The UFC is coming back to the 02 Arena in London on 27th February 2016 kicking off the European leg of its 2016 schedule.
As we have seen in throughout European fight cards the UFC really does like to utilise its local talent and with that in mind the good folks at #WHOATV have come up with a number of bouts we would love to see, featuring some of our favourite UK fighters.
So sit back and enjoy as we bring you, Fantasy Island UFC London;
Michael Bisping Vs Lyoto Machida
Bisping was due to compete at UFC 193 in Australia against Robert Whittaker but was forced to withdraw due to an elbow injury. If Machida had dropped to Middleweight earlier in his career it would have been almost guaranteed that these two would have competed by now. At this stage in his career Machida is in big need of a win going 1-3 in his last four bouts, but in his defense all against top opponents. You could certainly support a claim for a Title shot for Bisping if he picked up a decisive win over Machida and for the British fans I feel that this could be a main event they have been due for a while.
Jimi Manuwa Vs Tom Lawlor
Whilst this one may not make total sense in terms of ranking wise I feel that it would be a very exciting bout and one which both men could gain a lot from. Manuwa at this stage in the division is there or there about with the top five, but given he is 1-2 in his last three needs a rebuilding fight against a tough opponent. Step forward Tom Lawlor who made his Light Heavyweight debut in July against Gian Villante and stopped him in the second round. Lawlor was then scheduled to fight Fabio Maldonado at UFC Fight Night 77 but picked up an injury and so timing wise this fight does work. Lawlor and Manuwa both look to push the pace and I really like the idea of Manuwa testing himself against an NCWA wrestling champion. Lawlor is definitely not the type of fighter to utilise the “lay and pray” strategy and he proved that in his last fight.
Tom Breese Vs Brandon Thatch
Well I think Breese’s fight against Pendred speaks for itself and proves that Breese is definitely not here to make up the numbers. How could you not put him on the next British card after that performance? In Thatch, Breese would have an opponent who has very dangerous striking and a very strong chin as proved in his fight against Benson Henderson. Given the way in which Breese stopped Pendred, he would definitely have the momentum and confidence behind him, but I think given that Thatch has lost his last two fights he will be as dangerous as ever in his next one knowing that he will desperately need a win to get himself into the top 10 of the Welterweight rankings. A win for Breese over someone like Thatch would certainly put the rest of the 170lbers on notice if they are under estimating him.
Sam Alvey Vs Scott Askham
Askham will feel hard done by in his recent bout loosing a decision win at UFC Dublin but he isn’t the type of guy to sit around and get upset with himself. You can guarantee he will be itching at the thought of getting another bout signed up asap. Smile’n Sam Alvey presents Askham with a very credible opponent and someone whom a win over really puts him back on the ladder towards the top. Alvey suffered his first TKO loss in his last bout against Brunson and its always interesting to see a fighter return following a brutal stoppage, something which Askham could look to expose. Both these guys are entertaining and fun to watch and with Askham chomping at the bit to get back in there a February return would suit him well.
Ross Pearson Vs Joe Lauzon
I’m not entirely sure how these two have not locked horns yet given their tenures in the Lightweight division, but I think right now this fight makes total sense. It would definitely be a sure pick for FOTN given both of these guys exciting styles. Pearson took a split decision win in his last fight over Paul Felder at UFC 191 and Lauzon stopped Takanori Gomi at UFC on Fox back in July 2015 and with both guys on win streaks a win would help to push the winner into a top 15 fight at a later date. Pearson definitely would be looking to put a show on in England given the way his last bout there ended with a controversial knee to the head from Melvin Guillard in just under 2 minutes of their bout. I would definitely be backing this one for FOTN which given their history would be a real possibility (Pearson – FOTN Twice, POTN Once Lauzon – SOTN Six Times, FOTN Six Times, KOTN Once).
Mike Wilkinson Vs Makwan Amirkhani
Well there is certianly no love lost between these two and this fight really sells itself. The beef stems from Wilkinson knocking out Backstrom in his last bout, which led to Amirkhani calling out Wilkinson. The Brit quickly responded saying that he Amirkhani would be “taught a lesson” if the two met. The Wilkinson win over Backstrom was one of the biggest upsets of the 2014 and Amirkhani scored a spectacular 8 second knockout of Andy Ogle in his last bout, setting up what could be a spectacular 145lbs bout if these two meet.
Brad Pickett Vs Bryan Caraway
Bryan Caraway manages to rub most UFC fans up the wrong way and what better way to make him even more heel than putting him up against probably the most respected British fighter in the UFC, Brad Pickett. Lets be honest, Pickett probably won’t be around forever and has a young child at home and other ventures which he is now exploring, but come on if the UFC is putting on an event in London he just needs to be part of it. Caraway is coming off a win over Eddie Wineland and is currently ranked #6 in the Bantamweight rankings so the fight might not be the most attractive for him, but it would give him the chance to compete against one of the very few men to hold a win over Demetrious Johnson in his own backyard. And part of me thinks that Caraway secretly loves being hated by the fans.
Arnold Allen Vs Brian Ortega
Young Arnold Allen stepped in on late notice in his UFC debut against Alan Omer and picked up a submission win and I think it would be a crime to have a UFC London show without him on it. A bout against Ortega would be a very solid test for Allen a some may say too tough a test for only his second UFC bout, but Allen has been fighting the odds his whole career and I really don’t think he would be worried about who he fought as long as it would be an exciting bout. Ortega is definitely an exciting fighter and in his last fight against Thiago Tavares showed just how much power he brings to the Featherweight division. Likewise, Allen has a power in both hands and an 80% stoppage record to back that up. Both of these guys have a very bright future in the UFC and the winner of this one would definitely be in place to ask for a top 15 fighter next.