3 Fights you can’t sleep on for UFC London

With the UFC returning to The O2 Arena for the first time since 2019, it is obviously stacked with British fighters from top to bottom which is a UK MMA fan’s dream. I am here to tell you what fights that shouldn’t be going under the radar ahead of the highly anticipated fight night in London.


Jai Herbert v Ilia Topuria

When Mike Davis pulled out of the fight v Jai Herbert in mid-January, step forward Ilia Topuria who was willing to make his debut at 155 to face off against the former Cage Warriors champion in his own country.

After pulling out of his fight v Charles Jourdain on the day of weigh-ins, Topuria has decided to take a fight a weight class above, however whether this is a permanent stay at 155 remains to be seen.

It doesn’t get any easier for Jai Herbert who has had an extremely tough start to his UFC career, facing the likes of Renato Moicano and Francisco Trinaldo.

This is his first fight in front of a crowd in the UFC. With it being in his home country, no one will want to make a bigger impact and maximise the potential than the Black Country Banger.

Stylistically this is an excellent match up, with ‘El Matador’ having knockout power with his brutal finish of Ryan Hall but is also a very slick Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player.

Jai Herbert will be wary of the threat of his Jiu-Jitsu game, having faced excellent Jiu-Jitsu players such as Renato Moicano in his previous UFC bouts. But the power of Herbert just is respected, especially of his finish of Karma Worthy.

This no doubt will be an excellent fight with 2 up and comers in the UFC, yet again showing excellent matchmaking from the UFC.

Jack Shore v Timur Valiev

The Tank is back once again and this time it is against Dagestan native Valiev. Shore will be looking to build on his win v Sholinian and increase his undefeated record to 16-0.

After original opponent Umar Nurmagomedov pulled out, there wouldn’t be many better replacements than Valiev who most recently put on a fight of the night vs Raoni Barcelos almost 9 months ago.

Shore, who will be making his first appearance in front of a UK crowd will be looking to make it 5 UFC wins in a row in a bid to be pushing for a top 15 spot, whilst proving why he is one of the best young guns and prospects in the UFC at only 27 years old.

The big question will be how Shore decides to approach the fight, he has excellent wrestling but is also very impressive on his feet, however, Valiev is very similar to Shore. This even match up makes it very hard to call on how the fight will go and who will decide to take charge.

Shore shows tremendous pressure to cut the cage off and forces his opponents to take backwards steps whilst ranging up his shots and there will always be the threat of the takedown which is always keeping his opponents on his toes.

This is definitely a fight you can’t sleep on, especially with both fighters pushing for a Top 15 spot.


Mike Grundy v Makwan Amirkhani

The bout that was originally booked for the cancelled UFC London in 2020 gets rebooked this time 2 years later. A match up with both fighters’ high wrestling pedigrees will provide a grappling enthusiast’s dream.

Mike Grundy got a bronze medal in the 2014 Commonwealth games with Great Britain and Amirkhani had much success in his native Finland with an Amateur Wrestling pedigree.

Amirkhani, who has faced a lot of fights v the Brits in his career, is looking to extend his good record v British fighters however in his last fight he came short due to a brutal knee from Lerone Murphy. With Mike Grundy also coming off a loss with a split decision v Lando Vannata at UFC 262.

Both fighters are only losing streaks, which means that they will have a lot to fight for, which potentially could be either fighter’s last fight in the UFC. The stakes will be high for this bout at the O2 Arena.

The fight will be decided on who is going to be smarter in the wrestling exchanges and is willing to be the first to engage, as many times in fights it is possible that both fighters will be wary of each other’s strengths, which can lead to them being reluctant to grapple.

I can see the grappling exchanges going back and forth, I won’t be surprised to see this fight going the distance.



If these fights don’t leave you on the edge of your seat whether you are watching them in the arena, or at home, I will be very surprised. I can’t wait for March 19th and it is definitely going to be a special night in London.

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