Edwards-Muhammad, Aspinall-Blaydes top UFC 304 in Manchester

Edwards-Muhammad, Aspinall-Blaydes top UFC 304 in Manchester

ByBRETT OKAMOTO

May 16, 2024, 12:59 PM

    The UFC has booked a pair of title fights to headline its first trip to Manchester since 2016.

    Welterweight champion Leon Edwards will seek his third title defense against Belal Muhammad in the main event of UFC 304 on July 27 inside Co-Op Live arena. In the co-main event, Tom Aspinall will defend his interim heavyweight championship against Curtis Blaydes in a rematch of a bout that took place two years ago in London.

    UFC CEO Dana White announced both title fights on Thursday. Edwards and Aspinall both fight out of England. Edwards has defended his title once on English soil, in a trilogy bout against Kamaru Usman in 2023.

    Edwards (22-3) has turned into a pound-for-pound candidate in recent years. He took the title in shocking fashion in 2022, when he knocked out Usman with a head kick in the final round of a five-round main event in Salt Lake City. He is coming off a decision win over Colby Covington in December.

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    Edwards has actually fought Muhammad before in 2021, but the bout resulted in a no-contest when Muhammad (23-3) was unable to continue after an accidental eye-poke in the second round.

    Aspinall (14-3) won the interim championship in November by finishing Sergei Pavlovich in just 69 seconds. He has campaigned for a unification bout against Jon Jones, however Jones and the UFC prefer a matchup against former champion Stipe Miocic. That matchup is expected to take place later this year.

    Aspinall has been nearly perfect in the UFC, with six first-round finishes in eight appearances. His only loss in the UFC came against Blaydes (18-4), however the result was marred by Aspinall suffering a freak knee injury just 15 seconds in.

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