UFC London tips: Best bets for Werdum v Volkov
Make the most of the Octagon's return to London with these picks, which cover all four fights on the main card.
Fabricio Werdum v Alexander Volkov
MMA legend Werdum is back on the brink of a heavyweight title shot after back-to-back wins over Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura, but the 40-year-old has to see off the dangerous Volkov if he wants another chance to win the belt.
Only the best MMA fighters have beaten Werdum, who has only lost to Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem (twice) in 15 fights since 2008.
While Volkov is a decent prospect, he’s simply not in the same class as those fighters.
The Russian has impressed with three wins out of three in the UFC, but he is yet to face an elite heavyweight with Werdum’s ground game.
The former UFC heavyweight champion has always been a jiu-jitsu genius, but he’s also a much more effective striker now, using his reach to open his opponents up to takedowns.
He won’t want to stand up and trade with Volkov for too long. The 29-year-old is 6ft 7in tall and has 19 KOs on his record to date.
Werdum is good enough to avoid a big bomb, though, and should manage to get Volkov to the mat and secure a submission.
Jimi Manuwa v Jan Blachowicz
Londoner Manuwa was close to a shot at Daniel Cormier’s UFC light-heavyweight title, after knocking out Ovince Saint Preux in October 2016 and Corey Anderson five months later.
The 38-year-old was then stunned by Volkan Oezdemir in July 2017, suffering a KO after just 42 seconds.
Manuwa needs to get back on track, and can do so against Blachowicz, who he beat on points in Poland three years ago.
The Pole has lost three of six bouts since – all of them by decision – and now has a 4-4 record in the UFC.
Blachowicz is a tough fighter who’s only been stopped once in his career, and he’s the only person ever to go the distance in defeat against Manuwa.
The Englishman is such a dangerous puncher, though, that he should win this one by knockout, just as he has each of his last two fights in Britain.
Tom Duquesnoy v Terrion Ware
Duquesnoy was voted the MMA’s top prospect in both 2016 and 2017, but lost a split decision to Cody Stamann in his last fight, taking his record to 15-2 with one no-contest.
The 24-year-old is a well-rounded bantamweight with eight knockout wins and four submissions to date, and he should make light work of Ware.
The American has lost both of his fights in the UFC, the last of which was to another up-and-comer in Sean O’Malley.
Ware has been put in this fight as a beatable opponent for Duquesnoy, and the Frenchman is definitely the fighter to back on Saturday night.
Leon Edwards v Peter Sobotta
In another Britain-versus-Poland clash, Birmingham resident Edwards should extend his winning streak to five fights.
The 26-year-old has a 6-2 record in the UFC after beating Bryan Barberena by decision in September, and he’s won his last nine fights in his home country.
This should be a pretty even fight, as Sobotta has won nine of his last 10 bouts, with a TKO defeat to Kyle Noke in November 2015 his only defeat during that run.
The 31-year-old has only fought twice since then, though, and his inactivity – along with Edwards’ home advantage – should give the local fighter the edge.