Next weekend the UFC travelling roadshow arrives in London for its annual visit to the British capital, and as usual the card is full of European athletes taking advantage of the opportunity to fight closer to home.
Top of the bill is rising British star Darren Till, who will be taking on the American Jorge Masvidal. Till has had a notably rapid ascent through the division rankings, fighting for the Welterweight title last year against Tyron Woodley. That last fight probably came too soon for the inexperienced Till, who was comprehensively defeated.
Though Till sounds full of confidence, he would do well not to underestimate the highly experienced Masvidal. Eight years Till’s senior, Masvidal is greatly respected within the sport and will surely not be phased by the partisan English crowd. However, he is coming back from a long lay-off, not having fought since his loss to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in November 2017. Bookmaker William Hill has Till a 2/5 favourite to win, with Masvidal priced at 19/10.
Another British Favourite
There are more intriguing matchups further down the card. Leon Edwards, another British welterweight ranked in the top 10, will take on the veteran Icelandic grappler Gunnar Nelson next Saturday. Though ranked 13th, Nelson, a team mate of Conor McGregor, has beaten numerous impressive opponents, most recently Alex Oliveira in December. Here too the bookmakers favour the British fighter, with Edwards at 8/11 and Nelson 11/10.
In the Light Heavyweight division, the Swiss Volkan Oezdemir is a 19/10 underdog against Dominick Reyes. Both fighters will be hoping to build some momentum towards a potential title fight against division champ Jon Jones.