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UFC Fight Night 204 ‘Volkov vs. Aspinall’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

Sherdog's live UFC Fight Night 204 coverage will begin Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Check out the MMA Forums to discuss the card or enter your comments and predictions below.

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Cody Durden (126) vs. Muhammad Mokaev (125)

Round 1

For the first time since March 2020, the UFC will be planting its flag in an arena outside of the U.S. that isn’t Abu Dhabi, UAE. A clean dozen fights, most of which pitting someone from the region against an outsider, will treat fans cramming the O2 Arena as full as it can be in London. With the initial opener getting scratched on fight week, the first fight of the night will now come in the flyweight division. Newcomer and vaunted amateur fighter Mokaev (6-0, 1 NC; 0-0 UFC) will take his first crack at the Octagon against the man he called out in Durden (12-3-1, 1-1-1 UFC) – the latter of whom is known for his controversial post-fight interview against opponent Qileng Aori towards the end of 2021. The bad blood is high for the first bout of the evening, and referee Dan Movahedi is acutely aware of this and under no illusions that the two will even consider touching gloves. Instead, they sprint out of their corners at one another and trade low kicks, with a malicious grin creeping over Durden’s face. The American lands a leg kick, and someone shouts out from outside of the cage to make the newcomer riskily turn his head to look. Durden does not capitalize on this, and instead slowly walks forward and straight into a flying knee. Durden is in on roller skates after taking that knee flush on the chin, falling to the ground briefly only to pop back up to his knees, and “The Punisher” instantly latches on to a guillotine choke that is tight in a hurry. Durden tries to lift his man up to break the grip, but when they land, the choke is even tighter than before. Turning the guillotine into a kind of a front choke as he presses Durden tight to the mat, he nearly takes mount as the squeeze grows ever tighter. Try as he might, Durden cannot free his neck, and he taps out as soon as Mokaev steps over. That is a big statement for the still-undefeated newcomer, who calls for a post-fight bonus in victory as the crowd goes wild.

The Official Result

Muhammad Mokaev def. Cody Durden R1 0:58 via Submission (Guillotine Choke)

Cory McKenna (115) vs. Elise Reed (115)

Round 1

The second of two bouts pitting a local against an American – Mokaev was born in Dagestan but resides in Manchester representing Britain – comes already, when Team Alpha Male’s McKenna (6-1, 1-0 UFC) out of Wales takes on Reed (4-1, 0-1 UFC) at 115 pounds. Referee Rich Mitchell will draw the charge for this contest that might largely be contested on the canvas, and with a sporting touch of gloves, the fight begins. Reed starts off with a clean right hand, and McKenna takes it right on the chin without budging. Reed comes out with another, and she gets McKenna’s attention early as McKenna can do little but try to block. As the Welshwoman advances, Reed goes after a high kick, and she circles out of the way to peck and poke at her opponent from a distance. McKenna lands at the end of a one-two, and Reed pays it no mind and pops McKenna on the chops with another big right. The American stays elusive and able to find her shots while not absorbing much offense from her opponent, and she sneaks over a quick right hand and a leg kick. McKenna tries to pressure Reed but finds herself hitting little but air as Reed is on her bike. Reed scores a right hand, and McKenna eats it like Welsh rarebit and throws back hard, staggering Reed briefly. McKenna gains confidence and strings together a short combination, forcing Reed to reset and take the center of the cage again. When Reed cracks McKenna with another overhand right, McKenna’s knees wobble for a split-second and she crashes forward to pursue a takedown. When no double-leg takedown can come from the try, she presses Reed back to the wall and goes after outside trips. McKenna transitions into a single, lifting Reed off the ground and slamming her down to the mat, where she lands in side control. Reed pulls her foe back to guard, but McKenna opens up with several punches until Reed tries to tie her up. McKenna clubs her opponent with an elbow, and Reed scrambles suddenly to spring back to her feet. A crisp right hand from Reed stings McKenna, and she scores one more before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Reed
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Reed
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Reed

Round 2

McKenna does not walk straight forward out of her corner, and instead moves at an angle to begin the round in hopes of cutting Reed off. Reed circles the right direction to get off a one-two, and McKenna replies in kind. When Reed tries to sit down on a right hand, McKenna intercepts her with a leg kick. McKenna chains together a trio of punches, and she hops away as Reed targets her with her now-patented right. Reed gets off a few leg kicks, and she marches forward to land a pair of uppercuts before hopping away out of range. Reed sticks and moves, advancing and generally escaping fast enough to not get struck with counters. The combinations are effective from the American, who finds home with her right hand several times as McKenna cannot quite stop it from landing. McKenna returns fire with her own salvo of punches, and Reed shrugs them all off as hers appear to be more effective. They trade tit-for-tat with short combinations, until McKenna breaks one up with a head kick that slams into Reed’s neck. Reed walks through it as if it never landed at all, stalking McKenna down and popping her with a left hand. McKenna pushes her opponent away, and although Reed stumbles, she gathers herself and scores a few punches to draw a thin trickle of blood out of the mouth of “Poppins.” Reed slips a punch, walks into a left and continues to pressure her opponent with long punches and low kicks. McKenna dives forward in pursuit of a takedown, and she gets stuffed. After an exchange, McKenna changes levels, elevates Reed and tosses her down to the mat. Reed springs back up seconds later, lets loose with a salvo of punches, and the round ends as Mitchell steps in between them so no strikes land after the horn.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Reed
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Reed
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Reed

