• UFC Fight Night London Preview: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi Manuwa

  • UFC Fight Night 37 poster 226x300 UFC Fight Night London Preview: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi ManuwaThe main event at UFC in London this weekend will see undefeated British light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa take on the biggest challenge of his career to date in his bout with world no. 2, Alexander Gustafsson. But does “The Poster Boy” have what it takes to stop “The Mauler” from earning his rematch with world champion Jon Jones?

    According to the pre-fight hype, you would think it’s already a done deal, and fans can be forgiven for wanting to see 27-year-old Gustafsson, from Arboga in Sweden, take back the win he narrowly missed out on in his epic battle against Jones at UFC 165. But we’re not there yet, and I think we’d do well to take a closer look at the man standing in Gustafsson’s way.

    33-year-old Manuwa, from Croydon, London, has an unbeaten fight record of 14-0-0 and he is a TKO artist, with thirteen of those wins gained by total knockout. In his UFC career to date, two out of three fights were stopped due to injury and the other was cut short by doctor’s stoppage. The power in this striker’s punches has knocked opponents into retirement and is almost unmatched in his division. He’s also a smart fighter who keeps his cool enough to know when he needs to change his game plan, and you can see that in his UFC debut bout with Kyle Kingsbury. Jimi’s best chance of winning against “The Mauler” is to stay standing and utilise his take-down defense with those powerful knees and elbows, as well as that devastating left hook.

    But there’s no denying that Gustafsson is the more experienced grappler, and interestingly, he has never suffered a knockout loss in his career. If he gets Manuwa on the ground he will not let up in his search for a quick submission. And if Manuwa manages to fend off “The Mauler” for long enough, his biggest threat will be Gustafsson’s excellent conditioning. His bout with Jones was a close call that lasted an exhausting five rounds, whereas Manuwa has never seen the third round.

    My prediction: I think that the first round will be a war fought standing and that Manuwa will give Gustafsson a shock with a few of those powerful punches, but he’ll get tired out quickly, and when that happens I reckon Gustafsson will have him on the floor with a submission by rear-naked choke in the second round.

    About The Author – Shaheen Hashmat

    Shaheen Hashmat is a writer and social commentator who has been training in kickboxing for two years and BJJ for one. Hailing from Premier Mixed Martial Arts in West London, Shaheen is particularly interested in women’s MMA and the growing UK fight scene.

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