UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Volkov vs. Aspinall

The UFC returns to the UK to put on a stacked Saturday afternoon card! Check out what MMA handicapper Christian Broughton’s best bets are for UFC London: Volkov vs. Aspinall
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UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Volkov vs. Aspinall

Nikita Krylov vs. Paul Craig Prediction

Nikita Krylov vs. Paul Craig

Preliminary Card - Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 2:40 p.m. EST.

I just want to start off by saying that this should be one of the top fights on the billing, and it’s a disgrace that it’s not even on the main card or headlining the prelims. Now it's time to get down to business…

If you’ve been a religious Paul “The Bearjew” Craig backer, particularly on his inside the distance props, then it’s a good chance you’re a big fan of his by now. He’s 7-4-1 in the UFC, with all his wins coming via stoppage, and in most cases, he’s got those wins as a decent sized underdog. And what’s especially great about Craig, is that he’s almost always going to fight to his strengths, which surprisingly isn’t a common trait with a lot of fighters.

Craig is a submission grappler, and his most feared weapon is his triangle choke, of which, it has led to 4 (3 officially) of his 7 UFC wins. Craig is more than just a one-trick pony though. His striking and wrestling have both improved substantially over the past couple years, and although they will not directly lead him to wins alone, they do enable him to transition his fights more calculatedly into a grappling affair.

Nikita Krylov is a pretty tough outing for anyone. He’s well-rounded, durable, and is not afraid to mix-it-up. The main issues I have with him though, are his decision-making skills, and relatedly, his tendency to put himself in disadvantageous positions against superior grapplers, which often have resulted in him giving up a submission.

All-in-all, I do see Krylov as the slightly more polished fighter, with the more precise striking. However, Craig’s process, heart, and fight-ending submission skills are what I see winning him this fight. With both fighters yielding a 55% takedown defense and a combined average of 1.7 takedowns landed per 15 minutes (per UFCStats.com), there’s no real question that this fight will hit the mat at some point (barring a wild early KO). This means that Craig will be in his element, at least once, and from there I see him getting the submission, or at the very least, reversing position, securing top control, claiming minutes, and working for one later in the fight.

Nikita Krylov vs. Paul Craig Pick

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Arnold Allen vs. Dan Hooker Prediction

Arnold Allen vs. Dan Hooker

Co-Main Event - Featherweight (145lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 6:15 p.m. EST.

This is an excellent and competitive fight, and one where I fully expect to see 15-minutes of action. A lot has been made of Dan Hooker dropping back down to 145lbs after over 5 years up at 155lbs, but more often than not, fighters moving down weight classes often don’t materialize in a drop-off in durability.

So, with this in mind, I expect to see both these hard-nosed fighters meet in the middle and engage in a high-volume striking battle. This will create action, but neither fighter is known for possessing supreme finishing ability, so I’d be pretty shocked to see a finish.

For this reason, I do like taking the fight to go the distance prop. And as I see it going to the scorecards, this also makes me like Arnold Allen at his -110 price tag. He’ll have the hometown crowd firmly behind him, he could be the more durable fighter at this point, and not to overlook that, he is the fighter trending upwards right now, whereas Hooker has gone 1-3 over his last 4, and has looked somewhat out-of-sorts recently.

Arnold Allen vs. Dan Hooker Pick

Alexander Volkov vs. Tom Aspinall Prediction

Alexander Volkov vs. Tom Aspinall

Main Event - Heavyweight (265lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 6:45 p.m. EST.

There’s been a lot of love on Tom Aspinall coming into this one, so it’s no surprise to see that his betting odds have now flipped from him being around a +120 underdog, into a -120 favorite (best odds).

Now, I get what there is to like about Aspinall, he’s well-rounded, composed, and looks to have his head in the perfect frame of mind to take on the very best in the world. That said, we haven’t seen him take on some of the best in the world yet, so we can’t say for sure about how his skills are going to translate against the highest level of opposition.

Alexander Volkov is not only one of the most skilled strikers in the heavyweight division, but his lengthy 6’7” frame and 80” reach make him a nightmare to deal with in range striking matches. Then, on top of this, he’s got decent takedown defense and BJJ to boot, with the former only really having been exposed in the UFC by Curtis Blaydes.  

I understand that Volkov didn’t look great his last time out when he took on Marcin Tybura. But Tybura is one of those guys where, if you don’t finish him, he’s very difficult to look good against. So, that, combined with the fact that anyone is prone to an off-night, is enough reason for me to overlook that particular performance.

I’m not going to come out here and proclaim that Tom Aspinall is not the real deal, but I will say that we’ve seen too many surging heavyweight prospects present themselves, only to get derailed when they cross paths with a more seasoned top-tier fighter, particularly in their first UFC 5-round fight (just look at what happened to Chris Daukaus at the end of last year).

I see a lot to like from Aspinall, but until I see him prove it over 5 rounds against a top established fighter, who’s going to pose problems that he’s never faced before in a competition environment, I just have to look to the savvy vet as the reliable underdog.  

Alexander Volkov vs. Tom Aspinall Pick

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Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.

 

Event: UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs. Aspinall / UFC London: Volkov vs. Aspinall / UFC on ESPN+ 62 / UFC Fight Night London / UFC London / #UFCLondon

Location & Venue: O2 Arena, London, England, United Kingdom

Date: Saturday, March 19th, 2022

Start Time: Main Card: 4 p.m. EST, Prelims:  1 p.m. EST.

Where To Watch: Main Card on ESPN+, Prelim Card on ESPN+

UFC Odds: Click here to view the full list of odds for UFC Fight Night: Alexander Volkov vs. Tom Aspinall

 

UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs. Aspinall Full Fight Card Predictions

UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs. Aspinall Main Event Prediction

Heavyweight (265lbs): Alexander Volkov vs. Tom Aspinall – Volkov via Decision

UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs. Aspinall Main Card Predictions

Featherweight (145lbs): Arnold Allen vs. Dan Hooker – Allen via Decision

Lightweight (155lbs): Paddy Pimblett vs. Rodrigo Vargas – Pimblett via Submission

Welterweight (170lbs): Gunnar Nelson vs. Takashi Sato – Nelson via Submission

(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Molly McCann vs. Luana Carolina – McCann via Decision

Lightweight (155lbs): Jai Herbert vs. Ilia Topuria – Topuria via Submission

UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs. Aspinall Prelim Card Predictions

Featherweight (145lbs): Mike Grundy vs. Makwan Amirkhani – Grundy via Decision

Heavyweight (265lbs): Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Sergei Pavlovich – Pavlovich via KO/TKO

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Nikita Krylov vs. Paul Craig – Craig via Submission

Bantamweight (135lbs): Jack Shore vs. Timur Valiev – Shore via Decision

(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Cory McKenna vs. Elise Reed – McKenna via Decision

Flyweight (125lbs): Muhammad Mokaev vs. Cody Durden – Mokaev via Submission

*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.

Click here to check out the all the Best Odds for the Fights!

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insightpicks

A former sportsbook trader with a passion for mixed martial arts. If there is value to be found then Christian is the man to find it.

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