1) Heavyweight Title Eliminator
Following the record third straight title defense for champion Stipe Miocic and the recent rise of multiple promising contenders, the heavyweight division is as exciting as ever. In the main event, Saturday between former champion Fabricio Werdum and highly touted newcomer Alexander Volkov, the next opponent for Miocic (or if the UFC world really goes crazy, Daniel Cormier) will surely be the man whose hand is raised.
Kicking off his UFC career with three high profile wins over Timothy Johnson, Roy Nelson, and Stefan Struve, the lanky Russian will look to ride the momentum and pick apart Werdum on the feet. His striking is crisp and has a real bite to it, but the relentlessness with which Volkov throws and his elite conditioning for the division are what could find him the victory.
Let’s not forget that Fabricio lost his belt very quickly when he chased after Stipe with reckless abandon and was met by a devastating check right hook that put him to sleep. Maybe it was the incredible atmosphere of fighting for the first time as a champion in front of a roaring home Brazilian crowd? Regardless, the Werdum fighting Volkov is an exponentially better Werdum than the one that lost the belt. There have been vast improvements in his striking. Look for him to implement it to close the distance and take the tall Alexander to the mat.
2) There Will Be Toe To Toe Battles
There are many matchups on this card top to bottom with dangerous and talented strikers pitted against each other. There are too many examples on this card, so let’s just look at a few of the best.
Jimi Manuwa returns after getting beat up by Volkan Oezdemir. He is still an extremely dangerous striker with one punch power. Jimi will take on Jan Blachowicz, who has shown improvement, but struggled to get a win streak going. With two wins under his belt, look for Jan to do whatever it takes to win a third, or wake up wondering where he is.
Coming off of two wins on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Charles Byrd will make his big stage octagon debut in London. His fight should prove to be very wild when his threatening striking meets newcomer John Phillips, who is making his UFC debut after four straight knockouts in other promotions.
3) Close Matchups
As always, Sean Shelby has set up some razor thin bouts. This card is not going to be a betting man’s friend. Most notable can’t miss fights include Stevie Ray vs Kajan Johnson, Danny Roberts vs Oliver Enkamp, and Tom Duquesnoy vs Terrion Ware.
Probably the best matchup and possible fight of the night will take place between Leon Edwards and Peter Sobotta. Edwards is on a four-fight win streak and has a beautiful flow to his technical striking and uses that to string together takedowns. Peter Sobotta has won four out of his last five and brings a warrior mentality into every fight. Expect Peter to try and stuff takedowns from Leon and land a devastating power combination.
4) Earlier Than Usual
Maybe the feeling is unshared, but I find myself wishing UFC cards would start a bit earlier so I don’t find myself fighting to keep my eyes open for the main event. If you share this desire, UFC London is for you, because it’s running from about 1:45 in the afternoon till about 7:00, leaving you plenty of time to drink your green beer! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
5) UFC Fight Pass
If you’ve read this article, let alone stuck it out to read this far, you are a real UFC fan. Trust me, I’m getting no compensation for promoting Fight Pass, but as a true fan, I highly recommend it.
There are early fights in every event that you are missing if you don’t have it. The library of past events is amazing, and wonderful for researching. There’s more than just UFC too. Cage Warriors, Glory Kickboxing, Invicta, and so many more.
Maybe I’m on a different nerdy level of MMA love all my own, but if there’s anyone out there who shares my can’t miss a fight mentality, UFC Fight Pass is your answer.