Since “UFC: The Beginning” was held in 1993 at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has grown to become a worldwide phenomenon.
The American mixed martial arts company based in Las Vegas, Nevada, has taken its show on the road to no fewer than 24 different countries around the globe, consistently packing venues with fans and keeping them thrilled with plenty of amazing fights over the years.
Beyond the United States and Canada, the most frequently visited country is the United Kingdom. The very first event on this side of the Atlantic was the unforgettable UFC 38: Brawl at the Hall, hosted at the iconic Royal Albert Hall back in July 2002.
With 24 UFC events having been hosted in the United Kingdom, eleven of them taking place in the capital city itself, we take a look at two of the most unforgettable bouts which had the London crowds cheering.
Jorge Masvidal vs Darren Till
UFC Fight Night 147, March 2019
Both fighters had much to prove leading into this headline event at the 02 Arena in March 2019, which the UFC hails as one of the greatest ever London fights. Darren Till had lost the first fight of his impressive MMA career the previous year, while Jorge Masvidal was on the comeback trail, looking for a return to winning ways.
Despite being the bookies favourite and some early spells of dominance, Till simply couldn’t finish his American rival. Masvidal unleashed a furious barrage of punches in the second round, and there was no way Till was getting back up off the canvas after that.
Following that impressive victory, Masvidal was back in top form and in his next fight, the man from Florida recorded the fastest ever knockout in MMA history, taking just 5 seconds to Demolish Ben Askren at UFC 239. Whoever he fights next, don’t be surprised to see the UFC betting odds favour Masvidal for another explosive victory.
Mark Weir vs Eugene Jackson
UFC 38: Brawl at the Hall, July 2002
The headline bout at UFC 38 was the welterweight title battle, UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes taking on Carlos Newton, with Hughes earning an impressive TKO victory. However, the biggest cheers from the home crowd at the Royal Albert Hall were for one of their own.
English mixed martial artist Mark Weir was an undefeated Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing champion, making his UFC debut against Eugene Jackson. Leading with a high kick that caught his rival by surprise and left exposed, Weir immediately applied the knockout blow.
The lights were out for Jackson before he even hit the canvas, such was the force of that punch by Weir, who followed up with a quick flurry of additional punches, just to make sure. In just 10 seconds the fight was over, and this remains one of the fastest ever knockouts in UFC.
UFC in London
There’s no doubt that given the huge popularity of UFC in the United Kingdom, more great events will be hosted in London over the next few years. The two fights we’ve mentioned are memorable for different reasons, and we’re sure that fight fans will get to enjoy more fascinating bouts before too long.