Round 3

Reed opens up with a series of punches, forcing McKenna to retreat early on. The American scores several low kicks, and when McKenna tries to close the pocket, Reed rings her bell with a right. Reed drops her hands as she wades forward, clearly unconcerned about anything McKenna throws at her and possibly preparing to defend a takedown. McKenna charges forward for the takedown she had been seeking, and she puts Reed on her back. Reed throws her legs up, tries to get off a few upkicks, but cannot ultimately get McKenna away. “Poppins” dives in with a few punches, and Reed resets her hips and closes up the guard to tie her down, as she hacks with elbows from her back. As Reed has her guard tight around the waist, McKenna welcomes this and lets loose with punches, kiaiing each time she scores. Reed twists and scrambles, and she kicks off the chest of her opponent to make McKenna fall to her seat. This moment is all the American needs to spring back to her feet, and she begins to walk McKenna down and land strikes. A heavy right hand in the midst of a combo sends McKenna falling back to the wall, hitting the fence and possibly saving herself from a knockdown as Reed lays into her. Reed stays composed and does not go wild, instead planting right hand after right hand on the jaw of her Welsh-based opponent. Reed bullies McKenna backwards, and she swings so hard with an overhand that they clinch up. McKenna turns her around, happy to let this clinch engagement take place so she stops getting punched in the face, and the fight ends in this position. Scores could vary for this contest, and both ladies raise their arms in the air after 15 minutes of combat.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 McKenna (29-28 Reed)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 McKenna (29-28 Reed)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 McKenna (29-28 Reed)

The Official Result

Elise Reed def. Cory McKenna via Split Decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)

Jack Shore (136) vs. Timur Valiev (136)

Round 1

Two highly talented bantamweights on the outside looking in at the rankings will square off next, when unbeaten Welshman Shore (15-0, 4-0 UFC) and “Lucky” Valiev (18-2, 1 NC; 2-0, 1 NC UFC) collide. While Shore comes in on a 15-fight win streak, Valiev offers his own mighty unbeaten streak of over six years and nine fights. Referee Marc Goddard will see one such stretch come to a close first, and the fighters are happy to touch gloves before trying to end the other’s. Shore takes the center of the cage to push the Russian back early, and he ducks a punch in pursuit of a clinch or takedown. Valiev hops away, and he evades an overhand right as he does it. Kicks from both men come fast, and they appear to be matching one another with single strikes. “Lucky” hits a lucky right hook over the top, and the Welshman takes it flush without batting an eye. Shore strides forward, chipping at Valiev’s lead leg and just missing with a high kick. Valiev considers a single, but Shore rebuffs him with ease. “Tank” lifts up his knee to anticipatorily counter his foe, and it collides with the shoulder, leading into a brief striking exchange. Shore continues to work on the leg kick, and leaves his hands down a little too long and gets clocked with a left hand that stuns him for a second. The Welshman gathers himself, and Valiev pushes forward and tries to punch his way into a takedown try. Shore turns him around, and Valiev pushes him into the fence and inadvertently knees Shore in the groin. Goddard recognizes this and resets them in the center of the cage after about 20 seconds of recovery. When they restart, Shore continues to work Valiev’s lead leg over, and this frustrates Valiev into selling out for a big right that dings Shore. “Tank” fires back with a body kick, and Valiev catches his leg and trips him out to put him on the canvas. Not to be outdone, Shore scrambles quickly and fights his way back up to his feet, where he presses Valiev against the wall. They work on one another with short strikes in the clinch, and they separate with Shore ringing Valiev’s bell with a pair of hooks. Valiev bites down on his mouthpiece and swings back wildly, with much more arc on his strikes as Shore’s eyes are wide open. Shore remains measured, still working on Valiev’s leg as he scores a one-two up top to break it up. Valiev lands a body kick, Shore rips the midsection with punches, and the horn sounds to end this close round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Shore
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Shore
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Shore

