UFC Fight Night 208: Blaydes vs. Aspinall Odds, Schedule, Predictions
Tom Aspinall gets his toughest test to date with Curtis Blaydes headlining a Fight Night card from the O2 Arena in London.
Aspinall has enjoyed a quick ascent up the heavyweight rankings. The 29-year-old has been on a tear since his UFC debut in July 2020. Now, two years later, he's getting the opportunity to prove he belongs among the true contenders in the division.
He's not the only rising British star who will be out to prove something.
Paddy "The Baddy" Pimblett draws Jordan Leavitt on the main card. His bold personality, unique look and exciting style has given him the opportunity to get a push from the organization.
The co-main event was supposed to feature Darren Till, but Chris Curtis will step in on late notice to fight Jack Hermansson in an interesting middleweight matchup.
Here's a look at the whole card and a closer look at the biggest fights of the night.
Fight Card, Schedule and Odds
Main Card (ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET)
Curtis Blaydes (+130, bet $100 to win $130) vs. Tom Aspinall (-150, bet $150 to win $100)
Jack Hermansson (-115) vs. Chris Curtis (-105)
Paddy Pimblett (-250) vs. Jordan Leavitt (+210)
Nikita Krylov (-205) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (+175)
Molly McCann (-460) vs. Hannah Goldy (+370)
Paul Craig (+130) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (-150)
Preliminary Card (ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET)
Mason Jones (-390) vs. Ludovit Klein (+320)
Marc Diakiese (-425) vs. Damir Hadzovic (+340)
Nathaniel Wood (-600) vs. Charles Rosa (+450)
Makwan Amirkhani (+145) vs. Jonathan Pearce (-170)
Muhammad Mokaev (-500) vs. Charles Johnson (+400)
Jai Herbert (-265) vs. Kyle Nelson (+225)
Victoria Leonardo (+100) vs. Mandy Bohm (-120)
Claudio Silva (+180) vs. Nicolas Dalby (-210)
Fight Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Blaydes vs. Aspinall
Aspinall is clearly headlining the card as a local favorite in London. That doesn't mean the UFC is teeing up an easy night at the office, though.
The 6'5" heavyweight is going to face a challenge he has yet to really see so far in Blaydes. He's an elite wrestler who forces opponents to have a game plan for relentless pressure.
It's a brilliant piece of matchmaking by the organization as they build Aspinall up to contend for the title. Blaydes' wrestling has been difficult for just about everyone to overcome. His only losses have come against Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou.
So the question becomes whether Aspinall is in that tier.
Aspinall arguably has a better ground game than both. He's shown the ability to knock people out as well as submit them.
All five of his UFC wins have come by knockout or submission, and only one of them has made it out of the first round.
Prediction: Aspinall via second-round TKO
Hermansson vs. Curtis
Watching Darren Till trying to redeem his TKO loss the last time he fought in London would have been a fun co-main event. Unfortunately, an injury took that opportunity away, but fans still have an interesting middleweight fight to look forward to.
Chris Curtis has emerged as an intriguing factor in the division. The 35-year-old is a feel-good story at this point. He bounced around between several promotions before finally getting his shot in the UFC. Now, he's improbably 3-0.
The Action Man most recently defeated Rodolfo Vieira by unanimous decision just under a month ago.
Now, he's facing a steep step up in competition. Jack Hermansson may be 3-3 in his last six fights, but each of those wins has come against better fighters than Curtis has seen.
Curtis has shown he can come through when he's counted out, but this is going to be a tall task.
Prediction: Hermansson via decision
Pimblett vs. Leavitt
Paddy Pimblett has all the tools outside of the cage to become a star. He's comfortable in the spotlight and understands how to drive interest in his fights and work a microphone.
Thus far, he's backed it all up in the Octagon.
That's going to become more important as his level of competition rises.
That starts with Jordan Leavitt on Saturday afternoon. The 27-year-old Leavitt is 10-1 for his career with a 3-1 record of his own in the UFC. He does not have the same striking power as Pimblett, but he's a decent grappler who has shown some durability.
Pimblett does have a clear advantage as a striker, though, and that's where every round starts. If Leavitt can't find a way to get Pimblett down, he's going to be a sitting duck in a kickboxing match.
While Pimblett is going to have to show he can defend some takedowns and have the gas tank to get out of the first round, this still feels like a showcase fight for him.
Prediction: Pimblett via third-round TKO
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