Tom Aspinall’s first UFC loss seemingly came due to bad luck. The rising heavyweight lost his main event appearance on Saturday night against Curtis Blaydes in just 15 seconds, as a knee injury took him out of their fight.
The result headlined a UFC “Fight Night” card from the O2 Arena in London, England.
Aspinall collapsed to the canvas of the UFC cage early in the fight, clutching his right knee. He threw a kick to the thigh of Blaydes, then slipped and fell as his leg went back down onto the canvas. The fight was stopped immediately after.
The fight marked Aspinall’s first UFC loss through six appearances. He won in the main event of UFC’s O2 Arena card in March, submitting Alexander Volkov in the first round.
Blaydes mentioned afterward that he hoped the fight had gone longer so that they could both showcase their skills.
“It’s like we didn’t even fight […] I wanted to see who had better stuff. We didn’t get to see,” he said in his post-fight interview.
While the fight played out in a way that neither heavyweight wanted, it did earn Blaydes a win. He has now earned three consecutive victories in the heavyweight division.
Hermansson Out-Lands Curtis To Earn Victory
Jack Hermansson bounced back with a solid performance against Chris Curtis, out-landing him on the feet for three rounds to win via unanimous decision in Saturday’s co-main event.
Hermansson succeeded on his backfoot, staying out of range of Curtis’ striking but landing with his own kicks and straight punches.
The fight put Hermansson back into the win column after losing a five-round bout against Sean Strickland earlier this year.
Curtis took the fight on short notice, entering the card earlier this month to replace an injured Darren Till. The defeat put an end to his explosive start in the promotion, scoring a trio of wins from November 2021 to June.
Curtis’ prior appearance was a unanimous decision victory over Rodolfo Vieira last month.
Curtis was upset by Hermansson’s fighting style, expressing frustration after the fight ended.
Pimblett Submits Leavitt For Third UFC Win
Paddy Pimblett picked up his third UFC victory on Saturday night, using striking to open up a submission opportunity against Jordan Leavitt.
Pimblett got Leavitt to the ground with a clean knee to the head in a clinch position in the second round. On the ground, he secured a rear naked choke that allowed him to tap Leavitt out.
Leavitt was able to keep the fight in grappling exchanges for most of the first round. While Pimblett would likely prefer the battle to be on the feet, he was able to search for his own submissions and land strikes from these positions as well.
Pimblett had an emotional post-fight interview, revealing that he learned Friday that a close friend of his passed away due to suicide. Following his win, he urged those who “have weight on their shoulders” to talk to someone about it.
“I know I’d rather me mate [would] cry on my shoulder than go to his funeral next week,” he said in his post-fight interview.
Pimblett prevailed on UFC’s previous London show as well, submitting Kazula Vargas in the first round via rear naked choke.
Leavitt’s UFC record is now three wins and two losses in total.
Krylov Continues Gustafsson’s Losing Streak With Quick Finish
Nikita Krylov didn’t take long to put away veteran Alexander Gustafsson on Saturday night.
Krylov dropped Gustafsson with a left hook in a clinch position during the first round. He then followed up with ground and pound shots that caused their fight to end.
Krylov’s brief performance included a knockdown in the opening seconds of the bout as well, sparking Gustafsson with punches.
The fight put Krylov back into the win column after suffering a defeat against Paul Craig earlier this year.
The defeat on Saturday for Gustafsson continued a long stretch of trouble for him. The 35-year-old has gone winless in his last four fights, including appearances against Anthony Smith and Fabricio Werdum.
McCann Earns Another Finish At The O2
Molly McCann had another explosive victory on Saturday’s card, earning a first-round finish victory against Hannah Goldy.
McCann first stunned Goldy with an overhand right. She then followed up with an explosive spinning back elbow that landed clean. The fight finished with a few hooks from McCann that dropped Goldy and put an end to the fight.
McCann has now won two fights at the O2 Arena this year. Her previous victory was a late spinning back elbow in March against Luana Carolina.
Goldy was coming off an armbar victory from last year against Emily Whitmire. That bout remains her sole UFC win through four appearances.
Oezdemir Uses Striking To Defeat Craig
Volkan Oezdemir snapped a losing streak in the opening bout of the card, scoring a unanimous decision victory over Paul Craig.
Craig consistently tried to take the fight to the ground in all three rounds. Oezdemir followed him there a few times but mostly kept the battle on the feet, where he landed with strikes that earned him rounds on scorecards.
The fight earned Oezdemir his first win since 2019. His two previous bouts were losses to Jiri Prochazka and Magomed Ankalaev.
Craig had a strong four-fight winning streak going prior to this weekend, with all of the victories coming via finish.
The Rest of the Card
Short-notice fighter Ludovit Klein scored a win in the final prelim bout, defeating Mason Jones via unanimous decision. Jones’ UFC record is now one win, two losses and a no contest.
Marc Diakiese had a slow-paced, wrestling-heavy three-round performance against Damir Hadzovic to win on scorecards. Hadzovic has now lost three of his past five bouts.
Sharp striking from Nathaniel Wood caused damage to the face of Charles Rosa and chopped down his legs. But Rosa’s toughness caused the fight to go the distance, earning Wood a decision win.
Jonathan Pearce earned the first finish of the night against a tired Makwan Amirkhani, stopping him late in the second round with ground and pound shots.
Muhammad Mokaev’s aggressive wrestling style proved to be too much for former LFA Flyweight Champion Charles Johnson, who lost via unanimous decision. Mokaev now has an undefeated record of seven wins.
Kyle Nelson’s return was spoiled by Jai Herbert, who was able to prevail in a clinch-heavy battle via decision.
Victoria Leonardo kept Mandy Bohm winless through two UFC fights, working toward a unanimous decision victory.
Nicolas Dalby scored a decision win to kick off the card, controlling an early-fatiguing Claudio Silva for most of their fight.
Main Card (3:00PM EDT / 8:00PM BST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)
Bout 14: Curtis Blaydes def. Tom Aspinall via TKO, Injury (RD 1, 0:15)
Bout 13: Jack Hermansson def. Chris Curtis via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 12: Paddy Pimblett def. Jordan Leavitt via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 2:46)
Bout 11: Nikita Krylov def. Alexander Gustafsson via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 1:07)
Bout 10: Molly McCann def. Hannah Goldy via TKO, Strkes (RD 1, 3:52)
Bout 9: Volkan Oezdemir def. Paul Craig via Decision, Unanimous
Preliminary Card (12:00PM EDT / 5:00PM BST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)
Bout 8: Ludovit Klein def. Mason Jones via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 7: Marc Diakiese def. Damir Hadzovic via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 6: Nathaniel Wood def. Charles Rosa via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 5: Jonathan Pearce def. Makwan Amirkhani via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 4:10)
Bout 4: Muhammad Mokaev def. Charles Johnson via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 3: Jai Herbert def. Kyle Nelson via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 2: Victoria Leonardo def. Mandy Bohm via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 1: Nicolas Dalby def. Claudio Silva via Decision, Unanimous