Tom Aspinall celebrates his UFC victory

The UFC heads to The O2 in London, England, this weekend with another exciting fight card. The main event features a heavyweight showdown between #5 Tom Aspinall and #10 Marcin Tybura.

All the action will kick off with the prelims at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT, leading up to the main card at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT, available exclusively on ESPN+.

In this article, we’ll be dissecting this intriguing main event match-up, looking at the betting odds, giving our own fight predictions, and offering some insightful betting tips. And remember, this is just the main event! We’ve got predictions for all the fights on this card on our UFC predictions page, so be sure to check it out.

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Betting Odds

Moving on to the betting odds, the oddsmakers have placed Aspinall as the significant favorite at -460, reflecting the high expectations on the British heavyweight. Meanwhile, Tybura is set as the underdog, with a betting line of +335.

  • Tom Aspinall: -460 (BetUS)
  • Marcin Tybura: +335 (BetUS)

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Aspinall vs. Tybura Predictions

Braeden Arbour

Tom Aspinall is a major betting favorite, and with good reason. Aspinall is supremely well-rounded, especially for the heavyweight division. He is light on his feet and much quicker than the average man in his weight class. He has very fluid footwork, and because he is constantly moving on his toes he is difficult to pin in space and shoot on, without him getting his hips back and defending. He likes a slick 1-2 backed by just as unusual hand speed, which he sets up by pressuring his opponent back while feinting kicks up center.

Tybura is also a relatively well-rounded fighter; he has shown capabilities in knocking out opponents, out grappling them and dragging them to clear decisions. However, while his power and offensive boxing is solid, he has shown a tendency to keep his head on the center when exchanging which has cost him. Both of these men are 4-1 in their last five but it is notable that Aspinall’s loss came by a somewhat freak injury. In Tybura’s case, two of his victories – Greg Hardy and Walt Harris are impressive in the aspect that he was able to rally back from trouble, and demonstrate superior grappling and gas tank later in the fight. However, the two opponents are also fairly one-dimensional in their style, and depending on his grappling after losing striking exchanges, I do not think it will be an easy route opposite Aspinall.

Until he goes there, the later rounds will always be a point of suspicion when it comes to Aspinall. With not one of his 15 fights seeing a third round, Asinall’s speedy style could be a product of never having to conserve that energy, and Tybura has shown that he can work his way back into a fight later on. That being said, Aspinall has also not actually shown any signs of cardio-endurance problems, and this is merely an unknown – credit has to be given to the fact that he has been able to finish men who we know can drag out crafty veteran fights like Arlovski and Volkov.

In terms of betting value, it will be difficult for Aspinall to submit Tybura but a knockout is likely, especially early on. Aspinall is an unappealing favorite at -460, and even Aspinall by stoppage is -325. BetUs does not allow one to parlay the predicted winner with under 1.5 rounds, but a solid bet would be Tom Aspinall to win in round 2 for +300 if Tybura can potentially tie up and survive in a situation where he is hurt early. That is a big if, and if you would like to play it just a bit more safe, splitting a $100 bet between Aspinall to win in round 1 and Aspinall to win in round two would guarantee either doubling your money or breaking even if Aspinall continues his trend of avoiding a third round.

Pick: Split individual bets – Aspinall to win in round 1 (+100) Aspinall to win in round 2 (+300)

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Michael Pounders

With a cinematic-like arc, England native Tom Aspinall makes his highly-anticipated return to the octagon this Saturday. Aspinall’s career, thus far, has been similar to a plot of a movie. He trained overseas from a young age specifically for MMA. In the past, most UFC fighters began with a single discipline- boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, karate, Muay Thai, etc- and then grew from their speciality to a more holistic mixed martial arts fighter.

Aspinall represented more of the new age crop of fighters who trained all, or at least as many as possible, aspects of MMA from a young age, rather than a single discipline. Coming to the UFC from an overseas promotion, and doing so at a young age, many did not know what to expect from the young fighter. The most notable piece of information to the general public was that Aspinall trained with Tyson Furry, heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Still, even though he was favored in his UFC debut, his implied odds were modest considering what he did in those fights and where he is now. A

fter submitting Arlovski in the second round, Aspinall earned the respect and recognition of most in the UFC community. He was being touted as a possible title contender despite only being 27 and only having 13 professional fights. He responded to the pressure with back-to-back first-round finishes of ranked heavyweights and earned his shot at a title-eliminating fight. That was the peak, so far, of his cinematic story.

But, as in most stories, Aspinall faced extreme difficulty and a significant setback when he injured his knee in the first 15 seconds of that title-eliminating fight. I share Aspinall’s story to highlight a few key aspects of his game.

First, he’s a new-age heavyweight with a complete mixed martial arts skill set. He is an elite boxer with incredibly fast hands, real knockout power, and phenomenal footwork. He is also a fantastic wrestler and grappler who can athletically shoot takedowns, secure them, and fluidly find submissions from top position.

Second, Aspinall’s trajectory before the knee injury was toward the title; and, outside of a few moments here and there, he never really showed a weakness or hole in his skillset. The few possible avenues to beat Aspinall center around his defensive boxing. While Aspinall is likely the best boxer in the heavyweight division, he can sometimes stay in the pocket a spilt second too long and he tends to carry his hands low and chin high, relying on footwork to defend counters rather than a high guard.

