This weekend at UFC Fight Island 5, we get treated to an absolute barnburner in the Heavyweight division when the UK’s Tom Aspinall (8-2) takes on the Frenchman Alan Baudot (8-1) in a fight which promises to provide fireworks.
Fresh off a win during the UFC’s last stint on Fight Island, Tom Aspinall looks to make another big impact on the Heavyweight Division. The stablemate of Darren Till is a standout from the UK MMA scene who is riding a four-fight win streak coming into this fight. Even more impressive, all of Aspinall’s wins have come in the very first round. Aspinall only has two career losses and one of them comes from him being disqualified for performing an illegal elbow. At only 27 years of age, Aspinall comes into this fight with a lot of promise and it’s clear to see the UFC think of him as a big prospect already as he’s made it to main card status in just his second fight with the company.
Standing across from Tom Aspinall is Alan Baudot. On a two-fight winning streak, Baudot has taken this fight at short notice after Sergey Spivak was forced to withdraw. Baudot has fought at a mixture of Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight throughout his career with most of his fights taking place in Japan. He also has a very impressive record and, like Aspinall, the majority of his victories have come via stoppage early in the fight. By stepping in to face someone with as much buzz around him as Aspinall, Baudot could really make an impact in the UFC if he manages to secure this victory.
Aspinall’s last fight marked his debut with the promotion. He made a great impression by finishing the much more experienced fighter in Jake Collier. The vicious knockout, which earned Aspinall a performance of the night bonus, showcased his speed and agility – two traits that are very sought after in the Heavyweight division. Aspinall’s power will be one of his biggest advantages in this fight. It’s safe to assume that having fought at Light Heavyweight, Baudot will come in the smaller man, will he be able to withstand the power from someone as big as Aspinall? One of Aspinall’s losses comes by heel hook and there are a lot of question marks surrounding his ground game as we’ve never really had the chance to see what he has to offer there but looking at Baudot’s record, it’s very unlikely he’ll want to take this fight to the ground. To win, Aspinall has to outbox and use his size advantage to secure that lucrative second UFC win.
Baudot’s last fight, despite officially being a win for him, came under odd circumstances. Baudot actually lost the fight by submission but the win was overturned by the promotion when his opponent tested positive for marijuana post-fight. Baudot still has a record studded with first-round finishes, although the records of some of his opponents are questionable. It’s highly unlikely Baudot will take this fight to the ground, he’ll be looking to bring his A-game and execute a flashy KO to impress the UFC brass and cement his position within the company.
With a win this weekend Tom Aspinall will progress in the Heavyweight and if he manages another finish, there’s no doubt people will think of him as someone who can become a contender in the future. Aspinall’s next fight would have to be against someone who was a career Heavyweight. Both Collier and Baudot have found themselves in other divisions so it’s time for Tom to test himself against another natural Heavyweight. If he wins, the UFC should look to re-book his fight against Sergey Spivak and really give Aspinall a chance to shine. With a loss, a fight against a future promotional newcomer would make sense and give him the chance to rebuild himself against competition who is also lacking in UFC experience. Should Baudot be crowned victorious on Saturday he’ll no doubt be kept in the UFC. A win over Aspinall would do wonders for his career and he would be free to decide if he wanted to compete in the Heavyweight division or his more natural weight class, Light Heavyweight. If Baudot were to lose it’s hard to see exactly where he would fit in the UFC. Unless he lost and had a stellar performance it’s likely he wouldn’t stick around in the promotion. Regardless of the outcome, both fighters love to stand and trade so there will definitely be some excitement come Saturday night.
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