LONDON — The UFC has hit a bad streak of luck as of late, with a second consecutive main event ruined on Saturday by freak injury.
A highly anticipated heavyweight matchup between Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall ended just 15 seconds into the first round, when Aspinall suffered a right knee injury. Aspinall, who is from England, grabbed his right knee in pain after bringing the leg back from an outside leg kick. Blaydes raised his arms in confusion as referee Herb Dean intervened.
Officially, the result of the fight is a victory for Blaydes (17-3), via injury TKO.
Since the fight only lasted 15 seconds, there wasn’t any kind of rhythm or momentum built. Aspinall (12-3) wasted no time coming forward and popping off shots. Blaydes threw two heavy counter punches as Aspinall threw the outside leg kick, the second of which grazed Aspinall but had nothing to do with the injury.
It’s an unfortunate finish for any fight, but especially one with so much on the line in the heavyweight division. Aspinall was 5-0 in the UFC going into this bout, with five finishes. His perfect record is gone now, as the result of a fluke injury. Blaydes, of Colorado, was looking to add a big name to his already-impressive resume. Blaydes is 11-3 in the UFC but still working towards his first title shot.
The division is in flux at the moment, as defending champion Francis Ngannou heals from knee surgery earlier this year. The UFC has hinted at a potential interim title fight that would feature former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, but as it stands, Jones has not fought in more than two years.