MMA heads across the pond this weekend to London for a packed card at the O2. The main event features a clash of top-10 heavyweights as Manchester’s Tom Aspinall faces Marcin Tybura.
After a disastrous knee injury in his first fight against Curtis Blaydes, Aspinall is back and looking to make a big statement on Saturday night. A win here could place him right back in the title mix.
Tom Aspinall came out firing in his first fight back from a knee injury, rocking Marcin Tybura with a head kick to start and then dropping him with punches as the Pole struggled to hold his ground. It took less than a minute for referee Marc Goddard to step in and stop the fight.
Aspinall looked like a future heavyweight contender in his return, showing the crisp striking and submission skills that have made him a top-15 contender. He enters this weekend’s show as a heavy favorite against a Tybura that feels like a layup on paper.
The Manchester area fighter was on a roll as he headed into his bout with Blaydes, winning nine of his past 10 fights and scoring six finishes in that span. But the knee injury to his left leg in that fight put a huge dent in his progression, and his status as a top-15 contender.
His return to the octagon on Saturday should give him some momentum, and he has a good chance to reclaim his place in the top 15. This will be his second appearance at the O2, and Aspinall is coming in as one of the highest-ranked fighters on the card, ahead of the likes of Nathanial Wood and Andre Fili.
Aspinall’s biggest challenge this weekend will be staying healthy, as he looks to rebound from his recent knee injury. The fight with Tybura will be his third in four weeks, and the last time he fought so frequently was when he was making a run towards the title picture.
In the meantime, he’s been doing his best to stay busy while healing. He’s also been showcasing his impressive wrestling ability, with a 79% takedown defense.
A stout defensive wrestler, Tybura tends to stay chest to chest with his opponents and then work for level changes. He doesn’t have the same offensive submission skill as Aspinall, but he is a stout grappler that has stopped most of his rivals from scoring a knockout with their wrestling.
Both of these men are capable of finishing the fight in the first round, but it’ll likely come down to which one can stay healthy and on their feet. Aspinall is a much more athletic and explosive fighter, while Tybura can be a bit of a glass cannon in his fighting style. That’s why it’ll be fascinating to see if Aspinall can avoid the knockout and instead score a finish with his superiority on the ground. This is a fight that’s well worth watching.
The UFC’s Fight Night brand continues to play a vital role in the promotion’s ecosystem. The series is often the first step for fighters who hope to one day book a bigger-paycheck PPV event. As such, the series typically features a mixture of top-15 stars and great fighters who are one win away from joining the elite club.
The latest edition of the series takes place this Saturday, when the promotion returns to London for an event headlined by a heavyweight battle between ranked veterans Tom Aspinall and Marcin Tybura. Tybura is the more established of the two fighters, having compiled an 11-6 record at the top-level and claiming wins over some of the division’s biggest names.
Aspinall, meanwhile, is the younger and faster fighter in this matchup. He made his UFC debut in July 2020 and quickly became a fan favorite with his combination of speed, athleticism and expert knowledge across several different disciplines. He has stopped four of his five opponents and earned performance bonuses in all but one of his fights to date.
However, Aspinall was forced to pull out of his last outing due to a torn MCL. His return against Tybura is seen as a crucial test for the Englishman to prove he has overcome the injury and can continue to ride his momentum up towards a potential title shot.
While Tybura’s career was starting to look like it could be heading down the journeyman route, he has rebounded strongly with a seven-fight winning streak including three victories over ranked opponents. The Pole’s only loss during this run came to former champion Fabricio Werdum in his most recent outing, and he is expected to move within striking distance of a ranked title shot if he wins this fight.
Both fighters are expected to offer a good showcase of their skills in this fight, but it is likely that Tybura will have the better gas tank and be able to maintain his advantage beyond the first round. This makes him an intriguing live bet after Round 1 at a slightly more enticing price than his pre-fight moneyline, especially if Aspinall struggles with his cardio early on.
Elsewhere on the card, strawweight queen Zhang Weili defends her title for the first time in her second reign as she takes on fast-rising Brazilian star Amanda Lemos. Also in action will be veteran Rob Font, Marlon Vera and Gerald Meerschaert while flyweights Molly McCann and Julija Stoliarenko square off in a battle of up-and-coming stars. The entire event will air live on BT Sport in the UK and on ESPN+ in the US. For more information on how to stream the show click here. The prelims begin at 5pm BST on Saturday, with the main event kicking off at 8pm BST.
Tom Aspinall is a heavyweight that seems poised to rise up the rankings, but he’ll need to show his best against one of the most veteran names in the division this weekend. The Englishman returns to the octagon after his knee injury forced him out of a fight with Curtis Blaydes, and he’ll try to get back on track against Marcin Tybura in London on Saturday.
Tybura has 17 UFC fights under his belt and has been incredibly efficient since entering the promotion in 2016. The 37-year-old possesses solid grappling skills and is a tough customer in the clinch. He’s also a dangerous striker that can take down opponents and finish them in the opening round.
Despite his relative experience, Tybura is still a long way off from being considered a top-tier opponent. He has a lot of room for improvement and is not as good as his current reputation suggests. Tybura has a decent chin and is capable of grinding down opponents, but he can be hittable when the competition is at his level.
Aspinall, on the other hand, is a true elite talent that should be able to overwhelm his opponent with skill and speed. He’s a highly skilled grappler that has shown impressive submission work, including a heel hook in his last fight. He’s also a very potent striker that can take down his opponents in the opening rounds with quick, effective combinations.
If Aspinall can put Tybura in a vulnerable position early, he should be able to rack up another first-round finish this weekend. The only question is whether he can do it in the same fashion that he did in his last fight against Alexander Volkov.
Aspinall should be the more aggressive fighter in the first five to seven minutes, and his gas tank is likely to allow him to extend that advantage into the second round as well. If he can do so, he’ll have the opportunity to turn this into a back-and-forth affair and possibly steal a decision win in a close contest. If he can’t, it could be the end of his run in the upper mid-card. To see all of SportsLine’s MMA predictions for UFC Fight Night, sign up for a free account. You’ll also get detailed picks for every event on the card from an MMA expert who profited more than $6,200 in 2022. Click here now to join. We’ll also provide our picks for the co-main event between Joshua Culibao and Lerone Murphy. You won’t find these picks anywhere else. This is the only place to get MMA predictions from a team that has a proven track record of success. Then stick around for our best MMA betting lines and odds for the entire card. We’ll have more updates on this fight throughout the week, so be sure to check back in before you make your MMA picks.