The UFC Apex in Enterprise, Nevada is bracing itself for a British invasion on Saturday night, as the latest Fight Night card carries a great deal of domestic interest. Originally planned as a London event, instead some of the UK’s top MMA talent will be fighting in the Las Vegas valley on what looks to be a potentially great night of action. Confirming Liverpool as the epicentre of UK MMA, four scouse talents will be fighting on the card.
Darren Till vs Derek Brunson
Former UFC Welterweight title challenger Till is having his third fight since returning to middleweight. He has had a mixed time back at 185Ib, picking up a split decision over Kelvin Gastelum, before losing a unanimous nod to Robert Whittaker in his previous outing. With Whittaker’s two subsequent wins taking him to the top of the middleweight rankings, Till’s loss was far from a disaster. Fighting the in-form Brunson presents an excellent chance to re-establish himself in the division.
Brunson is looking to win his fifth fight in a row, and has not lost since a 2018 defeat to current UFC Middleweight king Israel Adesanya. At 37 years old, the veteran southpaw is enjoying a career revival that has seen him reach fifth in the UFC rankings. A rematch with old foe Adesanya beckons, but Till is the most robust challenge he has faced since that defeat. Look for him to try and grind down the Scouser with his wrestling, while Till will look to find openings to land strikes.
Tom Aspinall vs Sergey Spivak
Exciting heavyweight Tom Aspinall looks to continue his run of three wins since debuting in the Octagon. Aspinall came through the rite of passage every emerging heavyweight faces in beating Andrei Arlovski last time out, netting a Performance Of The Night bonus in the process. Tom has spent some time as a pro boxer in the past, and carries significant power into the cage.
He faces a man in decent form, as Spivak is coming off a three-right winning streak. A late replacement for Sergei Pavlovich, Spivak is an effective wrestler, and has the tools to grind Aspinall down. However, the 12-2 Liverpudlian should have enough power and hand speed to walk out with another win.
Paddy Pimblett vs Luigi Vendramini
It has felt like a Pimblett UFC debut has been rumoured for almost as long as he has been fighting, and finally ‘The Baddy’ makes his Octagon bow. Pimblett turned down two previous offers from the company, wanting to sharpen his game before joining the world’s biggest MMA promotion. While his usual noisy local following will not be in attendance, Paddy is still aiming to impress now he finally feels ready for the big dance.
With all due respect, Vendramini looks a level below Pimblett. His last UFC performance saw him start too late and drop a decision to Fares Ziam. This night has been a longtime coming for Pimblett, and he should have enough to impress in his UFC opener.
Molly McCann vs Ji Yeon Kim
‘Meatball’ was riding high after an unbeaten 2019, racking up three wins along the way. 2020 treated McCann about as well as it treated the rest of the planet, as she suffered a brace of losses. Often undone by wrestling, McCann is surely glad to be facing an opponent who is all about stand-up.
Both fighters will look to engage with strikes, and while neither carries concussive power, it should make for an interesting match-up. Kim is sometimes too cautious, relying heavily on waiting for opportunities to counter-punch. If ‘Meatball’ can control the action, she should do enough to win by decision.