Round 2

Once the second round begins, the two are eager to get back to it, and they both ding one another with quick punches. Valiev backs off, just blocks a head kick in time, and finds himself trying to defend a takedown as “Tank” storms forward. Shore gets him down, but only for a moment before Valiev muscles his way back up. When standing up, Valiev strings together a sharp combination to the body, and he gives Shore a taste of his own medicine and goes after his own takedown. When Shore’s back hits the mat, he cannot fight his way back up quite as quickly, although he scoots his way back to the wall. Valiev is on him, even when Shore stands, and the Russian is quick to pursue a mat return but settles to clinch Shore up tightly. Shore shrugs him off, and he lifts up his guard to block a subsequent head kick that soars right at him. They both clash with body kicks, and Shore connects with a clean right after a jab. They come together, clack heads, and back away while throwing punches. Shore plants a right hook square on the side of Valiev’s head, and Valiev takes it cleanly and tries to return with a kick but gets blocked. Shore aims the same punch and scores it just as successfully, and these have started to get Valiev’s attention. Shore stops an oncoming stream of blows by pressing forward, bullying Valiev to the wall and looking for a throw set up by a body lock. The second try from “Tank” drops Valiev down to his knees, but the Russian instantly returns to his feet. Shore sells out a little too hard when trying to ground Valiev, and Valiev turns the tables and tosses Shore down to the ground. They both spring back up, and the clinch is where Round 2 ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Valiev
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Valiev
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Valiev

Round 3

A mild attempt at a glove touch opens the last round, and they begin to trade leg kicks one after the other. Shore strides forward with confidence, and he unleashes a laser-accurate one-two that takes Valiev’s legs away from him. Shore gives chase as Valiev falls to the mat on his knees, and he tries to take the Russian’s back but cannot quite secure it. Instead, Valiev survives without absorbing any punishment, and he powers his way back up and starts throwing leather. Valiev bullies Shore back, and he lands with a heavy elbow that surprises Shore. The Welshman attacks with a quick combination, and he lays into Valiev until Valiev counters back. Shore changes levels and goes after a takedown, and the Russian defends with a guillotine choke. Shore lowers himself down into his opponent’s half guard, and as he calmly turns his neck, he gives a thumbs-up gesture to the delight of the crowd. “Tank” tanks the submission attempt, gritting through and sliding his neck out, and the audience goes wild for their local fighter. Valiev scrambles after a few seconds of being stuck on his back without offense, and when he pops up, Shore is in rapid pursuit of a single. Valiev defends and turns Shore around, where he separates and rips the body with a left hand. They clash heads as they both start to trade, and Goddard checks to make sure there are no ill effects from it. Valiev is light on his feet, dipping and slipping punches, scores a leg kick, ducking away and getting off a right hand after avoiding a Shore punch. As 60 seconds remain on the clock, the crowd starts cheering “Ole ole ole,” and this energizes Shore. Shore slams his fists into Valiev’s head, and the Russian hits the canvas again. Shore does not go wild, instead strategically smashing Valiev in the jaw again and again. Valiev, undaunted from getting hurt, waves him on to keep going. Instead, the Welshman drops down for a takedown. Valiev smartly throws his legs up for a last-minute armbar, and Shore does not appear concerned as he elbows Valiev in the face until Valiev lets go. A few strikes more, while the crowd is deafening, end the round, with cheers so loud the final horn can barely be heard. Both men hug it out after a hard-fought battle, putting a stamp on 15 minutes of action.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Shore (29-28 Shore)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Shore (29-28 Shore)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Shore (29-28 Shore)

The Official Result

Jack Shore def. Timur Valiev via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)

Paul Craig (206) vs. Nikita Krylov (205)

Round 1

Violence is on the menu for this light heavyweight clash, as the two men scheduled to meet inside of the Octagon now combined for 41 finishes across their 42 victories. It is strange that this matchup between top-15 fighters is so low on the prelims here, but they do not seem to mind. Of the two, Krylov (27-8, 8-6 UFC) has won once by decision, while Craig (15-4-1, 7-4-1 UFC) has never before needed the judges to award him a win. Standing by is referee Lukasz Bosacki, ready to intervene at a moment’s notice. The staredown is intense, and they do not elect to touch gloves. Krylov leads off with a front kick that cracks Craig on the jaw, and Craig shakes it off and drags the fight down to the mat, pulling guard just to get it there. Krylov welcomes this, and he gets off several punches from on top until “Bearjew” locks him down with a shoulder lock of sorts. Krylov attempts to set up an arm-triangle choke in half guard from the other side, and Craig is not concerned even as Krylov exerts heavy shoulder pressure. “The Miner” sits comfortably in half guard, pounding on Craig with punches and short elbows to make Craig’s life miserable. Bosacki asks them to work, and Krylov switches over to use his forearm to press on Craig’s neck. There is no forearm choke, and instead Krylov bails on it to just squeeze his full body weight on Craig’s head. Krylov keeps his right arm beneath Craig’s neck holding on tight, and he lets go to stand up and smash Craig in the face. Craig’s lights may have gone out for a second, but he comes back online due to heavy punches as Bosacki does not seem to be concerned. Craig tries to throw his legs up for some kind of submission off his back, and Krylov shoves them aside and slugs “Bearjew” in the face a few more times to decent effect. Krylov goes back to the guard, and then stands again to bust Craig in the chops with standing-to-ground punches. Craig cannot get Krylov off of him, but it appears he does not want to, instead timing Krylov dropping down at the perfect moment to slap his legs up and around Krylov’s shoulders. In span of five seconds, Krylov goes from punching Craig in the face to having a triangle choke locked up around his neck. Craig turns him over in hopes of taking mount, but Krylov pulls him back down to the mat even though he is in big trouble. The leg grip is not going to let go, in a Craig specialty move, and Krylov is about to go out. Instead of falling asleep, the Ukrainian-born Krylov taps out, and Craig has done it again. From being nearly knocked out to winning by submission, “Bearjew” has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and the crowd could not be happier for his triumphant moment.

