UFC London: Tom Aspinall vs. Marcin Tybura – Fights to make

All the best, most interesting, and unquestionably coolest fights that need booking following UFC London: Tom Aspinall vs. Marcin Tybura.

By: Zane Simon | 2 months ago

The UFC’s latest trip to London was… okay not great. To the card’s credit, the last few fights were the best—with Tom Aspinall re-asserting his place among the heavyweight elite. Molly McCann’s fight was a fun disaster in front of a partisan crowd, and Nathaniel Wood put on a show with Andre Fili as his dance partner.

So, is Aspinall on his way to top contender status? Can Wood get a top fifteen opponent in the featherweight division? And is the UFC gonna throw Bo Nickal at Paul Craig?

To answer those questions—and a couple others—I’ll be using the classic Silva/Shelby fight booking methodology from the UFC of years past. That means pitting winners against winners, losers against losers, and similarly tenured talent up against one another. Hopefully, by following that model, a few of these bout ideas will actually make it off the page and into the Octagon. Now, let’s get to the fights!

Tom Aspinall drops Marcin Tybura.
Tom Aspinall drops Marcin Tybura. IMAGO/USA TODAY


Exactly the triumphant return to form that Tom Aspinall needed. He had his meteoric rise to the top of the heavyweight division stunted by a knee injury, but came back one year later looking leaner and meaner than ever. Demolishing Marcin Tybura like that is precisely the kind of performance an elite heavyweight should have to announce their status as a contender in the division. A show of elite speed and power that should give anyone among the top 5 pause before stepping into the cage against him.

After the bout, Aspinall even called his shot, saying that he’d be cageside for an upcoming bout between Ciryl Gane and Sergey Spivak in Paris. It’s a sensible enough fight, all things considered, Gane is a former interim champ and two-time title contender. But it does rather depend on Gane getting the victory. If Spivak wins? We’ve seen that fight, Aspinall already dominated the man, no reason to run it back. Assuming Gane beats Spivak, then Aspinall vs. Gane is a great fight. But if the Parisian can’t win? Then Aspinall vs. Sergei Pavlovich is the kind of elite heavyweight title eliminator that we need to see.

March 3, 2023, Las Vegas, NV, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States: LAS VEGAS, NV - March 3: Ciryl Gane at the ceremonial weigh-ins at MGM Grand Garden Arena for UFC 285 -Jones vs Gane : Ceremonial Weigh-ins on March 3, 2023 in Las Vegas, NV, United States. Las Vegas, NV United States - ZUMAp175 20230303_zsa_p175_161 Copyright: xLouisxGrassex
He’s got a fight to win first. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire


Commentator John Gooden may have been surprised to see Marcin Tybura get run over in just over a minute by Tom Aspinall, but unfortunately for the Polish big man, this has been pretty much the standard for his career. Fighters with a step of speed on him have almost always been able to put him in deep trouble early in fights. Sometimes he can climb out of that and battle back, but for a talent like Aspinall— who has shown a fantastic ability to stay composed while delivering power shots—it felt all but inevitable that Tybura would get put away in a hurry.

It’s not exactly a crushing setback for the 37-year-old’s potential title hopes, he’s regularly struggled to find his way into the top 5 of the division, but there are enough fighters below him that he likely can still beat that it seems almost assured that he’ll be hanging around the top 10 for quite a while longer. The immediate name in the top 15 that leaps to mind is Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Charlotte - Rozenstruik vs Almeida May 13, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Jairzinho Rozenstruik (red gloves) reacts after a loss to Jailton Almeida (blue gloves) in a heavyweight bout during UFC Fight Night at Spectrum Center. Charlotte Spectrum Center North Carolina USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xJimxDedmonx 20230513_gma_db2_0231
Can one of these men flip the script? IMAGO/USA TODAY Network

The Surinamese fighter’s combination of big power and terrible grappling seems like just the right opportunity for Tybura to prove that he can still fight through adversity to win. Or, for Rozenstruik to prove that he can’t stuff a shot and knock someone out. Rozenstruik vs. Tybura is the test both men need.


Not a clean win or pretty performance from Wood. Fili caused him big problems working behind his jab and landing kicks to all levels. But then Wood landed a bomb and seemed like he had Fili badly rattled heading into the second round. Fili rallied back, and hurt Wood, and at that point we really had a fight on our hands. Then round 3 came and both men kind of decided that they didn’t really need to risk getting nearly KO’d again. Not a bad way to end a great fight, but it definitely felt like Fili just drifted away from victory.

