Serious injury ends UFC main event after 15 seconds (VIDEO)
Tom Aspinall suffered a gruesome knee injury in the opening seconds of the UFC London headliner
Surging heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall’s ascent to the summit of the heavyweight rankings took an unexpected detour on Saturday night when the impressive English fighter appeared to suffer a serious injury to his knee in the opening seconds of his keenly-anticipated UFC London main event opposite Curtis Blaydes.
Aspinall has been supremely impressive in his UFC run to date. The 29-year-old has recorded the lowest average fight time in heavyweight history after finishing four of his five opponents so far inside the first round – with the other just making it past a minute of the second round – but in American wrestler Blaydes, he was set to face a stern test of his heavyweight title credentials.
One again, the bout saw a quick conclusion – but not the way he, or anyone else, was expecting.
Michael Bisping spoke to the doctors and they’re speculating it’s an MCL injury given the amount of pain Tom Aspinall was in, what does everyone else think the injury might be? pic.twitter.com/8e5rzah06o
— Zoheb MMA (@ZohebMMA) July 23, 2022
The #UFCLondon main event ends in a victory for @RazorBlaydes265 after an unfortunate knee injury to Tom Aspinall. pic.twitter.com/Ek5GsUIZEr
— UFC (@ufc) July 23, 2022
With the backing of a buoyant crowd inside London’s O2, Aspinall made good on his promise to attack from the off – but in the very opening exchange he appeared to land awkwardly on his knee after throwing a heavy leg kick and crumpled to the canvas in obvious agony.
Referee Herb Dean quickly called off the fight, while Blaydes looked on with an expression of disappointed confusion.
Aspinall remained on the canvas for several minutes as a brace was attached to his leg – with the significant pain he was experiencing firmly etched across his face.
“I wish the injury hadn’t have happened,” Blaydes said, echoing the thoughts of the thousands of rowdy fans packed into the arena in the English capital.
It was the second time in the span of a week that a UFC main event was brought to a premature end due to an unexpected injury, after Brian Ortega dislocated his shoulder early into his fight with Yair Rodriguez last weekend, and put the cap on what was a strangely subdued night in London.
Hometown heroes Molly McCann and Paddy Pimblett both secured impressive victories as they continued to enhance their reputations (with the latter offering a stirring speech on male mental health in the aftermath of his submission win against Jordan Leavitt) but elsewhere, the card failed to ignite – with UK fighters Paul Craig and Mason Jones both suffering dispiriting losses.
The loss for Aspinall, though, is the most disappointing given that it will almost certainly lead to him facing and extended spell on the sidelines as he recovers from his injury.
But there were no hard feelings between he and Blaydes – as Aspinall detailed on Instagram in the hours after the fight that he and his American rival shared a beer once the dust had settled.
“A beer makes everything feel better,” wrote Aspinall.
“What a guy, big Curtis and his team popped up to say hello. Freak accidents happen unfortunately, tonight wasn’t my night. Love u all xx.”