- What: UFC Fight Night / UFC on ESPN+ 82
- Main Event: Tom Aspinall vs. Marcin Tybura
- Date: Saturday, July 22, 2023
- Location: 02 Arena in London, England
- Time: Prelims (12:00 p.m. ET) Main Card (3:00 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Prelims (ESPN+), Main Card (ESPN+)
On Saturday, July 22, a battle between two top-10 UFC heavyweights headlines the promotion’s return to the 02 Arena in London, England. That bout features England’s Tom Aspinall against Poland’s Marcin Tybura. Aspinall enters the UFC Fight Night card as the No. 5 fighter in the official UFC heavyweight rankings. Meanwhile, Tybura comes to UFC on ESPN+ 82 as the No. 10 fighter in the division. Here is some background on the fighters, before we discuss the betting breakdown for the UFC Fight Night card.
For Aspinall (12-3), UFC Fight Night 224 marks his first fight since July 23, 2022. That night, Aspinall was favored against No. 4 ranked Curtis Blaydes at the 02 Arena in London. However, the bout ended 15 seconds into the first round when Aspinall shredded his right knee, tearing his MCL, meniscus, and damaging his ACL. The TKO loss to Blaydes ended Aspinall’s eight-fight winning streak and his climb up the UFC heavyweight rankings.
Tybura (24-7) is riding a two-fight winning streak heading into UFC on ESPN+ 82. His most recent win was a February decision triumph over Blagoy Ivanov. Tybura is 7-1 in his past eight fights, with his only loss coming to Alexander Volkov via decision in October 2021. A win over Aspinall would lift the 37-year-old in the rankings.
UFC Fight Night 224 main event: Tom Aspinall vs. Marcin Tybura betting picks
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Tom Aspinall vs. Marcin Tybura betting breakdown
Heading into his bout against Curtis Blaydes, Aspinall was being talked about as a potential title challenger. He was coming off three straight “Performance of the Night” bonus-winning victories and had submitted Alexander Volkov in 3:45, one fight after Volkov topped Tybura by unanimous decision. The matchup opposite Blaydes looked like it would determine if Aspinall was a legitimate UFC heavyweight title threat.
This matchup does not have the same stakes. If anything, Aspinall vs. Tybura feels like a contest that was made to test Aspinall’s readiness to get back in the cage and perform at a high level. That’s not to say the fight isn’t important for Aspinall’s future. It is. If he loses to a fighter much lower than him in the rankings, Aspinall’s stock will plummet, and he’ll have a long road back to relevance in the division.
Aspinall is a fast starter. Of his five UFC wins, four have come via first-round stoppage, with a solid striking game to back up his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Of his three career losses, one came via injury, one via DQ for illegal elbows one via submission (in 2015). He is a fighter that has all the tools to at least challenge for UFC gold. Aspinall does his best work on the mat, but his speed on the feet and his ability to find openings for his fast counters also make him a threat in the striking department.
Tybura also holds a BJJ black belt, but all career submissions came before he joined the UFC in 2016. Since joining the promotion, he has been much more of a striker than grappler, with four UFC knockout wins.
Tom Aspinall vs. Marcin Tybura statistical breakdown
There is not a single significant stat where Tybura is better than Aspinall ahead of Saturday’s fight. Aspinall is No. 2 all-time in the UFC heavyweight division in significant strikes landed per minute at 7.41, No. 1 all-time in significant strike differential at plus 4.54, and No. 1 among active UFC heavyweights with two submissions per 15 minutes. He’s also second all-time in shortest average fight time at 2:30 per bout. Those numbers do not bode well for Tybura, who absorbs 3.31 strikes per minute vs. 3.55 strikes landed per minute and who was taken down twice by Alexandr Romanov and gave up 5:02 of control time in that 2022 matchup.
Best Bets for UFC Fight Night 224 main event: Tom Aspinall vs. Marcin Tybura
As I said above, this fight seems designed to give Aspinall a win. With that, the easy betting pick for the main event of the ESPN+ fight card is Aspinall to get the win. When it comes to the method of victory, things get tricky. Tybura has four UFC knockout losses but no submission defeats in his career. Aspinall can get things done on the feet or the ground, but in this matchup he might not want, or need, to tangle with another BJJ black belt on the mat.
As all MMA fights start on the feet, I think this one stays standing long enough for Aspinall to pick up the knockout win. As for the length of the contest, I expect the English fighter get things done before the scrap reaches the third round. In short, the best bet for the main event of UFC 224 is to pick Tom Aspinall to get an early knockout win.
For those who favor Tybura, his best route to victory is a knockout of his own, and with him being a sizable underdog, there might be some value in placing a small wager on that outcome.
Best UFC Fight Night main event betting pick: Tom Aspinall to beat Marcin Tybura via knockout
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