The Official Result

Paul Craig def. Nikita Krylov R1 3:57 via Submission (Triangle Choke)

Shamil Abdurakhimov (258) vs. Sergei Pavlovich (254)

Round 1

The lone fight without a representative or fan-favorite from the region is an all-Russia battle that total 512 pounds of heavyweight in the cage, not counting referee Dan Movahedi. Abdurakhimov (20-6, 5-4 UFC) and Pavlovich (14-1, 2-1 UFC) will throw down in hopes of keeping their UFC records above .500, but only one will keep that positive record after this fight barring a draw or wacky result. The countrymen touch gloves while the crowd does not appear overly interested in this matchup, and the first strike comes from Abdurakhimov in the form of a light low kick. The pace is very slow early, with only a few leg kicks coming from “Abrek,” and the fans are letting them know. They both wing single punches and are well off the mark, and the tentative staring contest continues until they push out jabs at the same time. Pavlovich counters a leg kick with a straight right hand down the pipe, but it does not have much on it and Abdurakhimov pays it no mind. Abdurakhimov goes for a leg kick, and suddenly Pavlovich springs into action, letting loose with a salvo of punches that knock Abdurakhimov’s head around. Abdurakhimov gathers himself, circles away and dodges an overhand right, and appears no worse for wear. “Abrek” ducks in, and he meets an uppercut on the way in, while still managing to connect with a right hook. They trade jabs, and Pavlovich just misses with a swinging right. Abdurakhimov crashes forward for a takedown entry, and Pavlovich is a stone wall and he stops it in its tracks. Pavlovich measures his left hand out, only to get warned for outstretched fingers, and Abdurakhimov goes back to his slow rhythm of a leg kick every so often. Out of nowhere, Pavlovich leans forward and rips a shovel uppercut out of the realm of “Mortal Kombat,” knocking Abdurakhimov clean off his feet. Abdurakhimov turns to his knees after hitting the ground, and he turtles up as Pavlovich tries to finish the job with hammerfists. Several blows land to the back of Abdurakhimov’s head, and Movahedi warns Abdurakhimov to keep moving, all while Pavlovich rains down hammers. As Abdurakhimov is about to get back up, Movahedi intervenes to stop the fight, leading “Abrek” to immediately protest what seems to be a premature stoppage. There is nothing more he can complain about because the fight is over, and Pavlovich strides off to celebrate his victory in his first appearance since 2019.

The Official Result

Sergei Pavlovich def. Shamil Abdurakhimov R1 4:03 via TKO (Punches)

Makwan Amirkhani (146) vs. Mike Grundy (145)

Round 1

Featherweights will put an end to the preliminary card when Grundy (12-3, 1-2 UFC) – who is missing out on a great “Solomon” nickname opportunity – takes on “Mr. Finland” Amirkhani (16-7, 6-5 UFC). In what should be a fun grappling-heavy contest, referee Rich Mitchell will be on call. The 145ers do not touch gloves, and Amirkhani instead wades forward only to get snagged by Grundy for a single-leg takedown. Amirkhani wraps up a guillotine choke as he falls to his seat, and Grundy does not appear concerned even as Amirkhani adjusts the position and slithers his arm around to set up an anaconda choke. Grundy kicks off the fence, rolling through the choke as best he can, and “Mr. Finland” has the submission locked down and on point. From the other side, Amirkhani lifts his left leg to pull down on Grundy’s arm so that he can secure the move, and he pushes down with all of his effort to submit his opponent. Mitchell tells Grundy to move his arms or show something, but he cannot, because he is off communing with his ancestors, completely stripped away of his consciousness. Mitchell recognizes this, wiggles Grundy’s hand and sees there is no resistance, and he stops the fight and helps the Brit come back around again. This is a huge win for Amirkhani, who was skidding and very possibly fighting for his job, and landed the quick finish in very impressive fashion.

