The UFC returns to London, England, with another card filled with English talent headlined by Tom Aspinall -476 taking on Marcin Tybura +330 at Heavyweight. I went over every fight on the card and gave my predictions and best bets, so let's get into it.
Odds Provided by Stake.com Accurate as of 7/19/2023 1:00 PM EST
A familiar face to the London crowd headlines again at Heavyweight. Tom Aspinall is very fast for his size, both with his hands and movement in general; he overwhelms opponents on the feet and also has a strong wrestling attack. Marcin Tybura is a tough veteran who has been on a nice run lately, although he has not been competing with top competition outside of his bout with Alexander Volkov, which he lost.
I believe Aspinall makes quick work of this fight as the much younger and more athletic guy, he will put pressure on Tybura from the bell, and I’m not sure he’ll last very long.
Pick: Aspinall O/U: Under 1.5 -175
Clash of styles in our Flyweight co-main event featuring the return of a hometown hero. Molly McCann has a fan-pleasing style with forward motion and solid boxing, although her grappling has always been her weak point. Julija Storliarenko is an armbar specialist, with that being the way she earns most of her victories, although she lacks much roundedness to her game with glaring holes if the grappling doesn’t work.
I’ll pick McCann here as every fight starts on the feet, and as long as she is aware of the armbar, she should be able to defend it and dominate this fight standing.
Pick: McCann O/U: Under 2.5 -152
Fast hands will be on display here at Featherweight. Nathaniel Wood looked tremendous in his first fight since moving up against Charles Jourdain, where he showed his crisp boxing against a high-level striker. Andre Fili is a solid veteran who has competed with many of the division's big names using his smooth striking and underrated ground game.
At these odds, I’ll take Fili as he should have the size advantage, which I expect to play a factor in the grappling, and if this comes down to a close decision as I expect, I’d rather have the underdog.
Pick: Fili O/U: Over 2.5 -233
A new face enters the Middleweight division, in this grappler’s delight. Andre Muniz looks to bounce back from his first UFC loss here after being able to use his submission grappling to dominate each of his opponents until Brendan Allen was able to negate that. Paul Craig moves down in weight here looking for new life; his grappling was very high level at Light Heavyweight, although he has also been submitted, and his striking is very awkward.
This fight is tough to see playing out as I’m not sure how much they will test the grappling against each other, but either way, I do favor Muniz as I believe he has better hands and a slight advantage on the ground.
Pick: Muniz O/U: Over 1.5 -123
Long Lightweights kickboxers out of Europe faceoff here. Jai Herbert is a kickboxer who has wowed the London crowd before with his near upset over Ilia Topuria, where he showed his power and range management, although it was not the only time he has been finished by knockout. Fares Ziam is also a kickboxer who came into the UFC very young and has shown solid potential with good striking and an improved ground game that he showed against Michal Figlak.
I took Ziam at an early number as I believe he is the rightful favorite here, with him being much younger and showing a lot of improvements in his last fight.
Pick: Ziam O/U: Under 2.5 +123
Bright Featherweight prospect gets the spotlight in this one opening the main card in his home country. Lerone Murphy is a sharp and powerful striker who has proven he can take a shot and keep a high pace, although his wrestling has been a weak point, with him having been taken down multiple times in his UFC career already. Josh Culibao is a well-rounded and durable guy who got the submission his last time out over Melsik Baghdasaryan, his wrestling is alright, but I feel he can be beaten with physicality.
I’ll pick Murphy here as I think he will be doing more damage here, and if he can keep this fight standing, he should have a clear advantage.
Pick: Murphy O/U: Under 2.5 +150
Veteran vs. prospect clash here at Bantamweight. Davey Grant is a gritty striker who has served as a solid litmus test for up-and-comers in the past; he comes into this one off a wild comeback over Raphael Assuncao, earning a final-minute finish. Daniel Marcos is an undefeated power striker coming off a very impressive debut where he dominated Saimon Oliveira, showing a diverse offensive attack and good grappling defense.
I like Marcos and will pick him here, but he has yet to see anything really close to this level of competition, making me hesitant to bet on him here.
