The Ultimate Fighting Championship is stacking the deck when it comes to its return trip to London this July.
On Thursday, the organization announced a high-stakes light heavyweight battle for the UFC Fight Night event on July 23. The event currently has no title, but it does have its headliner as well as a destination. It will be held at the O2 Arena in London, for a card that has gained Paul Craig (16-4-1) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (17-6) on a billing that already includes multiple intriguing fights.
“Bearjew” Craig will make his way back to action on a six-fight unbeaten streak that includes victories over the likes of Mauricio Rua, Jamahal Hill and Nikita Krylov on his way up. The Scotland native has yet to win a fight on the scorecards, with all 16 of his career triumphs including eight in the Octagon coming by stoppage. Of those eight finishes, six have been accompanied by “Performance of the Night” bonus checks, including three of his last four.
While Craig surges into this contest with a great deal of momentum behind him, Oezdemir has lost his last two. Defeats to future title contender Jiri Prochazka and top-five foe Magomed Ankalaev in 2020 and 2021, respectively, derailed the momentum he had been rebuilding by beating Ilir Latifi and Aleksandar Rakic in 2019. The Swede joined the organization in 2017, rattling off three straight wins to earn a crack at Daniel Cormier’s belt in 2018 – Oezdemir went on to suffer his first career knockout loss against “DC.”
The event referred to as UFC London will be held in the British capital city of London on July 23, with Curtis Blaydes vs. Liverpool native Tom Aspinall as its main event. Additional key matchups on the marquee include a middleweight scrap between Darren Till and Jack Hermansson, a light heavyweight rumble pitting Nikita Krylov against Alexander Gustafsson and a wild flyweight affair when Muhammad Mokaev takes on Charles Johnson.
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