Saturday March 16, the UFC make its return to London, England for an amazing Fight Night card that will be aired on ESPN+. The Prelims start at 1:00pm ET and the main card kicks off at 4:00pm ET.
The card will be headlined by top UFC welterweight contenders as former title challenger Darren “The Gorilla” Till takes on Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal. The card also has an amazing co-main event as #10 ranked welterweight contender Leon Edwards takes on #15 ranked Gunnar Nelson. Also on the card is Volkan Oezdemir as he faces Dominick Reyes in a top ten battle at light heavyweight.
Check our staff predictions for the UFC London card below.
Jack Marshman vs John Phillips (Middleweight)
Hiram: A good middleweight fight scheduled here as Jack Marshman will be moving up to 185-pounds from 170 and is looking to get a win in his middleweight division debut. Phillips is looking to get his first win in the UFC as he dropped his first two fights, making this as much of a must win fight for Phillips as possible. Marshman is looking to get back to the win column as well and a win on Saturday could help him moving forward.
Jack Marshman def. John Phillips via split decision.
Jordan: This is an all Welsh affair to kick off the main card, a fight that will certainly get the crowd pumped. Both men have undoubtedly struggled in the UFC. The jump to the upper echelons of MMA has proven to be difficult. Jack Marshman holds a 2-3 UFC record whilst John Phillips is 0-2 in the Octagon. I expect this to be an all-out brawl as both men fight like their UFC careers depends on it, and they probably do.
Jack Marshman def. John Phillips via TKO in round 1.
Connor: Marshman has 13 career wins by way of knockout, and his nickname is “The Hammer” for a reason. Marshman is also moving up to middleweight for this fight, so it will be interesting to see if his power follows him to his new division, or maybe the cut was diminishing his performance and we see a new level to his game. Phillips is winless in the UFC losing both of his fights before he enters his third fight in London. With 19 wins by KO, and 2 by submission, Phillips has finished every fight that he has won. He will definitely be looking to change his recent trend.
John Phillips def. Jack Marshman via TKO in round 2.
Danny Roberts vs Claudio Silva (Welterweight)
Hiram: Danny Roberts has racked up five wins in the UFC since his debut. Roberts is also on a two-fight winning streak and he will be looking to put on a show for his hometown. Claudio Silva is a great fighter but styles make fights, and this is matchup was matched perfectly for Roberts as I expect him to be able to do pretty much what he wants in there.
Danny Roberts def. Claudio Silva via unanimous decision.
Jordan: One of the most entertaining fighters out of England, Danny “Hot Chocolate” Roberts has picked up two Fight of the Night bonuses and was involved in the best fight I’ve seen live against Mike Perry. On top of that, he is also putting together quite the highlight reel with spectacular KO’s over Bobby Nash and Oliver Enkamp to his name. Claudio Silva represents a sizable task for “Hot Chocolate”, with a 3-0 UFC record and high profile wins over Brad Scott, Leon Edwards and most notably Nordine Taleb, who holds a win over Roberts. The only blemish on Silva’s 12-1 record is a DQ in his professional debut, making him very hard to overlook in this fight.
Claudio Silva def. Danny Roberts via unanimous decision.
Connor: Silva is on a 12-fight win streak, and has taken out some high-level competition, like Leon Edwards, featured later on in the card, and Nordine Taleb. Roberts has also faced high level competition, but lost to Taleb as well as Mike Perry. Roberts will look to keep the fight standing, and as far away from the mat as possible, Silva has an incredible ground game. Silva has 7 wins by way of submission, and has no problem striking and just wearing fighters out on the ground. If Roberts can keep his feet under him, he stands much better a chance to come away with a win.
Claudio Silva def. Danny Roberts via submission in round 2.
Nathaniel Wood vs Jose Quinonez (Bantamweight)
Hiram: A matchup between two bantamweights who have great potential. Both men are looking to come into this fight and make a statement. Nathaniel Woods has a lot of hype around him, and the man has a 60 percent TKO/KO ratio. Woods is very dominant on the ground as well to pair with is power.
Nathaniel Woods def. Jose Quinonez via KO in round 3.
Jordan: Nathaniel “The Prospect” Wood is a truly exciting fighter, only two of his 18 professional fights have gone to decision, which is unheard of in the bantamweight division. The Prospect is starting to live up to his name. His two UFC outings have ended with submission victories. Jose Alberto Quinonez will be a tough night’s work for Wood but one I expect him to come through.
Nathaniel Wood def. Jose Alberton Quinonez via unanimous decision.
Connor: After losing his UFC debut, Quinonez is on a 4-fight win streak and will look to add another to the win column against Wood. Quinonez has only fought once each year since he entered the UFC, and has won all but one of his fights by way of a decision. Wood Recently won his UFC debut back in December with a submission victory. Wood looks to his wrestling and outstanding takedown defense to control where the fight take place. Quinonez likes to use the takedown to control the fight as well, my thoughts are that whoever controls the ground game, will hold the keys to victory.
Nathaniel Wood def. Jose Quinonez via submission in round 3.
Volkan Oezdemir (#6) vs Dominick Reyes (#8) (Light Heavyweight)
Hiram: This is a great fight for the light heavyweight division, both of these men are amazing fighters. Oezdemir is a former title challenger and although he is on a two-fight losing streak, he still remains one of the top guys at 205-pounds and this is a great fight for him to prove he’s still got it. Dominick Reyes is an up-and-coming title challenger who is coming off a huge win over Ovince St. Preux. Reyes has very good boxing and amazing footwork and he is very fast for a 205-pound fighter. I don’t expect this fight to go to the judges at all, as both these gentlemen have a very high finishing IQ and are very good at finding that finish.
