UFC Fight Night 130 - Liverpool Breakdown & Predictions
When is UFC Fight Night 130? Sunday 27th May, 2018 - 16:00 start (UK)
Where is UFC Fight Night 130? Echo Arena, Liverpool, UK
What channel is UFC Fight Night 130 on? BT Sport 2
Where can I stream UFC Fight Night 130? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website
Stephen Thompson vs Darren Till
The UFC arrives at Liverpool for the very first time and it’s all for the ‘The Gorilla’ – Darren Till. The proud Liverpudlian has blazed onto the scene after a string of impressive performances including his dismantling and destruction of Donald Cerrone which has fast-tracked him to the top of the welterweight pile and a meeting with former title challenger Stephen Thompson.
‘Wonderboy’ Thompson is at the top of the food chain when it comes to striking. The unbeaten Kickboxing champion rose to 13-1 before taking on Tyron Woodley for the title but narrowly fell short on two attempts. On the way he knocked out some of the best fighters in the division, including the current middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
The anticipation for this fight is fizzing. The confidence and charisma of Till has made sure everyone is talking about him, and combining this with the compelling stylistic match-up of another elite and exciting fighter, makes this fight unmissable.
This will be a stand-up battle of the highest calibre with intriguing contrast. Wonderboy is patient and will look to conduct the distance as usual, just staying out of the range of Till and utilize his bouncing, in-and-out movement to counter strike with deadly accuracy.
Till, on the other hand, will be aggressive and look to close the distance, get his opponent up against the fence and hurt Wonderboy as much and as often as possible with powerful combinations.
The deciding factor in this fight will be distance control. If Wonderboy can keep circling and keep moving to subdue the pressure of Till, he’ll be able to show off his world class technique to find the knockout from a range where he cannot be hit back.
Till can neutralize Thompson himself by cutting him down with footwork and controlling the centre of the octagon. If he can get close and even pin him to the fence and combine 1-2’s, uppercuts and elbows he can brutally pick Wonderboy apart.
You can’t bet against Thompson in a stand-up battle and this is the biggest test possible of Till’s striking credentials so if he succeeds the hype is real. Although they have the same dimensions, Till will enter the cage bigger, heavier and stronger but his confidence will be crucial.
Many fighters hesitate to throw in front of Thompson which just plays into his hands but there will be zero hesitation from Till and there is just something about his confidence/arrogance that makes you feel that he is the real deal.
Winner: Till via KO/TKO
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.
Neil Magny vs Craig White
Gunnar Nelson withdrew from the card due to a knee injury leaving Neil Magny without an opponent two weeks out. Step up Craig White for his UFC debut which was earned after four phenomenal performances for Cage Warriors.
He has made short work of his last four opponents with three submissions and one knockout, staying true to his reputation as an exciting finisher. White has only been to a decision once in his career and that was a loss back in 2012.
Magny should be wary of the threat of White but considering his experience of fighting the best fighters in the world for the last three years, he is fully expected to make short work himself at UFC Fight Night 130.
Magny will feel like he can finish the fight as he pleases but it won’t be that easy. White is very experienced for his age and he doesn’t just grind out wins, he finishes fights – on the feet and on the ground.
However, Magny is in a different league compared to the fighters he has fought but there is nothing to lose and everything to gain for White which puts the pressure on Magny.
If the fight remains on the feet we should expect Magny to outclass White but if the fight goes to the ground it could be a different story. White is very tricky on the mat and is very aggressive, even off his back which does leave him open to getting submitted himself.
Although this could be closer than people expect, you have to back Magny’s experience and reach advantage to dictate the fight.
Winner: Magny via Decision
Arnold Allen vs Mads Burnell
The next fighter flying the flag for England is Arnold Allen who welcomes Mads Burnell to the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Physically, they are almost identical and very experienced considering they are only 24 years old.
Allen has won all three of his UFC fights so far and is hoping to push his overall winning streak to six with a win over Burnell. The Dane got submitted by Michel Prazeres in his first UFC fight but bounced back with a decision win over Mike Santiago.
