UFC London talking points: Tom Aspinall and Paddy Pimblett shine in remarkable night for British fighters

Paddy Pimblett and Tom Aspinall were unstoppable in London

UFC Fight Night 204 could be considered the greatest in history.

It was a standout night in London, with seven wins in total for the British fighters.

Heavyweight Tom Aspinall shone while lightweight Paddy Pimblett and featherweight Arnold Allen produced first-round finishes, and flyweight fighter Molly McCann claimed her knockout of the year award.

BBC Sport looks at five talking points from UFC London.

British MMA is booming

Aside from Michael Bisping’s 2016 middleweight title win, has there ever been a more successful night for British fighters in the UFC?

Aspinall, Allen, Pimblett, Paul Craig and Muhammad Mokaev all won the first round, while McCann and Jack Shore scored impressive victories.

It’s not impossible that Aspinall, Allen and Craig are one win away from a title fight in their respective divisions.

UFC President Dana White claimed the event was the biggest UFC fight night in history, and he will bring the promotion back later this year.

Then there’s Leon Edwards, who wasn’t on the card on Saturday night but was in attendance at the 02 Arena.

Earlier this week, White confirmed Edwards will fight welterweight champion Kamaru Usman for the UFC title after racking up a nine-fight winning streak.

Now is a great time to be a mixed martial arts fan in the UK.

Are Pimblett and McCann the best duo in the UFC?

Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann
The Liverpudlians scored big wins at UFC London

The popularity of teammates Pimblett and McCann is evident.

Some of the night’s best moments and loudest cheers involved the pair.

The big screen showed Pimblett’s backstage celebration of McCann’s stunning knockout, and McCann joined Pimblett inside the cage to share his post-fight triumph.

And they’re delivering the results to back up the hype, with both fighters now on two-fight winning streaks.

They have some competition though – Darren Till and Khamzat Chimaev’s friendship, recounted on social media, has generated a lot of interest among fans in recent months.

Do you think McCann and Pimblett surpass them as the best duo in the UFC? Get involved #bbcmma.

Aspinall shines in the spotlight

Although Aspinall cut a relaxed figure this week, it’s unclear how any fighter will react to the main stage until he stands on it.

The UK has never had a true heavyweight contender in the UFC and Aspinall could become one of the biggest stars in the country if he continues on this trajectory.

“Everything I dreamed of and more,” Aspinall said of her performance.

“I saw a lot of media and people saying I would feel the pressure – other people might feel the pressure, but not me.”

With five wins and five stoppages in the UFC, Aspinall is poised to become a top five contender in a division filled with potentially exciting fight opportunities.

“He’s in the discussion now to fight anyone,” White said of Aspinall, with the Englishman saying in his post-fight press conference that he wanted to fight in the Kingdom again. United this year.

Craig is a legitimate contender at light heavyweight

Craig produced one of the most defining moments of the first preliminaries with a fantastic triangle submission from Ukraine’s Nikita Krylov.

Craig, 34, told BBC Sport ahead of the fight “people will see a Paul Craig who they see as a title contender” – and the Scotsman delivered.

His jiu-jitsu once again saved him from a perilous position and is a great example of how quickly defense can turn into attack.

A victory over contender number nine Krylov will see Craig climb up the standings. With four straight wins by stoppage, it’s Craig’s career-best streak in the UFC, a true purple smudge of form for light heavyweight.

Craig is calling for a fight with former title contender Anthony Smith in Glasgow and there’s never been a better time for the UFC to return to Scotland with him as the star.

Mokaev is the UK’s brightest prospect

Muhammad Mokaev needed just 58 seconds to earn his first UFC victory. The 21-year-old was composed and ruthless on the biggest stage of his career and made light work of American Cory Durden.

Although it was the first fight of the night, Mokaev enjoyed huge support in the O2 Arena with an electric atmosphere from the start. The Dagestan-born Brit still has a long way to go before he can qualify as a true contender, but after the second fastest finish in UFC flyweight history, the sky’s the limit for this extremely talented.

Heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua was one of many blown away by Mokaev’s win.

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