The Official Result

Makwan Amirkhani def. Mike Grundy R1 0:57 via Technical Submission (Anaconda Choke)

Jai Herbert (155) vs. Ilia Topuria (156)

Round 1

Kicking off the main card is a classic stylistic battle when the appropriately titled “Black Country Banger” Herbert (11-3, 1-2 UFC) faces off against Spanish submission threat Topuria (11-0, 3-0 UFC) in the lightweight division. Trying to keep a lid on what is sure to be a fast-paced tilt will be referee Marc Goddard, although he does not need to worry about disrespect as the two touch gloves first. Herbert bounces up and down before snapping out a jab, and he steps in with a knee when Topuria advances towards him. Herbert keeps his opponent at bay with long, rangy strikes, getting the smaller Topuria’s attention quickly. Herbert lets his hands go and follows it with a head kick, dropping Topuria in the opening minute, and the audience bursts into cheers for their local man. “El Matador” springs back to his feet and crashes forward to go after a takedown, pushing Herbert all the way back to the cage but not getting him down. After multiple fence grabs from Herbert, Topuria is finally able to lift him up off the ground and slam him to the mat with emphasis. Topuria lands in side control, where he starts to isolate Herbert’s right arm and set up a crucifix. The scrambling Brit is able to recover his position, and he drags Topuria all the way back to his guard. Topuria madly dashes to try to pass guard, smashing Herbert in the face a few times, and he gets kicked off briefly but dives back on top. Herbert ties Topuria up, defending himself from much offense and keeping Topuria in his guard, but Topuria slowly works his way to open up on punches. Herbert scrambles, and he forces his way back to his feet and blasts Topuria with a back-elbow. Topuria is wobbled, and Herbert drills him with a long combination that knocks Topuria back. Goddard stops the fight for a second to replace Topuria’s mouthpiece, as it had been knocked out from the heavy punches from the Brit. Topuria gathers himself, as Herbert lets him off the hook and allows the Georgian to attack with winging punches. Herbert intercepts his man with a knee as Topuria comes in, and the mouthpiece goes flying again in a cinematic fashion. Topuria’s chin holds up, and the two lightweights furiously slug it out to the bell. What a round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Herbert
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Herbert
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Herbert

Round 2

The second round begins with Topuria aggressive, stalking Herbert down and trying to take the Brit’s reach advantage away from him. Topuria wings a right hand that just misses as Herbert kicks the body, and Herbert ducks back by an inch to avoid the massive blow. Herbert aims an uppercut that comes up short, and he strafes back and forth while Topuria comes after him. With bad intentions in his eyes, Topuria stalks Herbert down and wings a few punches at him. Herbert reaches out with a jab, and “El Matador” unleashes a right behind the ear, a thudding left to the body and an earthshattering right hand flush on the chin that sends Herbert collapsing to the ground in a crumpled heap. As the crowd goes completely silent, Topuria walks away without bothering to deliver a follow-up blow, with Herbert out cold beneath him. Making the most of his post-fight interview moment, Topuria does not call for bonus money – his work should speak for itself – but instead sets his sights on “that blonde b---ch” Paddy Pimblett. Should Pimblett win later tonight, matchmakers can take the day off as that came together without them having to budge.

The Official Result

Ilia Topuria def. Jai Herbert R2 1:07 via KO (Punches)

Luana Carolina (126) vs. Molly McCann (125)

Round 1

In this flyweight fight, Liverpool’s own McCann (11-4, 4-3 UFC) will square off against the woman known as “Dread” Carolina (8-2, 3-1 UFC). Whether McCann makes her opponent dread this matchup or not, referee Dan Movahedi will be smack dab in the middle of their melee. They touch gloves before throwing hands, and McCann instantly bull-rushes forward and has to step out of the way from a front kick. Carolina keeps a knee up high to catch McCann coming at her, and McCann grabs it and threatens with a takedown. McCann winds up with a huge right hand, and she has the Brazilian hurt badly. “Dread” covers up against the fence, and McCann lays into her with a long string of punches. Carolina is struggling to keep her feet beneath her, and McCann blitzes with another lengthy salvo of blows. Movahedi is keeping a close eye on the fight as Carolina bounces off the wall, and McCann elects to clinch up in pursuit of a takedown instead of trying to punch her out. Carolina manages to survive, pushing back, but McCann is right there in front of her making her back off. “Meatball” rings Carolina’s bell with another overhand right, and Carolina keeps her distance with a front kick. Carolina is not totally recovered, and McCann again ties her up and allows Carolina to get her wits about her. Carolina shoves off and scores a few knees, and she shrugs off a McCann barrage that appear be slowing. The Brit may have experienced an adrenaline dump, as her punches do not appear to have the same effect, while Carolina is finding her range and landing some shots of her own. McCann tries to bomb her with right hands, and she catches a body kick and lets go with another big right. “Meatball” hurts Carolina again with her punch chains, and she follows her opponent up and starts digging to the body when Carolina shells up. Carolina stays in the fight, and she gets free and kicks the body a few times when they separate. The Brazilian fighter easily blocks a capoeira kick, and McCann starts showboating and dances around before scoring one final right hand before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 McCann
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 McCann
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 McCann