These guys are both very promising talents with an abundance of skill. Burnell is a real grinder; an effective grappler with a strong top game which has allowed him to pull off five submissions. So, Burnell is expected to take Arnold down and attempt to keep him there.
However, Arnold is incredibly well-rounded and is one of Britain’s brightest prospects for a reason. He is a terrific grappler himself with exceptional Jiu-Jitsu but his biggest threat to Burnell is on the feet. With power and a Kickboxing background, he is one of the most dangerous knockout artists in the featherweight division.
He has too many tools for Burnell and is chomping at the bit to get back in the cage after more than a year out.
Winner: Allen via KO/TKO
Jason Knight vs Makwan Amirkhani
Fan-favourite Jason Knight makes his first appearance on European soil and is desperate for a win after two losses in a row. These were at the hands of Ricardo Lamas and Gabriel Benitez who are two of the best fighters in the division so despite the losses, the experience will be valuable.
He takes on Makwan Amirkhani who makes the short trip from Ireland where he trains with the SBG team. He has looked very impressive in his four UFC fights even though his last fight was a loss - a tight decision against Arnold Allen who is also on the card. After more than a year off, he is also desperate for that win.
Both these guys a very athletic, explosive and exciting fighters who are both exceptional grapplers, amassing 22 submissions between them.
Amirkhani seeks the submission through his wrestling where he relentlessly chases the takedown. The majority of Knight’s submissions, however, have come as the result of a knockdown which will be his first port of call against Amirkhani.
Knight’s style is reckless which although has earned him many fans, leaves him open to damage. The fight should start at a ferocious pace on the feet and Knight’s pressure is likely to force Amirkhani to shoot in for a takedown early.
Amirkhani’s takedowns will be key to stifling the aggression of Knight and grinding out a victory but it is hard to see Knight losing three in a row with the talent he possesses.
Winner: Knight via Decision
Davey Grant vs Manny Bermudez
Davey Grant is another English talent who has shown a lot of promise in his career. However, after reaching the final of The Ultimate Fighter in 2013, he has only fought twice due to a series of injuries. The first was a decision win over Marlon Vera in 2016 and the second a submission loss to Damian Stasiak seven months later.
Manny Bermudez has been very active however, fighting eight times since January 2016. He is also unbeaten and full of confidence after catching Albert Morales with a guillotine choke on his UFC debut.
Out of their combined 24 fights, 19 of them have finished via submission so you may presume how this fight will end. That said, the majority of the fight could stay on the feet with both fighters seeking one mistake to take the fight to the ground.
Grant is a tough veteran but the youth and form of Bermudez makes him the favourite with a submission or decision the most likely outcomes.
Winner: Bermudez via Decision
Eric Spicely vs Darren Stewart
Kicking off the main card in Liverpool is Eric Spicely and London’s own Darren Stewart, who are both clinging onto their UFC careers.
Stewart has had a tough time in the UFC. He arrived unbeaten and had his winning debut against Francimar Barroso in Brazil change from a TKO to a No Contest as a result of an appeal to the Brazilian commission.
Controversial to say the least but he got a rematch which he lost via decision and then disappointingly got submitted by Karl Roberson and then Julian Marquez. He is therefore – technically at least – without a win in his last four.
Spicely has also been finished in his last two fights by Antonio Carlos Junior via submission and Gerald Meerschaert via TKO.
The UFC gods have not been kind to Stewart. Potentially one loss away from being cut, he has been handed an awkward match-up in Spicely who is a submission artist. The game plan from Spicely will be clear and he will look for the takedown and submission.
Stewart has genuine knockout power in his hands and mixes in takedowns of his own to enable ground and pound but Spicely will want to keep the fight on the floor. With the pressure Spicely is also under, he will most likely play it safe and avoid the striking threat of Stewart at all costs and grapple his way to victory.
Winner: Spicely via Submission