As the no.6-ranked Heavyweight in the UFC, English fighter, Thomas Paul Aspinall (now 29) has earned the reputation of being one of the most prominent rising stars in the division.
Born in Greater Manchester, England on April 11th, 1993, Aspinall was inspired by his father to take up martial arts in his youth and became a natural in the BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) British Open Championship and the amateur scene with a 6-0 record.
Since his debut in 2014, Aspinall has been fighting out of Liverpool under Team Kaobon, alongside fellow British fighters and UFC contenders; Darren “The Gorilla” Till and Mike Grundy.
Not just a BJJ black belt, Aspinall exceeds in his stand-up. With 9 knockouts and 3 submissions under his belt, the Englishman has one of the fastest pair of hands in the heavyweight division.
His supreme athleticism and calculated approach to fighting have resulted in an impressive 100% finishing rate from a 12-2 record, with 11 of his wins ending in the first round.
Before making his debut in the UFC, Aspinall made his talents known in the British promotion, Cage Warriors, and a brief, pro boxing career on June 24th, 2017, knocking out Tamas Bajzath.
In the two years Aspinall has spent in the octagon, he has made quick work of top dogs in the division (Andrei Arlovski, Alexander Volkov etc.) and four of the five fights have earned him Performance of the Night bonuses.
In addition to being one of the most well-rounded heavyweights in the division right now, Aspinall is also the most insightful fighter, providing an analytical overview of every heavyweight and potential opponent in the UFC, even shedding light onto talented heavyweights outside of the promotion.
Since his previous victory at UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs. Aspinall, in front of a sold-out crowd at the O2 Arena in London, Aspinall has gone from no.11, to one of the top 10-ranked contenders in the UFC!
Now he intends to climb the UFC ladder against the no.4-ranked Heavyweight, Curtis “Razor” Blaydes this July, at the O2 Arena for the second time this year.
At only twenty-nine years of age and with his career stretching way ahead of him, he still has a wealth of competition opportunities, with plenty of room to grow as a serious contender.
Now, with all of that covered, let’s blast our way through and include some pre-UFC wins in Tom Aspinall’s Top 5 Finishes – Part 2! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Adrian Ruskac – Full Contact Contender 15 (Mar. 5, 2016)
After suffering the first defeat in his career, twenty two year-old Aspinall returned to a Full Contact Contender event in Bolton against a debuting Adrian Ruskac.
At the start of round 1, Adrian’s inexperience started to show after launching an ill-fated flying knee, with Aspinall cooling his jets by taking him down against the cage.
Adrian managed to get up, but Aspinall kept the attempted arm triangle choke locked on, aiming to become the first fighter to win via a standing arm triangle, but it was not to be.
The newcomer recklessly broke the distance with another feeble knee strike, yet surprisingly gripped Aspinall into a bulldog in what could have been a stunning upset.
In an alternative universe, Aspinall would have lost to a rookie and never have made it to the UFC, but his solid endurance and punishing array of right hands earned him the TKO win at 1:05 into round 1, giving him his fourth finish.
4. Vs. Kamil Bazelak – Full Contact Contender 16 (Jun. 18, 2016)
Having been active for 18 months of his MMA career to date, the now twenty three year-old Tom Aspinall took on forty one year-old Polish fighter, Kamil “Vanderlei” Bazelak, on his return to Full Contact Contender.
No less than 5 seconds into round 1, Bazelak wasted no time throwing punches in high hopes of landing one of them. Although Bazelak scored with a body kick, he was left open to Aspinall’s counter strikes.
Bazelak just kept coming, but kept falling further into Aspinall’s net of punishment. Aspinall continued to outclass the senior fighter, demonstrating swift head movements, whilst out-striking him on every turn.
He finally put an end to the fight by landing a right hand, knocking Bazelak out cold, causing him to fall face first onto the canvas. Just like that, the fight was over at 1:16 of round 1, declaring Aspinall the winner by knockout.
Aspinall would take a break from MMA after his victory, stepping into boxing in June of 2017, before returning to the sport, nearly three years later, to debut at Cage Warriors.
3. Vs. Ricky King – BAMMA 18 (Feb. 21, 2015)
In the second fight in his MMA career, Aspinall debuted for the UK promotion, BAMMA (British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) and stepped into the cage with Ricky King. Both men entered with a 1-0 record, yet only one could leave with a number 2.
As soon as the two heavyweights touched gloves, Aspinall went straight in, fists firing away, closing the distance and pressuring King against the cage.
Aspinall seemed to have the upper hand, until King gained control on the ground thanks to a judo throw.
The sudden setback didn’t last long however, as Aspinall pushed King out from the full mount position and secured a heel hook. King caved in at only 49 seconds into round 1.
This fight marked the first submission finish by Aspinall, with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt showcasing flawless grappling skills, proving that he was not a one-trick pony by any stretch.
2. Vs. Mickael Ben Hamouda – Cage Warriors 107 (Sep. 28, 2019)
Seven months after picking up a victory over Sofiane Boukichou as a result of a horrific injury, Aspinall returned to Cage Warriors in Liverpool, seeking to make up for that unfortunate incident with a spectacular finish over Mickael Ben Hamouda in September that same year. The French native was making his debut for Cage Warriors with a 2-0 record.
Aspinall may have had the reach and experience advantage over Hamouda, but he still couldn’t allow himself to let his guard down.
Instead of rushing his way to a kill, Aspinall took his time, pressured Hamouda against the cage, and controlled the pace of the fight in order to find an opening.
The English native kept his opponent guessing with feints, and his signature hand speed, landing shots unpredictably from different angles, until he put Hamouda down with a crisp, right hand to the chin.
It would take a few hammer fists before the referee stepped in to end the contest at only 56 seconds into round 1.
With another stunning, first round TKO victory and with no competition available for Aspinall, he leapt at the chance when the UFC gave him the call.
1. Vs. Alexander Volkov – UFC Fight Night 204 (Mar. 19, 2022)
In his first main event at UFC Fight Night, Aspinall, ranked no.11 in the heavyweight division, had his sights set on the no.6 position, but first the twenty eight year-old had to get through Alexander “Drago” Volkov for his biggest boost so far.
At the start of round 1, Aspinall demonstrated his superior speed right away by connecting with a swift combo. The British heavyweight was able to close the distance by changing his stance and taking Volkov down.
On the ground, Aspinall’s dominance was evident, as he brought down the ground-and-pound, and attempted a kimura for the win.
Even returning to their feet, Aspinall kept up the pressure, scoring decisively in the striking department with “Drago” backed up against the cage.
In an impressive feat that is rarely seen among heavyweights, Aspinall dodged a head kick and a right cross, countering with a shoot takedown.
To bring the contest to a close, a straight armbar served as the coup de grâce to end the contest, and the night at 3:45 into round 1.
In his fifth straight win, Aspinall earned his fourth Performance of the Night award and the no.6 spot in the heavyweight rankings, thus confirming his big league legitimacy and superb, resilient power even further.