Round 2

A woman on a mission, McCann marches out of her corner to walk Carolina down. The Brazilian counters with kicks to the body, and McCann comes forward to tie her up. Carolina measures a high knee, and it bounces off the guard, allowing McCann to bear down on her and loop a right hand. They both slip and move punches, and Carolina looks more confident as she continues to work on the midsection of “Meatball.” McCann misses with a punch, and she ducks down right into a crisp knee. Carolina’s body work succeeds until McCann decides to walk forward, lift Carolina in the air and put her on the floor. McCann goes for side control, and she switches to north-south before going to the other side, and Carolina is stuck trying to lean on her side and roll through while hanging on to one of McCann’s arms. McCann drops down a few knees on the shoulder, and she lowers her head down into a possible choke setup. The Brazilian uses her legs to tie up McCann’s right arm, possibly setting up a sweep or a straight armlock. McCann smoothly pulls her arm out and settles in side control to drop down a few elbows. Without finding much in the way of offense, McCann backs off to stand up, and she forces Carolina to stand with her. Carolina deftly stings McCann with a left hand, and she follows it with a knee and an elbow. There is no standing guillotine when Carolina looks to get a hold of McCann’s neck, and as they jockey for position, Carolina’s knees are doing some damage. McCann’s punches largely come telegraphed, and Carolina can see them easily and sets up knees. McCann grabs one of the knees, lifts her opponent in the air and slams her down so that McCann’s back lands on top of Carolina. McCann motions to the crowd, and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 McCann
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 McCann
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 McCann

Round 3

The flyweights embrace as the round begins, and Carolina starts to tee off on McCann with several accurate kicks to the head and body. “Dread” is tired up, possibly noticing that McCann is slowing, and she grins as she throws strikes. When McCann plods forward, Carolina latches on to a standing arm-triangle choke, and she uses several short knees while trying to find something with it. She lets it go as the two twist around in the clinch, and McCann just misses with an elbow on the break. Carolina walks through a right hand from “Meatball,” motioning her to keep going as she lands a few punches of her own. Carolina lets loose with a few punches and a knee, and McCann turns as if she is planning something. Just then, she spins with all her might, unloading with a spinning back elbow that collides right on the jaw of the Brazilian. Like a puppet that had its strings cut, Carolina collapses to the ground lifelessly with her arms splayed out, and McCann runs off knowing her work here is done. The crowd explodes in favor of the home country victor, and she jumps out of the cage and into the arms of UFC President Dana White. Someone in the crowd has a championship belt, real or fake, and it finds its way into the euphoric arms of “Meatball,” who goes back into the Octagon and parades around while holding it up in the air. Welcome to the “Knockout of the Year” list, Molly McCann, who has just earned the biggest win of her career in front of a screaming horde of fans.

The Official Result

Molly McCann def. Luana Carolina R3 1:52 via KO (Spinning Back Elbow)

Gunnar Nelson (171) vs. Takashi Sato (170)

Round 1

After nearly two and a half years, Nelson (17-5-1, 8-5 UFC) is back in the Octagon again, and he will face late replacement Soto (15-4, 3-0 UFC) instead of his initially expected foe of Claudio Silva. Drawing the assignment for this welterweight affair that could take place anywhere is referee Rich Mitchell, and a stoic but respectful glove touch is exchanged before initiating any offense. Sato is amped up, hopping forward and reaching out several jabs. The Japanese fighter follows one such jab with a low kick, and Nelson simply blocks the majority of the strikes before letting go with a head kick that comes up short. Nelson tries to grab hold of Sato, but Sato yanks his arm away before anything comes of it and scores a leg kick on the way out. Both with wide karate stances, they aim long kicks at one another. Nelson gets off a kick to the body that lands with a thud, and he runs forward only to get shoved back by “Ten.” Nelson punches his way into a clinch, and he looks to bring up a knee but cannot find the target. “Gunni” gets off a side kick to the body, and he catches Sato’s fists coming towards him without absorbing anything of note. Sato pressure Nelson back until Nelson blitzes forward, and Sato plays the matador as he ushers Nelson out of the way. A second try from Nelson succeeds, where he gets his hands on Sato and hits a quick takedown in the center of the cage. As he scrambles, Nelson takes Sato’s back, and he has one hook in while Sato looks to slide out the back door. Instead, Nelson sets up the body triangle and starts landing arcing hammerfists, and a few bounce off the back of Sato’s head. Mitchell warns him from landing illegal strikes, and a few elbows also hit the forbidden target of the back of the head. Sato blocks the side of his head and is not in submission danger, while Nelson keeps pounding on him from strange angles. Nelson cannot get any sort of setup going, and elects to slug away to the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Nelson
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Nelson
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Nelson

