Tom Aspinall vs Curtis Blaydes rematch confirmed as UFC’s main Manchester fight card is revealed

He'll defend his belt for the first time in front of a home crowd.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 17th May 2024

Local fighter Tom Aspinall’s next opponent has finally been confirmed as the running order for the UFC’s return to Manchester has been revealed.

The Manc MMA star and interim heavyweight champion was always a certainty for his home event but with the main fight card for the UFC 304 at Co-op Live arena unveiled at last, we now know that the Salfordian will once again be facing off against Curtis Blaydes.

Not only will this be Aspinall‘s first title defence but it will also see the pair meet for the first time since their original 2022 bout was cut short just 15 seconds into the fight after the 31-year-old injured his knee and was unable to continue.

Civility aside, the two have had a score to settle ever since and judging by his reaction following the announcement, he’s clearly keen to finish what he started.

Now 14 wins into his career and with a belt to back it up, we’re expecting big things from the self-proclaimed ‘Honey Badger’ – especially with a name like that.


Fellow English fighters Leon Edwards and Scouse star Paddy Pimblett will all be joining Aspinall on the big night, showing just how much the UK MMA scene has grown.

Jamaican-born Brit Edwards, 32, is currently on a 13-fight unbeaten streak and will defend his welterweight title against American Belal Muhammad, who is also unbeaten in his last 10 fights.


Announcing the full 304 fight card on social media, UFC president Dana White described the Manchester crowds as “incredible” and there’s evident excitement around being the first sports event to grace the brand-new arena.

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While there has been lots of criticism over the start times given that the fights will be taking place in the early hours for the benefit of American TV audiences, it’s still a huge deal to have the UFC coming back to 0161, especially with a Manchester native flying high at the top of the heavyweight division.

Not only is this the first time the franchise has been back to the city since 2016 but it’s also only the fourth time an event will have been held in the UK full stop.


Getting underway on Saturday, 27 July, Aspinall vs Blaydes II fight date is set to start at 3am local time and fans will be able to watch it live on TNT Sport.

As for those of you looking to go along and see the action in person, you can queue up to get your tickets HERE.

For all the latest news, events and goings on in Greater Manchester, subscribe to The Manc newsletter HERE.

Featured Images — Tom Aspinall/UFC Europe/Man United (via Instagram)/UFC (via YouTube)