English heavyweight Tom Aspinall was forced to quit after just 15 seconds of his top-of-the bill Ultimate Fighting Championship bout with American Curtis Blaydes on Saturday.
The 29-year-old from Atherton in Greater Manchester, ranked sixth in the division, fell to the mat in pain after his knee gave way during the opening exchanges of the fight at London’s O2 Arena.
Aspinall had tried to make a typically fast start and he landed with an early kick to fourth-ranked Blaydes’ thigh, but he buckled after planting his foot and could not continue.
It was an anti-climactic end to a hugely anticipated contest between the heavyweight contenders.
In the other main event of the night, Sweden’s Jack Hermansson beat Chris Curtis of the United States at middleweight with a unanimous points decision.
Liverpool lightweight Paddy Pimblett won his clash with American Jordan Leavitt after a second-round submission.
Pimblett started brightly but was taken down early on by Leavitt, who controlled large parts of the first round. Pimblett turned the tables in the second and a rear naked choke proved decisive.
Pimblett’s fellow Liverpudlian Molly McCann claimed an impressive victory over American Hannah Goldy. McCann triumphed by technical knockout when the referee stepped in after a quick right hand and spinning elbow combination downed her opponent by the fence in the first round.
As a raucous crowd roared their approval, Everton fan McCann took the opportunity to voice her frustration at her football club’s recent struggles.
“I will not let you down,” she said in her post-fight interview. “I am not Everton Football Club!”
In the opening fight on the main card, Scotland’s Paul Craig lost a unanimous points verdict after a tight light heavyweight bout with Switzerland’s Volkan Oezdemir.
Ukraine’s Nikita Krylov claimed a quick first-round victory over Swede Alexander Gustafsson.
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