Round 2

The welterweights touch ‘em up to start Round 2, and Sato leads the dance with long jabs and front kicks to back Nelson off. Sato tries to wing a high kick, and Nelson ducks it and responds with an overhand right. Nelson pushes forward, and Sato wants nothing to do with a clinch and escapes any time Nelson tries to tie him up. Sato leans forward only to retreat when Nelson advances, resulting in some strange exchanges. Nelson gets off a single punch, and the two cautiously try to measure the other without engaging. The “Gunni” blitz allows him to land a few punches, and he resets and blasts forward with a double-leg takedown. Sato’s back hits the mat in an instant, and Nelson lands straight into side control. Sato tries to buck and explode out of the position, and Nelson follows him every step of the way until he sneaks around to partially take Sato’s back. Sato does scoot his way to the fence and on his knees, but he cannot get Nelson off of him. Nelson slides around to the side, getting his leg around to secure Sato’s back, where he cinches up a body triangle and starts pursuing a rear-naked choke. Nelson lands punches and elbows when Sato tries to fight off the choke, and “Gunni” very nearly gets it under the chin but is thwarted with seconds left in the round. Nelson does not pull for one final submission, instead landing right hands until Mitchell intervenes at the sound of the horn.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Nelson
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Nelson
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Nelson

Round 3

Sato tries to hurt Nelson in the early going of the third frame, letting go with a left hand that partially connects. Nelson rushes in, and he clinches with Sato and sneaks up a knee before Sato shoves him away. Nelson pursues the same type of running clinch, and Sato is wise to it and pushes off. This repeats itself again, and a rare punch connected from Sato busts Nelson’s nose open. “Ten” scores with a clean left, but it is one-and-done. Nelson charges, with a takedown that puts Sato down in the blink of an eye, and he circles to take Sato’s back and set up the body triangle effortlessly. Sato keeps his neck free from choke setups, and Nelson goes back to the well with right hand after unanswered right hand. The fighter from Japan looks to turn through and claim a better position, but Nelson holds on to his wrist and smacks him with punches on the side of the head. Nelson may be close to forcing a finish as his strikes are effective and doing something. Sato tries to punch behind his head, and this allows Nelson to latch on to a rear-naked choke. Nelson switches arms from one to the next, and he turns the choke to a neck crank. Sato’s wrist control is effective enough to not force him to tap out, but Nelson is a dog with a bone trying to finish the fight. Sato has no offense of his own, and the strikes are solid but not overly destructive, allowing him to simply ride out the position until the final bell sounds and he can go home. A stoppage may not have resulted from this fight, but it was largely one-way traffic for the returning Nelson.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Nelson (30-27 Nelson)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Nelson (30-27 Nelson)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Nelson (30-26 Nelson)

The Official Result

Gunnar Nelson def. Takashi Sato via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Paddy Pimblett (155) vs. Rodrigo Vargas (155)

Round 1

Following a big pop from the crowd, “The Baddy” Pimblett (17-3, 1-0 UFC) will try to make it two for two inside the UFC cage when he takes on “Kazula” Vargas (12-4, 1-2 UFC) at lightweight. Ever the showman, the boisterous Brit dances around the cage, but he does elect to touch gloves as referee Lukasz Bosacki watches on. Vargas rushes at him after a brief, frantic exchange, and “Kazula” lands a right hand that makes Pimblett suddenly shoot for a desperation takedown as he might have gotten stung. Vargas stuffs it and bowls his man over. Pimblett keeps an open guard as he drags himself back to the wall, and Vargas lands a few short punches and grinds on his energized opponent. Vargas steps over to half guard, and he stays tightly pressed to his opponent and pushes him on his back every time Pimblett sits up a little. Vargas frustrates his foe with several short punches, but they are not enough to keep Pimblett from fighting his way back up by wall-walking. Vargas ties up one of the legs in an effort to trip “The Baddy” back down, and Vargas gets off a few short knees as he works on one of Pimblett’s legs. While Vargas holds on, the crowd starts booing, and Pimblett explodes to hit a hip toss and slam Vargas down to the ground hard. Vargas sits up, and this is a bad move, as Pimblett circles around to take Vargas’ back. With a body triangle cinched in, Pimblett hunts for a rear-naked choke, and Vargas fights the hands for all he’s worth. “The Baddy” grips his forearm beneath the chin, and it is but a formality at this point. Vargas gasps for air, and he taps out before going to sleep as the crowd goes electric. Molly McCann jumps into the cage to celebrate with Pimblett, with the audience so loud, no one can hear themselves think. Pimblett calms himself down, runs over to his fallen adversary, and embraces him, before going back to dance around with his team. In his post-fight interview, Pimblett regales the fans with a song, and they are more than willing to join him singing along.

