THE UFC roadshow is back after a week of rest and it rolls into London on Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London. Headlining the bill will be a heavyweight fight with future title permutations on the line, as Fabricio Werdum meets Alexander Volkov.
Both men are ranked in the top 10 in the division and it is an interesting crossroads fight. Werdum, the former UFC champion, has won three of his last four since losing the title to Stipe Miocic back in 2016 and has his sights on one last charge at UFC gold.
In the opposite corner, Volkov, who held heavyweight gold in Bellator, has won all three of his UFC contests and is coming into the clash with Werdum off the back of an excellent stoppage win over Stefan Struve, where he toppled the Dutch “Skyscraper” in front of his home crowd in Rotterdam.
The win for either man puts them right at the front of the queue for a title fight at the end of 2018, depending on the outcome of Miocic’s fight with Daniel Cormier, the UFC light-heavyweight champion who is moving up to answer the challenge, in July at UFC 226 in Las Vegas.
For Volkov, this provides him with a genuine contender to prove he can be a legitimate threat in the division. The 6”7 “Drago” has to use his height and reach to keep it on the feet, as if it goes to the ground all the chips fall in “Vai Cavalo’s” favour. It will be an intriguing clash of styles at the O2 on Saturday.
In the chief-support light-heavyweight Jimi Manuwa looks to get back to winning ways after his first round stoppage loss to Volkan Oezdemir last July. In the opposite corner will be the robust Pole Jan Blachowicz, who has won his last couple.
The two previously met in Krakow, Poland back in 2015, where Manuwa picked up a unanimous decision victory, in the only fight where the Londoner has gone the distance in his whole career. He will be looking to get the same result in quicker fashion on Saturday.
Rounding out the main card is exciting Frenchman “Fire Kid” Tom Duquesnoy, who slipped to defeat last time out against Cody Stamann, who will be looking to get back on track in the bantamweight division against Terrion Ware, whilst Leon Edwards, who has just earned his spot in the top 15 of the welterweight rankings, will be looking to consolidate that spot with a win over Peter Sobotta.
Supporting the main card is a preliminary card bursting at the seams with British talent. John Phillips finally gets his UFC shot, after previous scheduled fights fell through due to visa issues. The Welsh middleweight will face Charles Byrd, who recently impressed in Dana White’s Contender Series, where he picked up a pair of wins.
Liverpool welterweight Danny Roberts will take on Oliver Enkamp, whilst Scottish featherweight Danny Henry, who impressed last July, when he survived a first round beating to come back and beat David Teymur in Glasgow, will face Hakeem Dawodu.
Jack Marshman will move down to welterweight and was expected to face Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos in a fight that promised fireworks. However a knee injury to Dos Santos has denied the fans the opportunity to witness that, so Marshman will now face Brad Scott, now possibly back up at middleweight.
Stevie Ray, who lost to Paul Felder last July, has been drafted in to face Kajan Johnson, after Rustam Khabilov withdrew in the lightweight division. Cage Warriors featherweight champion Nad Narimani gets his UFC shot as he replaces Alex Reyes in a lightweight fight with Nasrat Haqparast.
Light-heavyweight Paul “Bearjew” Craig will be desperate to get back in the win column, after two successive first round stoppage losses in 2017, when he takes on Magomed Ankalaev. Finishing off the card will be heavyweight Mark Godbeer who takes on Dmitry Sosnovskiy.
There is plenty of British talent on show for UFC fans in the UK and the added bonus of not having to stay up into the early hours of morning. British UFC cards always provide entertainment and this one should be no different. It all gets underway at 5:45pm on UFC Fight Pass, with the main card switching to BT Sport at 9pm. This will be one not to miss.