March 12, 2022, LAS VEGAS, LAS VEGAS, NV, United States: LAS VEGAS, NV - March 12: Sodiq Yusuff meets with the press following the win at the UFC Apex for UFC Vegas 50 - Santos vs Ankalaev - Event on March 12, 2022 in LAS VEGAS, United States. LAS VEGAS United States - ZUMAp175 20220312_zsa_p175_012 Copyright: xLouisxGrassex
Would make for a banger. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

That should leave Wood set up to face some top 15 competition, he’s somewhere right around the same level as Lerone Murphy. Honestly, Wood vs. Murphy wouldn’t even be a bad fight. But I never like matching guys up from the same fight cards, and there are plenty of other options out there. Edson Barboza, or Alex Caceres would both be obvious steps up. As would Sodiq Yusuff. Actually, that Yusuff fight sounds pretty cool. Why not book Nathaniel Wood vs. ‘Super’ Sodiq Yusuff for a true featherweight banger?


It didn’t begin on the best foot for Paul Craig, who found himself getting out-struck in an ugly kickboxing match for most of the first round against Andre Muniz. But by round 2, both men were much more sold on the idea that they needed to grapple. Muniz might have had the upper hand, but a head clash and following standup saw Craig seize the initiative, and once he got it he never let it go. A strong GnP win for the ‘Bear Jew’ and one that might even have him ranked in the middleweight division next week.

If that’s the case, then there are a whole ton of fights that the UFC should throw Craig right into. Brendan Allen, Jack Hermansson, Roman Dolidze? All those would be a ton of fun. If he can’t get a ranked fight, there’s also Park Jun-yong or Rodolfo Vieira. But Dolidze is a former LHW himself and a ton of fun as a grappler. Dolidze vs. Craig is just too obvious a booking not to make it. Of course, there’s also the fact that Craig called out Bo Nickal. I don’t really think it’s the best booking for either guy, but it does feel like a fight the UFC might jump on if Nickal is happy to take it.


This fight was a struggle early on for Lerone Murphy. Josh Culibao came out leaning heavy on low kicks and ready to pounce on the Brit for his tendency to make some wild mistakes. The further the bout went, however, the more Murphy’s physicality started to take over. After a skimming liver kick in round 3, Murphy really got dominant on his way to a unanimous decision win. That keeps Murphy undefeated and has him calling for a top 15 test next time around.

At 32 and with a perfect record, it seems like it’s absolutely time for Murphy to test himself at the next level. That could mean fights with Alex Caceres, Edson Barboza, or Dan Ige. All those fights would be awesome, but it’s hard for me not to see Barboza on that list and not instantly think he’s the best option. Barboza vs. Murphy would be a great chance for Murphy to take on a real high-level seasoned vet.


A controversial victory at the end of the day, but it may be one Joel Alvarez gets to keep if the international governing body doesn’t have a clear process to appeal the loss. After a strong start in round 1 for the Spaniard, Marc Diakiese did well to get a takedown to start the second. After some tough scrambling that saw Alvarez make it back to his feet, both men traded heavy shots. Unfortunately one of those shots was a head clash that seemingly left Diakiese wobbled. The ref didn’t see it and the submission followed shortly afterward.

That victory bumps Alvarez up to 5-2 in the Octagon and gets him back to his winning ways (as long as it stands). Even if the win does get overturned, I doubt the UFC runs the fight back. Fights with Mark O. Madsen, Claudio Puelles, Joe Solecki, or Alexander Hernandez would all be solid options for ‘El Fenomeno’ next time around. Hernandez looked good last time out against Jim Miller, picking up a high profile win. And his combo of power striking and wrestling should make for a perfect setup for Alvarez’s sub game. Alvarez vs. Hernandez would be a thrilling battle for as long as it lasts.


It wasn’t a pretty fight, but it was a win Vieira badly needed if she wanted to keep her spot in the contender’s circle in the women’s bantamweight division. After all, with Amanda Nunes now retired, the belt really is wide open for anyone that can climb up and grab a chance at gold. It’s too bad that Vieira already lost a split decision to Raquel Pennington recently, because that’s the kind of win she absolutely needs right now. Instead, she’ll have to fight all the way down to Macy Chiasson or Karol Rosa at the moment if she wants to get a fresh matchup.

I wouldn’t mind the Rosa booking, but coming off a recent terrible title fight loss, I think the real fight to make is a rematch against Irene Aldana. The Mexican got a dominant KO victory over Vieira back in 2019, one that really seemed to kill Vieira’s confidence for a while. If Vieira can get that win back, it’d go a long way to her title hopes. If she can’t, it’s just the kind of return Aldana needs. Vieira vs. Aldana 2 is a quality rematch to make.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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