UFC tips: Our 3 top selections for UFC London on Saturday night

Our ace MMA tipster Sean Taylor picks out his best bets from a blockbuster card in London.

Comments

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Please note: All start times are approximate.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1, main card from 8pm on Saturday

11pm: Alexander Volkov v Tom Aspinall – Alexander Volkov to Win

I’ve swung a few ways on this fight since it’s been announced. I think it’s a great fight and a great opportunity for Tom Aspinall to showcase his talents. However, at the prices I’m happy to back against him. He opened around the 5/4 mark and while he has been very impressive in his UFC outings to date, I think those opening prices were a fair reflection of the step-up in opposition here. It’s not surprising that he’s backed into the price he currently is with British people rightly supporting their man.

In my opinion you’re currently paying a steep price about Aspinall being as good as we think he might be. Heavyweight is the most unpredictable division in the UFC. When guys are that heavy and hit that hard, anyone can beat anyone with one shot and Alexander Volkov certainly represents the toughest test of his career.

Volkov’s UFC losses have come to Ciryl Gane, Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis who currently represent three of the UFC’s top five heavyweights in the rankings. Volkov will look to utilise his height and reach advantage and will look to land more than the 26 strikes which Aspinall’s last four opponents have landed on him. That is yet another unknown about Aspinall going into this fight which you’re not currently getting compensated for with the price. Volkov looks a great value play in my opinion.

WELCOME TO PADDY POWER NEWS!

10pm: Arnold Allen v Dan Hooker – Arnold Allen to Win

This is a brilliant fight with the potential to be something of a coming out party for Arnold Allen. Surprisingly, Allen has been in the UFC since 2015 with periods of inactivity stunting his status as a prospect in a hot featherweight division. Dan Hooker is making his first appearance at the 145-pound limit since losing to Jason Knight in November of 2016. After that fight he cited difficulties in making the weight and being left drained as the reason for a move up to lightweight.

Making weight doesn’t get any easier with age and Hooker is 32 now. Even with a smarter, more disciplined weight cut it’s hard to imagine him not being compromised in some way by the weight cut. I always felt that his frame and build was best suited to lightweight and while I understand the reasoning for the drop down, given he’s had a few losses of late, I think it’s likely he pays a price in a compromised chin or that he fades down the stretch.

Allen will push a pace that I think will end up causing Hooker to struggle. Hooker will look to take advantage of his five-inch reach advantage and will have the higher output of the two. However, Allen is effective at sliding out of range and managing distance so I expect him to be able to make Hooker miss. He also won’t be shy about making Hooker think twice about using his kicking game and shooting for a takedown. Hooker’s losses at lightweight came to guys at the top of the food chain, however, we did see him fade towards the end of Poirier fight and given the bigger weight cut, I’d be worried that could happen again here. I think we’ll see a highly tactical match-up here and we saw against Sodiq Yusuff that Allen is very capable of implementing a winning game plan and I expect the same again.

5:45pm: Makwan Amirkhani v Mike Grundy – Makwan Amirkhani to Win

This would appear to be a fight between two guys who will be more than happy for this fight to take place on the ground. Grundy is a Commonwealth bronze medallist in freestyle wrestling while Amirkhani is a noted submission specialist. Looking at how I think the fight will play out, on average Amirkhani lands more takedowns at a better rate than Grundy and looks to be better able to keep a fight there. Looking back on Grundy’s previous UFC outings, I don’t feel he does enough on the ground to win minutes or rounds and he doesn’t offer anything close to the submission threat of Amirkhani.

According to the UFC’s own stats website, Amirkhani offers up 1.1 submissions per 15 minutes, which is almost triple that of Grundy who is at 0.4. On the feet, both are operating at a negative striking differential (they absorb more shots than they land). Grundy is particularly hittable in this regard, with a differential of -2.42 (for every shot he lands he absorbs 2.42 more). Amirkhani is operating at a -1.06 differential, however, his striking is more orientated around getting the fight to where he’s most comfortable – the ground.

This bout is a clear step-up for Grundy. Amirkhani has losses to some of the best in the featherweight division; Arnold Allen, Edson Barboza and Shane Burgos. I don’t believe Grundy to be at that level. One danger to be aware of in a fight with two grapplers is that their strengths can make the other reluctant to grapple and so the fight ends up a striking affair. However, given that I see a disparity between their ground games I don’t see this fight playing out on the feet. My take on this fight is that Grundy isn’t good enough on the feet to win rounds and doesn’t do enough with his takedowns to score points. Amirkhani will be more comfortable on the ground and is more comfortable with his striking should the fight play out there. Amirkhani at underdog odds looks like a great bet to me.

UFC London betting tips:

11pm: Alexander Volkov v Tom Aspinall – Alexander Volkov to Win
10pm: Arnold Allen v Dan Hooker – Arnold Allen to Win
5:45pm: Makwan Amirkhani v Mike Grundy – Makwan Amirkhani to Win

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

The latest UFC odds are on PaddyPower.com now

The Paddy Power Guide To Safer Gambling – Everything You Need To Know

What do you think?