3) (Welterweight)
Bout 1: Nathaniel Wood (17-5) vs. Liudvik Sholinian (9-2-1) (Bantamweight)