Dominick Reyes def. Volkan Oezdemir via TKO in round 2.
Jordan: Back-to-back losses don’t take away Oezdemir’s devastating power. One shot and he can derail the Dominick Reyes hype-train and catapult himself back into the title picture. Reyes will need to drag this fight into the later rounds for his best chance at victory. Oezdemir has seemed to struggle when his power hasn’t brought him a quick victory. Firstly, being manhandled by Daniel Cormier. Then Anthony Smith wore him down to grab the submission win. Even his UFC debut was a close affair as OSP dragged Volkan out to a tight split decision victory. A true 50/50 fight in my eyes. I just can’t ignore the crazy power of Volkan Oezdemir. I think he gets it done.
Volkan Oezdemir def. Dominick Reyes via KO in round 1.
Connor: Oezdemir was very close to finishing Anthony Smith in his last fight, and he may have been in a number one contender fight for the rights to challenge the champion right now. He managed to get caught in a submission after hurting Smith badly, a couple of times, and victory slipped from his grasp. Reyes is looking to jump into the top 5 and showcase his talents and earn himself a shot at the belt. This is almost a title eliminator match for both men as they will look to keep their names near the top of the list of contenders. Reyes is currently undefeated as a professional holding a 9-0 record, and will look to make Oezdemir number 10.
Dominick Reyes def. Volkan Oezdemir via KO in round 1.
Leon Edwards (#10) vs Gunnar Nelson (#13) (Welterweight)
Hiram: Another great welterweight fight will co-headline this card, London’s own Leon Edwards will take on the man from Iceland and one of the best grapplers in the division, Gunnar Nelson. This is a very well-matched fight, and although Nelson does have the advantage on the ground, Edwards is no stranger and has a very good ground game of his own. The striking is just about even between these two, as both men have a solid striking game.
Gunnar Nelson def. Leon Edwards via submission in round 2.
Jordan: Both men in this co-main event will be aiming towards a shot at the main event winner and will be keen to put on a good performance to ensure they aren’t overlooked. Leon Edwards has been quietly putting together a 6-fight win streak, which was topped off by a victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. Gunnar Nelson on the other hand bounced back from his KO loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio with a quick submission of Alex Olivera. This fight ultimately comes down to can Edwards stifle Nelson’s slick submission game? I don’t think he can.
Gunnar Nelson def. Leon Edwards via submission in round 2.
Connor: Edwards in on a 6-fight win streak, and has some high profile names he has beaten. But no one seems to be talking about him. Edwards holds victories over fighters like Vicente Luque, Bryan Barberena, and Donald Cerrone. Edwards is originally from Jamaica, but now calls the UK home and will look to fend off the grappling genius that is Gunnar Nelson. Nelson has 11 professional wins by way of submission and has faced off with some of the best in the world like Demian Maia and Alex Oliveira. If the fight stays standing, Edwards probably has the advantage. If Nelson can get his hands on Edwards and make it a “grind it out” type of fight to slow down and wear down Edwards.
Gunnar Nelson def. Leon Edwards via unanimous decision.
Darren Till (#3) vs Jorge Masvidal (#11) (Welterweight)
Hiram: When you talk about the best boxing and kickboxing in the 170-pound division, you have to speak the names of Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal. These two men are easily the best strikers around at welterweight. Till is more of a kick-boxer and Masvidal easily has some of the best boxing not just at 170, but in the entire organization. I expect this fight to be a high-volume fight with ton of punches thrown. I do expect size to play a role in the fight at some point. Till is a huge welterweight who has struggled to make the weight of 170-pounds sometimes, and he could easily be a natural middleweight or maybe even fight at light heavyweight. Masvidal is a guy who once fought at lightweight and has fought some of the top guys in the lightweight division. If Till ends up having the striking advantage and Masvidal can’t keep Till off him, Till will find the finish.
Darren Till def. Jorge Masvidal via TKO in round 3.
Jordan: Darren Till comes from the same city as myself, and I’d probably back him against anyone for that reason. However, in this matchup there is no need for bias in my prediction as I truly believe Till returns to his blistering best at UFC London. Prior to his ill-fated title shot Till looked destined for great things in the sport. One slip and many have jumped off the hype-train, but I’m not one of them. He’s simply going to be too big, strong, powerful and hungry against a weathered 34-year-old in Jorge Masvidal. Coming off back-to-back losses and a substantial layoff, I doubt we see the best Masvidal come fight night. He is very tough though and will take a lot to get a stoppage. I expect this fight to drag out towards the later rounds before Till gets his man out of there.
Darren Till def. Jorge Masvidal via TKO in round 3.
Connor: Darren Till is an incredible fighter. He was recently handed his first loss as a professional by the former champion Tyron Woodley by way of submission. Till has dynamite in his left hand, and if it lands, its bad luck for his opponent. Masvidal is a veteran in the UFC and has the ability to win the fight in the judges’ eyes, as well as hitting the lights out of his opponent with 13 wins by way of KO and 17 decision victories. With a win here, Till puts himself back in contention for a title, especially with Woodley no longer holding the title, the division looks like it might be wide open.
Darren Till def. Jorge Masvidal via TKO in round 2.