Leon Edwards and Tom Aspinall opponents confirmed for UFC 304 in Manchester

Leon Edwards and Tom Aspinall have had their fights confirmed at the top of the bill at UFC 304 in Manchester.

UFC CEO Dana White revealed welterweight king Edwards will take on Belal Muhammad in his third consecutive title defence on 27 July.

While heavyweight Aspinall rematches Curtis Blaydes in the second blockbuster fight after the UFC announced its return to the UK.

The pay-per-view event, set to take place at Manchester’s new Co-op Live arena, will also feature Paddy Pimblett against Bobby Green.

Blaydes faced Aspinall in London in 2022, with the Wigan fighter suffering a knee injury just 15 seconds into the bout. That result remains Aspinall’s only loss in the UFC, and the 31-year-old has since gone 2-0, most recently knocking out Sergei Pavlovich in November to win the interim belt.

Meanwhile, Blaydes has gone 1-1, losing to Pavlovich via knockout in April 2023, before stopping Jailton Almeida last month. That victory, coupled with Blaydes’s past with Aspinall, was enough to secure the huge fight at UFC 304.

Blaydes is seemingly unfazed by the Briton’s home support – just as he was when they fought in 2022.

Aspinall injured his knee in the opening moments of his 2022 fight with Blaydes (Getty Images)
Aspinall injured his knee in the opening moments of his 2022 fight with Blaydes (Getty Images)

“I don’t know why people make it a big deal,” Blaydes said. “Because once you’re in the octagon, the venue doesn’t have an impact. The boos? I don’t give a damn about boos. I’ll do it anywhere.

“If it has to be in England, that’s fine. I liked England besides the lack of air conditioning. They don’t have air conditioning, I don’t know why. It’s weird, I don’t get it, but that’s a thing out there.”

Edwards battled with Muhammad to a No Contest in 2021, with Edwards landing multiple eye pokes by accident.

The UFC 304 announcement was instantly met with criticism from fans, who hit out at the start times of 11pm for the prelims and 3am for the main card – timings that cater for a US audience.

UFC 304

  • Champ Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad – for welterweight title

  • Interim champ Tom Aspinall vs. Curtis Blaydes – for interim heavyweight title

  • Bobby Green vs. Paddy Pimblett

  • Manel Kape vs. Muhammad Mokaev

  • Arnold Allen vs. Giga Chikadze

  • Daniel Pineda vs. Nathaniel Wood

  • Shauna Bannon vs. Ravena Oliveira

  • Bruna Brasil vs. Molly McCann