The No. 6 heavyweight returned to the O2 Arena for his second consecutive headliner, this time against Blaydes. The fight got off to a fast start with both men exchanging punches when Aspinall threw a leg kick and collapsed to the canvas in agony. Clutching his right knee, Aspinall remained on the canvas as cageside physicians addressed his injury and removed him from the Octagon.
The loss to Blaydes was his first in the UFC, but Aspinall is taking it in stride. The 29-year-old addressed his ‘freak injury’ on social media and vowed to return stronger once he recovers.
“Last night wasn’t my night, my training camp in the build up to the fight has been brilliant,” wrote Aspinall on Instagram. “Sometimes these things happen; now is the time to recover, rebuild and come back stronger! Wanted to say a huge thank you to the UFC, the doctors and paramedics that looked after me. But, also to the fans! For all the messages you’ve sent and support you’ve given me, in the build up to the fight and after the freak injury. You’re all amazing!
“Want to thank Curtis for being a true gentleman, it didn’t work out how we both wanted, but to come and see me after for a beer makes you a legend in my eyes,” continued Aspinall. “Finally, my team and my family. We all know this is elite sport, we live to fight another day! Big love, Tom.”
Aspinall also shared his post-fight interaction with Blaydes in the fighter hotel.
“A beer makes everything feel better,” wrote Aspinall. “What a guy, big Curtis and his team popped up to say hello. Freak accidents happen unfortunately, tonight wasn’t my night.”
There were no details given on the extent of the injury. UFC color commentator Michael Bisping said on the broadcast that the cageside physicians thought it could be a torn MCL, an injury that could leave Aspinall on the sidelines for several months depending on its severity.
Aspinall was previously on a five-fight win streak that included ‘Performance of the Night’ awarded finishes of Andrei Arlovski, Sergey Spivak and Alexander Volkov.