English heavyweight Tom Aspinall was forced to retire after just 15 seconds of his high-profile Ultimate Fighting Championship bout against American Curtis Blaydes on Saturday.
The 29-year-old, from Atherton, in Greater Manchester, sixth in the division, fell to the mat in pain after his knee gave out during the opening change of the fight at London’s O2 Arena.
Aspinall had tried to get off to a typically quick start and he landed an early kick on the thigh of fourth-placed Blaydes, but buckled after putting his foot down and was unable to continue.
It was a disappointing end to a highly anticipated bout between the heavyweight contenders.
In the evening’s other main event, Jack Hermansson of Sweden defeated Chris Curtis of the USA at middleweight by a unanimous decision on points.
Liverpool lightweight Paddy Pimblett won his duel with American Jordan Leavitt after a second-round submission.
Pimblett started brilliantly but was defeated early on by Leavitt, who controlled much of the first round. Pimblett turned the tables in the second and a rear naked choke proved crucial.
Pimblett’s Liverpool colleague Molly McCann pulled off an impressive victory over American Hannah Goldy. McCann triumphed by technical knockout when the referee stepped in after a quick right-hand twisting elbow combination knocked her opponent down at the fence in the first round.
As a noisy crowd roared their approval, Everton fan McCann took the opportunity to express frustration at their football club’s recent troubles. “I will not let you down,” she said in her post-fight interview. “I’m not Everton Football Club!”
In the opening bout on the main card, Scotland’s Paul Craig lost a unanimous points judgment to Switzerland’s Volkan Ozdemir after a close light heavyweight bout.
Ukraine’s Nikita Krylov celebrated a quick first round win over Swede Alexander Gustafsson.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tom-aspinall-molly-mccann-paddy-pimblett-curtis-blaydes-american-b2129914.html Tom Aspinall had to give up after 15 seconds against Curtis Blaydes