Combat Sports

UFC Fighter Showcase: Tom Aspinall

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Tom Aspinall takes on former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC Vegas 19 this Saturday night as he looks to establish himself as a future champion himself.

Aspinall has made quite the impression since exploding on to the scene in July of last year when it took him only 45 seconds to demolish Jake Collier in his UFC debut. Many see the Englishman’s striking ability and explosive power on par with the very best in the heavyweight division and it is likely we will soon see him climb the rankings in his quest for gold.

The Past

Tom Aspinall is your traditional boxing style fighter, as this is where he is most confident. However, this is not where all his skill set lies. He is well-rounded, having taken up martial arts at the age of seven before transitioning into boxing, Muay Thai, and jiu-jitsu, where he holds a black belt.

He has also competed once as a professional boxer where, in typical Aspinall fashion, he secured a first-round knockout.

Tom Aspinall
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 11: Tom Aspinall of England has his hands wrapped backstage during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 11, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Before making his UFC debut, Tom Aspinall had already established himself in the European scene as a top prospect who was just waiting for his shot in the big time. He originally had rejected the UFC, stating it was too soon for his arrival and opting to gain experience before making the jump.

Aspinall fought twice in Cage Warriors in his last stint prior to joining the UFC, in which he won both fights in normal Aspinall fashion, two first-round finishes.

The first came as somewhat of a fluke considering his opponent broke his leg following a checked kick by the Englishman. However, Aspinall did look on course for another quick victory in that fight despite the unfortunate ending for both fighters.

In his final showing before he entered the octagon, clinical boxing was again on display against Mickael Ben Hamouda as he put away the Frenchman within a minute. In that demolition job, he displayed that he was more than ready for the UFC.

His UFC debut came in July 2020, debuting on the same night his teammate and friend, Darren Till, headlined a fight island card against Robert Whittaker.

Aspinall was tasked with taking on another talented striker in Jake Collier, who was making his heavyweight debut, and he gave Collier a warm welcome of the true unforgiving nature of the heaviest division in the sport. A rapid victory to match a lightning-fast performance as Aspinall finished Collier within the first minute.

Next up for Aspinall was a more threatening and mysterious opponent in Alan Baudot, a fellow heavyweight prospect who was expected to push the 26-year-old further than any past opponent.

Tom Aspinall
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 11: (R-L) Tom Aspinall of England punches Alan Baudot of France in their heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 11, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Unfortunately for Baudot, it was the same outcome for him as it was for Collier. Another devastating first-round finish as Tom Aspinall secured a TKO victory through some relentless ground-and-pound.

The Present

Now riding a five-fight winning streak, Tom Aspinall remains full of confidence as he enters the octagon on Saturday night looking to claim his biggest win to date over UFC legend Andrei Arlovski.

To downplay Arlovski’s talent due to his age and inconsistency over the years would be a huge mistake for anybody to make at this point in time. Especially considering how he upset the odds last time out when he took on another heavyweight talent in Tanner Boser, in which the 42-year-old showed there is still fight left in the old dog as he secured an impressive victory as a clear underdog.

Aspinall should look to learn from Boser’s mistakes to secure, at the very least, a decision victory over the former champion.

However, everyone is expecting a hungry Aspinall to come out guns blazing once those octagon doors shut as he looks to make a statement in the main card opener.

Realistically he should be too fast for Arlovski, as he has been for every heavyweight he has defeated. You can expect Arlovski’s experience on Saturday night to possibly help him survive the first round. However, there is only so much speed a heavyweight can cope with, and in this case, Tom Aspinall should be too much for the aging veteran who may become the latest victim to fall to the hands of the Englishman.

The Future

Tom Aspinall’s continuous growth as a heavyweight prospect has showcased the new wave of talent beginning to revolutionize the heavyweight division. Soon the deadliest division in the UFC may become crammed with raw talent as the older generation makes way for a new generation.

Aspinall’s frame and figure make him a nightmare matchup for all UFC heavyweights once you add his striking ability into the equation. Fast mobility on his feet is something his future opponents should be accustomed to as he can defend the takedowns and put his defensive boxing ability to work.

The speed he produces is unlike anything seen before in the division. Combine that with his power and precision, it all builds to one horrifying heavyweight.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 26: In this handout image provided by UFC, (L-R) Tom Aspinall of England punches Jake Collier in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 26, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

One clean right hand is all it takes for Tom Aspinall. He typically uses fast combinations to set it up that no heavyweight sees coming. It doesn’t take him long to land it too, with all of his victories coming within the first two minutes.

Should Aspinall add a former UFC heavyweight champion to his list of victims on Saturday night, then he will be expected to continue his unstoppable ascendence to the top of the division.

The 26-year-old being in title contention in the next two years is not an unrealistic expectation considering the speed at which he is taking and defeating opponents. Do you see Tom Aspinall fighting for a title in the near future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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Featured Image Credit To Embed from Getty Images.

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Dion Williams is a Combat Sports writer for Overtime Heroics covering mainly UFC but also Bellator and Cage Warriors!