Pick: Marcos O/U: Over 2.5 -141
Welterweights who like to put on entertaining fights look to do so again in this one. Danny Roberts is a veteran striker looking to get back on track after a tough assignment against Jack Della Maddalena last time out. Johnny Parsons is a tough kickboxer who likes to blast his rear leg; he is returning here off a long layoff since his Contender Series win over Solomon Renfro.
It’s hard to trust either of these guys, but I think Parsons is more durable and throws with more power, so I’ll lean with him to get the knockout.
Pick: Parsons O/U: Under 2.5 -156
Lightweights with lots of potential matchup here on the cusp of the rankings in a pivotal clash. Marc Diakiese has grown a lot in the UFC from a flashy kickboxer to a well-rounded mixed martial artist whose wrestling may have even become his best asset, although he has remained susceptible to the submission at times. Joel Alvarez is very tall for the division and throws hard shots with those long limbs, although he has been taken down repeatedly, with his main defense being a strong guillotine.
I’m taking Diakiese as the underdog here with his wrestling upside. I think he can win a decision here if he can avoid being submitted on his entries.
Pick: Diakiese O/U: Over 2.5 +140
Two of Dana White’s Contender Series products meet here at Heavyweight. Mick Parkin debuts here in his home country, having an unbeaten record full of quick finishes. Jamal Pogues is an athletic Heavyweight with quick hands and a good wrestling game for his size.
I’ve got Pogues in this one, as I think he will be able to extend this fight using his grappling, and he has much more experience in long fights.
Pick: Pogues O/U: Over 2.5 +103
Middleweight strikers throw down in this matchup. Bryan Barberena moves up in weight here as he looks to break his losing streak; he is a high-volume boxer with little regard for defense. Makhmud Muradov is a powerful striker who throws hard hooks, he has struggled of late, but that is in large part due to his grappling being his weak point.
I’m picking Muradov here as I give him the edge in power, and he will be bigger, although I do think Barberena has a chance to land some volume that could give him trouble.
Pick: Muradov O/U: Under 2.5 -112
Top ten Women’s Bantamweights meet in this high-stakes clash. Ketlen Viera is a strong boxer who throws heavy, although she can be out volumed and held in clinch positions. Pannie Kianzad is a kickboxer with a solid clinch game and knees that she uses to drain her opponent.
I think this fight is going to come down to a decision, so I’ll take the underdog in Kianzad, as she can use her clinch game and volume to win close rounds.
Pick: Kianzad O/U: Over 2.5 -333
Hard-hitting Lightweights meet here, looking to be the one who lands first. Chris Duncan broke into the UFC with a wild Contender Series comeback that simultaneously showed his powerful hands and questionable durability, although he showed an evolved wrestling game in his UFC debut against Omar Morales. Yanal Ashmouz returns to London after earning a huge upset victory with a first-round knockout in his debut; he is inexperienced leaving many questions about him still unanswered.
I lean toward Duncan here, but I really can’t trust his chin, especially against another power puncher like Ashmouz.
Pick: Duncan O/U: Under 2.5 -175
Strawweight prospects battle here to see who will take the next step in the division. Bruna Brasil is a striker with a hands-down style with lots of kicks; her wrestling is not great, but she is active off her back with get-ups and submission attempts. Shauna Bannon debuts here with an aggressive striking style and a solid ground-and-pound attack as well.
I’ll pick Bannon here as although Brasil has good technique, I give Bannon a power and aggression edge here also; she likely has the grappling upside.
Pick: Bannon O/U: Over 2.5 -263
Flyweights open the card in what should be a high pace clash. Jafel Filho is remembered by many for his deep kneebar attempt against Muhammad Mokaev, and beyond the impressive submission skills he showed there, he has good striking at distance. Daniel Barez is a finisher with power in his hands and a solid submission game; he had a wild fight on the Contender Series and has only had first-round finishes since.
I like Barez to get the finish in this one, as he has good submission defense and powerful striking to go with his own solid submission attack.
Pick: Barez O/U: Under 2.5 -122