‘It’s great to show what I’m capable of’ – Suffolk star Allen dominates at UFC London, while Till suffers upset KO
PUBLISHED: 13:50 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:50 18 March 2019
Suffolk’s Arnold Allen improved his record to a perfect 5-0 in the world-famous UFC with a three-round shoutout of physical American Jordan Rinaldi at the O2 Arena.
Trimley St Martin’s Allen put on a punch-perfect technical display to dominate Rinaldi in all aspects of their fight and claim a wide points decision at UFC London, the biggest MMA event the UK has ever hosted.
The Suffolk southpaw had Rinaldi in trouble at the end of all three rounds, and was moments from closing the show in the second, dropping Rinaldi heavily and following him to the mat with a barrage of heavy artillery, but time was against him.
Now a perfect 5-0 in the UFC featherweight division and 14-1 overall, Allen must surely be on the verge of a top 15 world-ranking and a big fight in the summer - he’s previously said he hopes to fight again in July.
He now has the second-longest win streak in the entire divsion, behind only champion Max Holloway.
After the fight, Allen said: “It’s great to pick up the win and show people what I’m capable of and that is being able to shut down a wrestler. I didn’t do myself justice in the last fight I had.
“I’m 25 years old and I’ve got a long career ahead of me so I don’t care who I fight next – if I get two fights in a year that would be nice.”
In the main event, British superstar Darren Till suffered one of the heaviest knock-outs seen in recent times, as opponent Jorge Masvidal connected with two nuclear left hands to put a violent end to their welterweight fight in the second round.
Till, who had himself knocked Masvidal down in the first round, lay prone on the canvas for a few worrying minutes, before sitting up, head in hands, and being helped onto a stool.
It was a huge upset win for Masvidal, who praised Till as a ‘young bull’ after the fight – and said he wants a shot at the title now held by Kamaru Usman before too long.
In the co-main event, welterweight Leon Edwards dropped Gunnar Nelson towards the end of the second round and rained down vicious shots on his stricken opponent, leaving the Icelander – who enjoyed raucous backing from his countrymen in the crowd – sporting a huge welt under his right eye.
And the man they cally ‘Rocky’, who took a close first round too, saw out the fight – despite being fully mounted in the closing seconds – to claim a split points win and make it seven victories in a row as part of his 17-3 overall slate (9-2 UFC).
Another super-talented young fighter, bantamweight Nathaniel Wood, scored the submission of the night with a second round rear naked choke of Jose Quinonez which threatened to lift the roof off the arena as the crowd hailed their local hero, who’s now won eight straight and all three in the UFC, all by submission.
He said: “Fighting here in London, definitely gave me an advantage in the lead up to the fight, because all I wanted to do was impress the fans here. “Yes, of course I am here to win, but the fans here were my motivation, if it wasn’t for this London card, I probably wouldn’t have fought for a little while as I have just fought.
“This London card meant everything to me and I delivered, honestly, I love the fans here.”
Jack Marshman opened up the main card with a split decision win in the battle of Wales ahainst John Phillips. Both men rocked the other in the scrap, but it was perhaps a surprise when Marshman’s hand was raised.
Brit Danny Roberts was emotional after apparently verbally tapping to a Claudio Silva armbar in the third round of their back-and-forth middleweight fight, but he will surely be back in the win column soon.
Elsewhere, flashy lightweight Marc Diakiese put on perhaps the best showing of his career with a unanimous points win over Joe Duffy, snapping a three-fight losing skid by using heavy kicks to the calf, arms and head of his foe and displaying great octagon craft.
Afterwards, he said: “I’ve sacrificed so many things to do this, constantly. This just proves that this is where I need to be. I was constantly picturing getting my hand raised at the end.
“It felt great to get the win. I went through hell with this camp so my fitness was not a problem, I felt like I had ten rounds in me. I noticed him slow-down so I started to apply more pressure.”
Earlier on the card, the super popular Molly McCann made history as the first English woman to win in the UFC, seeing off tough Brazillian Priscilla Cachoeira on points.
The scouser (8-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) took the first two rounds with superb boxing and a takedown threat, but suffered what looked like a nasty eye injury in the third stanza, showing incredible heart to fight with the rapidly-closing eye and take a well-earned unanimous decision.
She said: “Everyone knows I’ve been through hell and back to get here. I didn’t give up at any point – this is a message to anyone who feels like they can’t achieve something. Never give up because you can always achieve your dream.”
UFC London - full results
Mike Grundy beat Nad Narimani by TKO in the second round
Molly McCann beat Priscilla Cachoeira by UD
Dan Ige beat Dan Henry by submission (RNC) in the first round
Saparbeg Safarov beat Nico Negumereanu by UD
Marc Diakiese beat Joe Duffy by unanimous decision
Arnold Allen beat Jordan Rinaldi by unanimous decision
Jack Marshman beat John Phillips by split decision
Claudio Silva beat Danny Roberts by submission (armbar) in the third round
Nathaniel Wood beat Jose Quinonez by submission (RNC) in the second round
Dominick Reyes beat Volkan Oezdemir by split decision
Leon Edwards beat Gunnar Nelson by split decision
Jorge Masvidal beat Darren Till by knockout in the second round