With their London event coming up quick on Saturday the 16th the UFC’s hype train keeps rolling on, with the Open Workouts taking place at York Hall last night. With the event free to attend it gave the fans a chance to see six of the main card fighters up close and in action – Fight Quality got one of our writers through the doors to see what went down.
First up on the matts was Dominick Reyes, the undefeated light heavyweight looking good ahead of his match up with Volkan Oezdemir. Reyes was drilling some big takedowns during his open workout, maybe hinting that he’s looking to avoiding standing with ‘No Time’. Oezdemir himself was throwing some big kicks and working on takedown defence and ground and pound during his session. Both fighters thanked the London crowd for their support, though it seemed that the support was a big louder for the American.
Gunnar Nelson’s open work out was on the shorter side, just moving around with some striking drills. He told Dan Hardy he was happy with his training camp, which was all in Iceland with training partners being flown in for him. By comparison Leon Edwards demonstrated both his stand up and his ground game off during his mat time and, while he was respectful of Nelson, he said his goal was to make a statement finishing him before calling out the main event winner – he ‘couldn’t give a shit’ who gets their hand lifted.
Backyard brawler turned veteran MMA fighter Jorge Masvidal’s open workout definitely played to the crowd, offering a quick self defence lesson which ran over the basics of headbutts, a groin kick/uppercut combo and a three finger eye gouge (Jorge really doesn’t like it when someone grabs his hair). The rest of his workout wasn’t a workout, but an impromptu Q&A with the crowd with a chilled out Masvidal. He said fantasy fights he’d love to take were Mighty Mouse and Anderson Silva (to test his skills against the ones he’d consider the GOAT), he wants a shot at the title if he beats Till and he can’t say when the last time he was in a street fight was – because he doesn’t want to get in trouble.
Darren Till was the home favourite for sure, I wasn’t too far away from a big group of Liverpudlians who raised the roof as soon as he walked out, and our boy looks big ahead of his main event slot this weekend. If I had to predict any fighter missing weight it would be Till, who looked fast and aggressive on the pads, whilst also looking easily as big as both the 205ers who took the stage before him. He even said during his interview with Hardy that he felt he was too focused on making weight ahead of his title shot last year but this time he ‘couldn’t give a fuck about the weight, [he gives] a fuck about smacking Masvidal’. While it will be interesting to see if Till tips the scales over the 170 pound limit regardless of what the scales say the main event looks to be a barn burner between two men who’ve come to london to throw down.
What are your predictions for the fights this weekend? We want to hear what you think so let us know in the comments who you think is going to walk away with the W.