UFC London proved to be one of the most entertaining events in recent UFC history, with some even claiming it to be the best non-PPV event ever. With such big fights on the card, here are five fights that need to happen as a result of the winners of UFC London.
5 Must Make Fights after UFC London
Tom Aspinall vs Tai Tuivasa
Tom Aspinall demonstrated exactly why he is a force to be reckoned with on Saturday night, running through Alexander Volkov like no one has managed to do before. In his post fight interview with Michael Bisping, Aspinall issued a call out to current #3 ranked heavyweight Tai Tuivasa. This would be an intriguing match up and would no doubt draw some serious eyes to the sport with both fighters experiencing a surge in popularity.
Indeed it is hard to imagine that a win over Tuivasa would not propel Aspinall into the title picture. Tuivasa himself called out former champion Stipe Miocic after his recent knockout win over Derrick Lewis, but with Miocic yet to respond to the challenge and possibly holding out for a fight with Jon Jones or an immediate rematch with Francis Ngannou, Tuivasa will need another fight to consolidate his place as a top-5 heavyweight. This fight can only benefit both parties.
Arnold Allen vs Calvin Kattar
The featherweight title picture is in a weird spot at the moment. With champion Alexander Volkanovski set to defend his belt against the Korean Zombie, Chan-Sung-Jung it is hard to imagine a scenario where Max Holloway does not fight for the belt if Volkanovski wins or Volkanovski is granted an immediate rematch if he his beaten and of course Holloway will still be in the picture as will be the ever lurking Brian Ortega.
So in order for Arnold Allen to break into the title conversation, he will have to gain victories over established featherweights. essentially he has to beat the best of the rest. While Dan Hooker is by far the most prominent name Allen has beaten, “The Hangman” had not fought at featherweight since 2016.
A win over Hooker does indeed increase Allen’s popularity and reputation but does not necessarily ensure that be breaks into the top-5. However, a win over Calvin Kattar would do exactly that. Kattar had impressed at featherweight and attempted to launch himself into title contention, fighting Max Holloway in the beginning of last year, but he was thoroughly beaten. Kattar recently demolished Giga Chikadze and firmly established himself as one of the top featherweights in the promotion. A win for Allen over the likes of Kattar would undoubtedly allow him to break into the upper echelons of the division.
Paddy Pimblett vs Ilia Topuria
This fight surely makes itself, as the pair of lightweight young guns developed bad blood in their pre-fight altercation to their respective bouts at UFC London. While Paddy Pimblett has made it clear that he is unwilling to fight a top-15 opponent based on his current contract, Topuria is barely in the top-15 in featherweight and is currently unranked at lightweight. A fight against the Georgian would undoubtedly be a step up in competition for the Liverpudlian; however, if Pimblett wishes to be seen as a legitimate prospect at lightweight soon he will have to start picking up victories over fighters the standard of Topuria.
For Pimblett, this fight could silence the naysayers and show that “The Baddy” is capable of picking up victories over highly regarded competition. With Dana White recently commenting over the draw of Paddy the Baddy, it is not hard to imagine that Paddy may receive a new contract sooner rather than later. This would only accelerate the making of this fight. A win for Paddy legitimizes him as a fighter in the UFC and the storyline going into it will only increase investment from the wider audience. A win win scenario.
Gunnar Nelson vs Santiago Ponzinibbio
Gunnar Nelson‘s return to the Octagon could not have gone any better as he pulled off an emphatic unanimous decision win over Takashi Sato. Nelson scored a 10-8 round and never looked to be in any trouble throughout the fight. Formerly a top-15 welterweight before his extended hiatus, Nelson has fought the best the division has had to offer and not looked out of place. Nelson is obviously a top-15 level fighter and will be looking for a fight to get himself a number beside his name. A fight with Santiago Ponzinibbio would do just that. Currently sitting at number 14 in the rankings, the Argentinian is currently coming off of a loss to Geoff Neal last December.
A further reason for Nelson to receive this fight is the controversial manner in which the first fight ended. A KO win for Pozinibbio, the achievement is marred in controversy as Nelson is the victim of an obvious eye poke immediately before the finish. The poke generated much controversy at the time and if Nelson wished to pursue this match up, provides the perfect narrative to warrant a rematch.
Sergei Pavlovich vs loser of Rozenstruik/Tybura
The other heavyweight showdown at UFC London showed the emergence of another heavyweight prospect, Sergei Pavlovich. In a division desperately crying out for some younger faces the arrival of the likes of Aspinall and Pavlovich is a blessing for the heavyweight division. The Russian fighter put on a dominant performance this Saturday against veteran Shamil Aburakhimov.
An obvious connection would be to put the winner Pavlovich against the loser Volkov; however, Volkov would be too steep a jump in competition for Sergei. A loss would utterly derail any momentum he has managed to generate after a promotional debut to Alistair Overeem. With this in mind, a match up against either Jairzinho Rozenstruik or Marcin Tybura would be a good fight for Pavlovich. Both men are established top 10 heavyweights, fighting the loser of this contest would allow Pavlovich to add another established name to his resume as well as gaining valuable experience in the Octagon before taking on the big dogs of the division.
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