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    Alexander Volkov-Tom Aspinall to Headline UFC London in March; Pimblett-Vargas Booked



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    The Ultimate Fighting Championship is stacking the
    deck for its first jaunt to Europe since 2019.

    Per the UFC’s broadcast partner of
    ESPN
    on Thursday night,
    UFC Fight Night 204
    on March 19 in London now has a headliner.
    At heavyweight, Alexander
    Volkov
    (34-9) will square off with rising British talent
    Tom
    Aspinall
    (11-2) in a five-round affair. Additionally, MMA
    Latinoamerica Fight Club
    broke the news that Paddy
    Pimblett
    (17-3) will be returning to the Octagon as well on
    this fight card, but against Rodrigo
    Vargas
    (12-4) and not the recently announced Jared
    Gordon
    .

    Volkov will be aiming to make it two in a row at the expense of
    Manchester’s Aspinall, as he pulled off a unanimous decision win
    over Marcin
    Tybura
    in October 2021 to get back in the win column. Before
    the Tybura performance, “Drago” fell short to future interim
    titleholder Ciryl Gane
    in a five-round verdict that put an end to a win streak with
    knockouts of Walt Harris
    and Alistair
    Overeem
    . Because his last victory came on the scorecards, the
    Russian’s career finish rate dropped just below 75%.

    Getting his first headlining opportunity is Aspinall, who will
    surge into this top-10 clash with a seven-fight finish streak on
    his ledger. The Cage Warriors Fighting Championship export made
    it to the UFC in 2020, where he promptly demolished Jake
    Collier
    in 45 seconds. Subsequent drubbings of Alan
    Baudot
    , Andrei
    Arlovski
    and Sergey
    Spivak
    thrust him into this home country headliner. As a pro,
    Aspinall has never recorded a win that took longer than 6:09 to
    achieve.

    The polarizing Pimblett will be stepping into the Octagon for the
    second time when he meets Vargas. “The Baddy” made his debut in
    September 2021, where he rebounded from a first few tough minutes
    to knock Luigi
    Vendramini
    unconscious with a ferocious flurry of fists. Before
    joining the UFC, Pimblett captured the CW featherweight strap, and
    he successfully defended it once against Julian
    Erosa
    before surrendering it in 2017 and prompting a move up to
    155 pounds.

    After three tries, Vargas earned his first triumph in the UFC cage
    in April 2021 when he topped Zhu Rong by
    decision. “Kazula” put an end to a two-fight skid that included a
    decision setback to Alex
    da Silva Coelho
    as well as a disqualification against Brok Weaver
    when the Mexican fighter threw an illegal knee that ended the
    match. A Combate Global vet before joining the ranks of the
    UFC, the 36-year-old Vargas posts a high finish rate of 83%.

    UFC Fight Night 204 goes down inside the O2 Arena in London on
    March 19, in the organization’s first trip to Europe since UFC
    Fight Night 163 in 2019 in Moscow. Other key matchups on the card
    include a rescheduled heavyweight tilt between Shamil
    Abdurakhimov
    and Sergei
    Pavlovich
    , in which Pavlovich replaces the current headliner
    Aspinall. Highly touted prospect Muhammad
    Mokaev
    will also make his promotional debut against Cody Durden
    in a match he called for because of Durden’s incendiary post-fight
    comments about his former opponent.

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