UFC London this weekend is a card that bolsters one of the finest lineups a European show has seen in some time, here are seven fighters worth knowing about before you tune in.
As one of the most highly-touted prospects on this card, Heinisch managed to take home a huge win his UFC debut, beating Cezar Ferreira over three rounds after a brutal showing on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
Ferreira has quietly been one of the UFC middleweight division’s finest grapplers over the years – besting the likes of Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Nate Marquardt and for Heinisch to pick up a win like that in his first promotional outing is very, very impressive.
Facing a stern test in the form of Englishman Tom Breese, we will know exactly where this guy fits into the middleweight roster once all is said and done on Saturday night.
This powerful debutant boasts an incredibly varied resumé having won by way of punches, bravo choke, rear-naked choke, slam, and armbar in his nine career fights to date.
Negumereanu has quite a bit of power at his disposal and as one of Romania’s top talents, there will certainly be quite a bit of expectation behind him as he steps in to face Saparbeg Safarov on the prelims.
Unbeaten, with a 100% finishing rate, and having never once seen the third-round, do not be surprised to see this one end quickly in this man’s favour if he can get his rhythm going early.
Danny Henry left many of our jaws on the floor after he was able to pull off a massive upset of one of the top prospects at featherweight, Hakeem Dawodu, in 39 seconds last year.
Dawodu is still as highly-rated as anyone at 145lbs at present and the manner in which the Scot was able to get him out of there was pretty incredible. In his promotional debut, he was able to hand Daniel Teymur his first career loss in a gutsy performance and now, he will take on Dan Ige on the prelims.
Henry has a solid mix of knockouts and submissions on his resumé and at 6’0″ tall, he will be a tricky proposition for anyone in the division.
Arnold Allen has looked nothing short of superb since signing for the UFC, going a perfect 4-0 – something that quickly established him as one of the best fighters to emerge from Firas Zahabi’s Tristar Gym in recent years.
His last three outings have been on home-soil and with the experienced Jordan Rinaldi in front of him, as the betting favourite, do not be surprised to see this guy advance closer to the featherweight rankings with a win.
He boasts fantastic grappling and submission skills when the fight hits the mat but his striking is its equal in every way. He’s got an abundance of power and technique and will no doubt like his chances at getting a finish once the octagon doors close in the London O2 Arena.
Former Cage Warriors champion Molly McCann saw her six-fight win-streak ended in her UFC debut against Gillian Robertson as she succumbed to a second-round submission.
Don’t let that fool you into thinking we’ve seen the full picture from ‘Meatball’, though, because she remains a very good signing from the UFC brass – one who will bring the fight to her opponent as soon as that first bell rings.
This gritty, hard-hitting flyweight was champion in her previous home for a reason, and with a showdown against Priscila Cachoeira in her home-country up next, expect her to feed off the crowd’s energy from the get-go.
If you haven’t watched Nathaniel Wood fight up until this point, you are well and truly missing out. Known globally for his Fight Of The Year-worthy scrap with Josh Reed, the man backed up the hype with two wins from two in his pair of UFC outings to date.
Beating the veteran Johnny Eduardo and the in-form Andre Ewell, do not be surprised to see this man calling for a ranked opponent if he can make it past Jose Alberto Quinones.
The 25-year-old is among the most exciting prospects in British MMA today and if he can indeed go 3-0 at 135lbs, his reputation as an action fighter and a finisher could see him progress into the upper echelons of the division before too long.
‘Hot Chocolate’ has been in the UFC for just over three years now, having racked up an impressive 5-2 record – losing only to Nordine Taleb and Mike Perry.
He moves lightly on his feet, boasts good power, and as he proved in his Fight of the Night-winning showdown with David Zawada last time around, he’s more than willing to throw down if the opportunity presents itself.
With a showdown against the somewhat stunted talent that is Claudio Silva ahead of him, Roberts has the opportunity to go three straight and potentially bag himself a ranked opponent if he can make a statement in front of his hometown crowd.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena