Best bets for UFC Fight Night 224: Aspinall vs. Tybura

July 21, 2023 10:45 PM


Best bets for UFC Fight Night 224: Aspinall vs. Tybura

The first bell for London’s UFC Fight Night this Saturday rings at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT stateside, so prepare yourselves, fight enthusiasts.

Fifteen of the thirty athletes on this card are of English, Irish, Scottish, Spanish or French heritage, an important aspect of these bouts, and only two fights feature fighters competing outside of Europe.

The last London fight card was this past March. On that card, we witnessed welterweight champion Leon Edwards defend his title against Kamau Usman, but more importantly, we witnessed the European athletes succeed in nine of their 12 bouts.

Many fight enthusiasts feel the UFC, in its zeal to expand its product, often presents certain local competitors’ ‘favorable’ matchups. You may include me in that many, but with that said, the potential advantage lies not in siding with the locals but in handicapping which one it will be that may falter!

Tom Aspinall -490 vs. Marcin Tybura +370

Heavyweight (265 pounds) main event

Tenth-ranked Polish heavyweight Tybura enters having won seven of his last eight bouts. A black belt in BJJ, Tybura is a threat in the clinch, pressing opponents against the fence and earning top position on the ground when he can take the fight to the mat.

On his feet, Tybura is somewhat deliberate, telegraphing and often hesitant to fire combinations, choosing to maul, clasp and hug.

In this fight, Tybura will face the most dangerous test of his career. Fifth-ranked Englishman Tom Aspinall will be the taller, younger, quicker and more athletic big man in the cage. However, Aspinall enters this fight off a knee-injury loss to Curtis Blaydes last July.

It’s my belief that a year is the minimal amount of time a fighter would need to be 110% ready to fight again, coming off an ACL. The MMA community will scrutinize Aspinall’s recovery and performance, so it’s important for the young man to arrive prepared and ready for the firmest test of his career.

If on his game, Aspinall is a deft-moving, athletic black belt in BJJ. In fact, Aspinall’s dad is a black belt, so mixed martial arts are what Aspinall was born into, and we can only surmise that his preparation for this fight has him ready to perform.

I do have several questions in this fight, though. How does Aspinall move and maneuver, especially early when he has been so lethal prior to this setback? Will he be hesitant to fire, engage or initiate? Can Tybura back Aspinall up and force the clinch and force Aspinall to hurl leverage and pressure on that injured leg? Should Tybura force this fight to the floor and even gain top position, will he be able to hold authority over Aspinall, who is trained with similar BJJ weaponry than he? 

And the most important question, which is critical to Tybura’s chances—what happens should Tybura be able to take this fight past two rounds? Aspinall’s fought into the second round in only one of his last several bouts. Logically, Aspinall will try to finish his opponent early, but what happens if he cannot get the durable, tough Polish pugilist out of there in the first ten minutes?

For Tybura, it’s about taking Aspinall into the second round, then deeper. Tybura must deploy forward pressure and use his durability to force Aspinall to defend, toil, and, ideally, tire.

Tybura knows his best opportunity in this fight, outside of a flash spinning kick or KO of some form, is to force Aspinall to fight past the second round and take him where he has not been before. Tybura may be able to test the Englishman’s cardio, his knee, and ultimately his will.

Total in this fight: 1.5 Rounds Under -175

Pick: Lean Over

Chris Duncan -145 vs. Yanal Ashmouz +120 

Lightweight (175 pounds)

Each of these combatants was featured in the last London event. Each won their respective bouts. Ashmouz, the short, squat Israeli, proved to be explosive and powerful, while the taller, longer Scotsman Duncan performed like an athlete that needs to develop some wrestling ability, refine his strike defense and increase his cardio.

It’s dangerous to consider positioning against a local European athlete competing in London town, but in this case, I feel that Ashmouz, a fighter best judged by his abilities as opposed to his physique, is in a strong position to soften Duncan’s body early then touch him up later in the fifteen-minute fight.

Pick: Ashmouz +130

Props later this week may prove interesting especially based on the total price below.

Total in this fight: 2.5 Rounds Under -175

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