A lightweight scrap between Ilia Topuria and Jai Herbert has reportedly been added to the UFC‘s return to London on March 19.
In one of many matchups featuring British fighters, Herbert (11-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) will have a huge opportunity in front of a home crowd when he welcomes Topuria (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) to 155 pounds inside the O2 Arena. The bout was first reported by Eurosport’s Gonzalo Campos.
Topuria initially rose up the featherweight ladder with a trio of impressive victories on MMA’s biggest stage. After arriving with a unanimous decision win against Youssef Zalal and a knockout of Damon Jackson, the Georgian established himself as one of the promotion’s hottest prospects with a memorable KO of veteran grappler Ryan Hall at UFC 264 last July.
Having moved inches away from a place in the featherweight rankings, “El Matador” was set to have his chance to enter the top 15 last month against Movsar Evloev, the current #13 contender. After the Russian withdrew, Charles Jordain stepped in, only for Topuria to be forced out days later. He’ll hope to return to regular activity in the coming months, starting with a win on his lightweight debut in England’s capital.
In the way of the 25-year-old making an impression at 155 pounds will be Herbert, a former lightweight champion in the renowned Cage Warriors promotion. While the Wolverhampton native fell to consecutive losses in his first two UFC outings, he was faced with the tough challenges of Renato Moicano and veteran Francisco Trinaldo.
Having entered the win column in the UFC for the first time last October, a triumph that came in the form of a first-round TKO victory over Khama Worthy, Herbert will hope to continue his momentum by adding the first blemish to Topuria’s record in front of a home crowd.
Herbert initially appeared set to meet Mike Davis on the March 19 card. However, with the 29-year-old’s reluctance to fight overseas, “The Black Country Banger” was left searching for a new foe, one that’s come in the form of an unbeaten divisional newcomer.
With Herbert’s place on the card set, he’ll join fellow Brits like Tom Aspinall, Arnold Allen, Paddy Pimblett, Paul Craig, and Molly McCann in London, as well as prominent international fighters like Dan Hooker, Gunnar Nelson, and Nikita Krylov.
Listed below are the fights currently expected to go down on March 19 in London, England:
Alexander Volkov vs. Tom Aspinall (heavyweight main event)
Dan Hooker vs. Arnold Allen (featherweight)
Paul Craig vs. Nikita Krylov (light heavyweight)
Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Sergei Pavlovich (heavyweight)
Jack Shore vs. Timur Valiev (bantamweight)
Paddy Pimblett vs. Kazula Vargas (lightweight)
Gunnar Nelson vs. Claudio Silva (welterweight)
Nathanial Wood vs. Liudvik Sholinian (bantamweight)
Ilia Topuria vs. Jai Herbert (lightweight)
Makwan Amirkhani vs. Mike Grundy (featherweight)
Molly McCann vs. Luana Carolina (women’s flyweight)
Cody Durden vs. Muhammad Mokaev (flyweight)
Cory McKenna vs. Elise Reed (women’s strawweight)
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC London, Ilia Topuria or Jai Herbert?