Aspinall returns to the O2 Arena 364 days after suffering a terrible knee injury in his last main event

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Tom Aspinall returns home to right a wrong nearly one year to the date. Aspinall suffered a fight-ending knee injury at the O2 Arena in London last year. He looks to exorcise those frustrations on Marcin Tybura in the main event of UFC Fight Night 364 days later.

Aspinall (12-3) was setting the heavyweight division ablaze prior to his injury. The fast, athletic heavyweight set the all-time record for the shortest total fight time across five UFC fights. Then it all came crashing down. Aspinall took a poor step and suffered a debilitating knee injury 15 seconds into a main event fight against Curtis Blaydes last year. Another big win would have put Aspinall on the shortlist of title contenders, but he instead spent the year rehabbing from surgery. If fighting Aspinall was a scary proposition before, his newfound motivation is downright terrifying.

“I just feel like that year off helped me find what’s right for my body,” Aspinall told UFC.com. “It helped me figure myself out more as an athlete. Just going to the gym and smashing myself — four hours training a day and then just having the other 20 hours doing whatever I want — I’m not really like that anymore. I live as an athlete now. I make sure I get the right rest, the right recovery stuff. My diet is good. Everything is in a good spot now.”

Tybura (24-7) has quietly worked his way into relevance after it appeared like his best days were behind him. Tybura was an exciting prospect upon his UFC debut but struggled with a higher level of competition. He started well enough but eventually found himself in a career-worst 1-5 stretch. Tybura was at a crossroads in his career following a 59-second loss to Augusto Sakai in 2019 but made the adjustments necessary to embark on the best run of his UFC career.

“It was the darkest place of my life… It was a really hard time for me,” Tybura told CBS Sports. “I was fighting with my thoughts about quitting the sport. Maybe I don’t belong there anymore. I had the feeling that I didn’t want to be a gatekeeper just maintaining a spot in the rankings. I just wanted the feeling of fighting for something.

“Something was in my mind that didn’t let me give up on myself. I was trying to figure out what was wrong. Sometimes you need to learn how to approach fighting at such a high level in this sport.”

Check out the full interview with Marcin Tybura below.

The undercard features the return of English favorite Molly McCann when she takes on Julija Stoliarenko in a women’s flyweight bout. McCann has had a ton of success when she fights close to home in London as she scored a pair of knockouts in 2022 against Hannah Goldy and Luana Carolina. She’s in need of the same kind of result after suffering a setback against Erin Blanchfield her last time out.

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“My fiancée Ellis said, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it wouldn’t be knocked down in a day, either,'” McCann told UFC.com. “It just hit home. My world is not over. Go and reassess what actually matters. What matters to me the most in the world is my family, my friends and my gym. The way she handled herself through my biggest adversities, as much as she can be a little annoying divvy sometimes, when I really need her, she comes through in spades. I just realized that she’s the person I want to work through life with.”

Below is the rest of the fight card for Saturday night with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before we get to a prediction and pick on the main event.

UFC Fight Night card, odds
FAVORITE
UNDERDOG
WEIGHTCLASS
Tom Aspinall -450
Marcin Tybura +350
Heavyweight
Molly McCann -200
Julija Stoliarenko +170
Women’s flyweight
Nathaniel Wood -205
Andre Fili +170
Featherweight
Andre Muniz -220 Paul Craig +180 Middleweight
Fares Ziam -170 Jai Herbert +145 Lightweight
Lerone Murphy -150
Josh Culibao +125
Featherweight
UFC Fight Night viewing information
Date: July 22 | Start time: 3 p.m. ET (main card)
Location: O2 Arena – London, England
TV channel: ESPN+

Prediction
Tom Aspinall vs. Marcin Tybura: Aspinall is the new breed of heavyweight. Aspinall is a lean, athletic big man with a diverse skill set. Tybura is somewhere in between the traditional and modern heavyweight. The Polish fighter has versatile tools, if maybe not quite as technically sound as his foe, and appears to have leaned out in preparation for Saturday. Aspinall’s stat sheet is astounding. His offensive and defensive striking percentages — strikes landed per minute, takedown, and submission averages — all trump Tybura. The tape on Aspinall is admittedly short considering the brief nature of his fights, but what he’s exhibited is very impressive. Tybura has double the professional experience and five times the average UFC fight time. Aspinall appears to be in great shape but he hasn’t been forced to display five-round stamina. It’s imperative that Tybura drags his opponent into deep waters. It’s hard to get a full picture on Aspinall but what we’ve seen is tremendous. The sky is the limit and a finish is inbound if Aspinall has truly found a new level of commitment to his career. Aspinall via TKO2

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