The Official Result

Paddy Pimblett def. Rodrigo Vargas R1 3:49 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

Arnold Allen (146) vs. Dan Hooker (145)

Round 1

A high-stakes featherweight matchup serves as UFC London’s co-main event, with Allen (17-1, 8-0 UFC) putting his eight-fight UFC win streak on the line against former lightweight contender Hooker (21-11, 11-7 UFC). What follows next is sure to be frenetic action from bell to bell, and referee Dan Movahedi is on top of this intriguing battle. They are happy to touch gloves first, though, before Hooker flashes out a jab and tries to follow with a right. Hooker walks Allen down with punches and a front kick, and the size difference is apparent early as Hooker uses his long reach. Hooker mixes in punches with low kicks, and he walks through an Allen right hand as if it weren’t there. Allen replies with a leg kick, and he lets his hands go with his opponent and rocks Hooker. Allen starts throwing bungalows, and he continues to batter Hooker and knock him from one side of the cage to the other. “The Hangman” chomps down on his gumshield and throws caution to the wind, hurting Allen right back, but Allen gathers himself and continues his onslaught of punches. Hooker’s durability may be a double-edged sword as he does not ever hit the ground, but he is taking serious damage from Allen’s barrage. Hooker manages to defend himself and escape, and the two have to take a serious breather. They go back to a safer, non-brawling range, and Hooker looks to calm down and find an avenue to attack. Allen suddenly attacks again, having gotten his wind back, and he lets loose with a one-two that shakes Hooker up. “Almighty” Allen does not let him escape this time, going up high with a kick and then pounding on Hooker as Hooker falls back to the fence. Allen closes in, and he starts ripping elbows amidst the punches, and he is looking to finish the job here. Hooker is barely upright, likely still on his feet because the cage is at his back, and Movahedi is moving in close to get involved. Allen does not relent on his assault, smashing Hooker with punches and nasty elbows until Movahedi has seen enough. What a furious frenzy for as long as it lasted, and Allen put on a show as he advanced to 9-0 in the UFC. Big fights loom for Britain’s own Allen.

The Official Result

Arnold Allen def. Dan Hooker R1 2:33 via TKO (Punches and Elbows)

Alexander Volkov (253) vs. Tom Aspinall (252)

Round 1

In extremely hostile territory, Russian striker Volkov (34-9, 8-3 UFC) will compete as one half of the main event against surging British upstart and pure finisher Aspinall (11-2, 4-0 UFC). The partisan crowd has been treated to plenty of locals getting their hand raised thus far tonight, and they hope to end the night with the Team Kaobon fighter out of Manchester getting it done once more. Referee Marc Goddard will serve as the final Octagon ranger of the evening, and a cool hand shake is exchanged before the two inflict powerful heavyweight violence on one another. Aspinall starts first with several quick punches, landing a trio of shots on the chin as Volkov is caught standing still. Volkov backs off to get into his preferred range, landing leg kicks and checking one of his own. The Brit surges forward, grabbing hold of his opponent and wrenching him down to the mat. Landing in side control one minute into the round, Aspinall elects to step into half guard and hack down with short elbows. Volkov is already cut from these elbows on the side of his head, and Aspinall continues working on it. Aspinall lets go with his other hand, slamming down fists and elbows as Volkov struggles to work his way to the fence. When the Russian sits up, Aspinall isolates a two-on-one wrist lock to try to hunt for a kimura, but Volkov straightens his arm and fights back up to his feet. Aspinall resets, and Volkov chips at him with a leg kick and a right hand as Aspinall advances with a hacking standing elbow. Aspinall attacks the leg and stands right in front of his opponent, throwing strikes, and Volkov is frozen watching it happen. Aspinall throws a kick and falls to the ground, and although Volkov runs over to try to capitalize on the position, Aspinall rolls and stands back up to high five Volkov. The Brit gathers his footing and rushes in, hitting a tackle of a double-leg takedown to put the Russian down to the canvas again. Instead of hunting for ground-and-pound, Aspinall immediately goes after Volkov’s left arm. Briefly considering a kimura again, Aspinall changes it up to lock up a straight armbar, and Volkov taps out frantically when his elbow hyperextends. The Team Kaobon fighter releases, and he sprints to the cage wall to climb it alongside teammate Darren Till. This is unquestionably a breakout performance for the instant heavyweight contender, blowing through a durable, crafty veteran while barely breaking a sweat. What a major turn of events in a fight card full of them, closing out a thrilling card that very well will be involved in “Event of the Year” conversations in nine-plus months. In his post-fight conversation with commentator Michael Bisping, the victorious Aspinall challenges Tai Tuivasa to drink beer with him – and fight – when the promotion returns to England. Should that come together, we will be here for it, and we hope you are too.

The Official Result

Tom Aspinall def. Alexander Volkov R1 3:45 via Submission (Straight Armbar)
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