St. Patrick’s day weekend in March just got a whole lot more interesting.
The UFC heads to the O2 Arena in London, and Irish interest here on the same day that Katie Taylor boxes for a world title comes in the form of SBG Ireland veteran Gunnar Nelson.
The Icelandic welterweight is fresh off a devastating stoppage of ‘Cowboy’ Alex Oliveira last month, and after a disappointing defeat to Santiago Ponzinibbio, a further chance to climb up the 170lb. rankings will come in England’s capital.
Per Brett Okamoto of ESPN, UFC president Dana White has confirmed that Nelson will fight Birmingham’s Leon Edwards in the co-main event.
Breaking: Leon Edwards vs. Gunnar Nelson will co-headline UFC Fight Night on March 16 in London on ESPN+, per Dana White. pic.twitter.com/U1q0FbFnrK
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) January 16, 2019
Edwards is two places above Nelson in the admittedly haphazard UFC rankings, and boasts a 16-3 record. He is undefeated since a 2015 loss to title challenger Kamaru Usman, seeing off Donald Cerrone in his last outing of a six-fight win streak.
The main event will also have serious implications for the welterweight division.
White also confirmed via Okamoto that Liverpool’s Darren Till will return to action against Jorge Masvidal.
Till’s title tilt against Tyron Woodley ended in disaster in September, and despite rumblings of a move to middleweight, Till will remain at 170 for now.
‘Gamebred’ has had some back-and-forths with Britain’s other foremost MMA fighter in the now-retired Michael Bisping, and his striking style is sure to make for an entertaining encounter. But knockout victories over Cerrone and Jake Ellenberger have been offset by more recent defeats to Demian Maia and Stephen Thompson