Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC, PFL, Dana White’s Contender Series and “The Ultimate Fighter” live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
Hype surrounding Tom Aspinall has thus far lined up with the results.
On a steady ascent in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight division, the highly regarded prospect will put his six-fight winning streak on the line when he faces Sergey Spivak in the UFC Fight Night 191 co-main event on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Aspinall sports a perfect 3-0 record inside the Octagon. He last appeared at UFC Fight Night 185, where he submitted former champion Andrei Arlovski with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their Feb. 20 encounter.
As Aspinall barrels toward his battle with Spivak, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He grew up on the banks of the River Irwell.
Aspinall was born in Salford, England, an 8.1-square-mile city in Greater Manchester. Home to a little more than 100,000 people, it sits some 200 miles northwest of London. Graham Nash—of famed music supergroups Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young—once called it home.
2. Quick-strike ability has been his chief calling card.
The Team Kaobon product made his professional debut at a regional event on Dec. 13, 2014 and struck Michael Piszczek into submission in just 15 seconds. Aspinall has since delivered four more sub-minute finishes, as he victimized Satisch Jhamai in nine seconds, Jake Collier in 45 seconds, Ricky King in 49 seconds and Michael Ben Hamouda in 56 seconds. He also has 65-, 76-, 81- and 95-second stoppage victories to his credit.
3. He threatens in multiple phases.
While Aspinall’s punching power—he has pro boxing experience under his belt—has made him one of MMA’s most feared young heavyweights, he also holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The 28-year-old Brit has secured two of his 10 wins by submission.
4. His potency benefits his bank account.
Aspinall’s penchant for violence has allowed him to bank two post-fight bonuses in his three UFC appearances. He was awarded $50,000 “Performance of the Night” checks in victories over Collier and Arlovski.
5. A princely prizefighter inspired him.
Aspinall lists “Prince” Naseem Hamed as one of his heroes. Known for his outlandish ring entrances, the charismatic boxer rose to prominence in the mid to late 1990s, when the Sheffield, England, native captured the WBO, WBC and IBF featherweight championships and started his career a perfect 35-0 with 31 knockouts. The great Marco Antonio Barrera ended Hamed’s run in a 12-round unanimous decision on April 7, 2001. Aspinall was 7 years old at the time.