Said more simply, even though Aspinall is hard to hit, because he can get clipped from time to time, in a division with 250lb men and 4oz gloves, a flash knockout is always a possible upset. His knee injury is the biggest question in his return. For all fighters, for all athletes, returning from a knee injury like this presents obstacles and questions. But, given that Aspinall’s primary defense is his mobility and footwork, a healthy leg is even more important than the average. Assuming he’s fully healthy, and we have no reason to think otherwise, Aspinall should return on his title-caliber track, with some of the best skills in the entire division.

Tybura has a much more basic style and story compared to his opponent. He’s been in the UFC since 2016 and has amassed an 11-6 record. In those 17 UFC fights, Tybura has been an underdog or at pick’em odds 11 times. That illustrates that many bettors and Vegas often underestimate “Tybur.” The most likely reason for being underestimated is his style. Tybura is a wrestler and slow kickboxer with a chin issue. Typically, Tybura looks to kickbox early in fights to keep range and avoid the pocket. His kicks are often slow but deceptively athletic.

That is to say he doesn’t snap his kicks out quickly but he’s flexible enough to land them at a variety of heights from a variety of angles which often means they connect with accuracy. Tybura typically looks to avoid boxing range, or the pocket, because his hands are a touch slow and his chin is unreliable. He has a large head and can absorb punishment, he hasn’t been knocked out since 2019, but that strategy has an expiration date; if he’s hit enough, he’ll drop.

Therefore, Tybura typically prefers to be all the way out, at kicking range, or all the way in, clinch fighting or wrestling. Tybura is an accredited wrestler who times his shots well but doesn’t always finish them to the mat. Instead, Tybura will look for a takedown but be content ending against the cage in the clinch where his natural strength and low center of gravity help him hold position.

Speaking as unbiased as I can, if Aspinall is fully healthy, he should run through Tybura with ease. Aspinall is world’s better on the feet, and, at worst, an equally adept grappler. Beyond their skillsets, Tybua’s lay and pray style against the cage or on the mat is effective for 3 round fights but problematic for 5 rounds. He’s been able to rack up control time with little damage in 2 of 3 rounds but needs to increase that to 3 of 5 if he hopes to win a decision in a similar way to his previous fights.

That’s a tall order considering how athletic, strong, and dangerous Aspinall is. I expect Aspinall to severely outclass Tybura on the feet; and, so long as his leg holds up to the inevitable leg kicks of Tybura, find a quick finish. I prefer to bet Aspinall in parlays, with Wood, McCann, and Murphy because his injury poses questions. But, I’m still confident he’ll find the finish before the 5 rounds are up, likely by knockout.

Best Bet: Aspinall to win by knockout (-150)

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Joe Pounders

Marcin “Tybur” Tybura is an underappreciated heavyweight talent, as he is 7-1 since the start of 2020. Often, the way in which Tybura secures victories is through his well-rounded ability, as he is one of a handful of heavyweights who seeks to clinch against the cage, drag his way to the mat through methodical strikes and level changes, and work submissions from top positions. While this way of winning is a strong tactic within a division of minimally strong grapplers, Tybura often stalls in the clinch when he faces the higher end of the division, and if he can eventually find his way to the mat, his ground game often seeks control over fight-ending positions.

Having stalled tactics against talented fighters may seem to be a significant concern, but Tybura’s experience has allowed him to learn how to win close fights when utter dominance is out of the question. We saw this occur in his two most recent bouts when he beat respected grapplers. In those fights, Tybura was able to lean on his toughness on the feet, ability to maintain pressure, and ultimately land more strikes than he absorbed. Knowing how to win close fights is a talent, and this talent is exacerbated for him given his well-rounded game often allows him to be in close fights.

Fighting in close bouts due to a lack of ability to dominate opponents is not a concern for Tom Aspinall. Prior to his last bout, Aspinall was 5-0 in the UFC and finished all fights inside two rounds. What makes this feat even more impressive is that Aspinall secured finish victories through a plethora of attacks, as he showcased the ability to have fast, powerful striking while also having elite wrestling and a strong submission game.

His performances throughout the UFC earned him a shot at top contender, Curtis Blaydes, and while his record states he lost the fight via TKO/KO in round one, the true outcome of that fight was him facing a devasting knee injury which caused the bout to stop. Coming off that injury now nearly one year later, Aspinall will look to show that he is indeed healthy, and if so, he possesses elite speed, power, wrestling, and a submission game on top to dominate this and nearly any fight against opponents outside the top 5 as he himself is a title-contending talent.

The odds indicate that Aspinall should win this fight convincingly, as he is a -500 favorite and is -325 to finish the fight inside the distance. The price of the fight is indeed steep, as Tybura is a battle-tested veteran who has faced a variety of heavyweight talents. While the case, the slow movement of his fight game accompanied by him having demonstrable trouble against top 5 talents makes me very confident in backing Aspinall here. Moreover, the fact that Aspinall can finish the fight anywhere parlayed with him having all five of his UFC victories inside of two rounds, I am electing to go him to win in either one or two at a price of -200.

Bet: Aspinall to win 1 or 2 (-200)

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