UFC London results: Paddy Pimblett and Tom Aspinall star on monumental night for UK MMA

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Paddy Pimblett (right) and fellow Liverpudlian Molly McCann, who also won in London (PA)
Paddy Pimblett (right) and fellow Liverpudlian Molly McCann, who also won in London (PA)

There must have been something in the air at the O2 Arena on Saturday night, where UFC London marked perhaps the most significant night in the history of UK mixed martial arts.

Of the 12 bouts scheduled for the first edition of the event since 2019, 10 featured British fighters. Seven of those combatants were victorious in the English capital, with six winning via stoppage. Five of those finishes came in the first round, while the other was an early contender for knockout of the year.

In the main event on Saturday, Wigan heavyweight Tom Aspinall made a mockery of Alexander Volkov’s vast advantages in experience and height, submitting the Russian with a straight arm lock in the first round after exhibiting sharp skills in striking exchanges, too.

The result marked Aspinall’s eighth straight win and eighth straight finish, keeping him unbeaten in the UFC and on course to fulfil predictions that he is a champion in waiting.

Aspinall’s victory followed a co-main event that many had predicted would be fight of the night, and indeed the featherweight clash between Arnold Allen and Dan Hooker delivered in the brief period that it lasted.

Arnold Allen celebrates the biggest victory of his career, against Dan Hooker (PA)
Arnold Allen celebrates the biggest victory of his career, against Dan Hooker (PA)

Ipswich fighter Allen announced himself to the world by securing a TKO victory over fan favourite Dan Hooker in the first round, forcing the referee to step in by melting the New Zealander with a fierce flurry of punches against the fence. Prior to the finish, Arnold had dealt significant damage to Hooker – who was returning to 145lbs from lightweight – but also survived an apparent moment of trouble caused by a stiff punch from the “Hangman”. Allen somehow got right back to throwing punches, however, and a one-two gave way to a head kick that initiated the finishing sequence.

Allen finishes Hooker with a series of punches against the fence (PA)
Allen finishes Hooker with a series of punches against the fence (PA)

Allen’s win followed the people’s main event, which saw rising star Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett bewitch those present at the O2 Arena. After the 27-year-old’s captivating walkout, the atmosphere felt like that of a title fight. The Liverpudlian lightweight was knocked down by Rodrigo Vargas almost immediately, but he rallied to take down the Mexican and submit him with a rear naked choke later in the first round.

“I’m never, ever, ever, ever in a boring fight, lad,” Pimblett said after his victory – his second in the UFC, with his promotional debut last year also ending via first-round stoppage. “That was only about a five or 6/10. He caught me with a nice punch, I failed with the first takedown attempt. He did land a punch...

“See this arena, the O2? Too small, too small. Give me a stadium, get us to Anfield...”

Pimblett and Molly McCann celebrate, both having won via stoppage (Getty Images)
Pimblett and Molly McCann celebrate, both having won via stoppage (Getty Images)

Earlier in the evening, Pimblett’s fellow Liverpudlian Molly McCann – who joined the “Baddy” in the Octagon for his celebrations – impressed in her flyweight bout against Luana Carolina, before crumpling the Brazilian with a spinning back elbow in the third round. The finish sent the O2 into raptures, in a moment to rival Pimblett’s win later in the night.

In the prelims, Scotland’s Paul Craig achieved a first-round submission win against Nikita Krylov, surviving heavy ground and pound from the Ukrainian to get the victory with a triangle submission – marking the “Bearjew”’s fourth stoppage win in a row.

And in the very first fight of the night, Muhammad Mokaev’s UFC debut ended within 58 seconds, as the Dagestani-born Mancunian dropped Cody Durden with a jumping knee then submitted the American with a guillotine choke. The result saw Mokaev remain unbeaten, his record improving to 6-0.

At the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White said the event had marked the “biggest gate ever in O2 history [for a sports event]” and the “biggest ever in Fight Night history”. Every fighter who won via stoppage received a performance bonus, White also said.

Full results

Tom Aspinall celebrates his main-event submission of Alexander Volkov (Action Images via Reuters)
Tom Aspinall celebrates his main-event submission of Alexander Volkov (Action Images via Reuters)

Main Card

Tom Aspinall def. Alexander Volkov via first-round submission (straight arm lock, 3:45)

Arnold Allen def. Dan Hooker via first-round TKO (punches, 2:33)

Paddy Pimblett def. Rodrigo Vargas via first-round submission (rear naked choke, 3:49)

Gunnar Nelson def. Takashi Sato via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Molly McCann def. Luana Carolina via third-round KO (spinning back elbow, 1:52)

Ilia Topuria def. Jai Herbert via first-round KO (punch, 1:07)

Prelims

Makwan Amirkhani def. Mike Grundy via first-round submission (anaconda choke, 0:57)

Sergei Pavlovich def. Shamil Abdurakhimov via first-round TKO (punches, 4:03)

Paul Craig def. Nikita Krylov via first-round submission (triangle choke, 3:57)

Jack Shore def. Timur Valiev via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)

Elise Reed def. Cory McKenna via split decision (27-20, 29-28, 29-28)

Muhammad Mokaev def. Cody Durden via first-round submission (guillotine choke, 0:58)

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