This afternoon the UFC will premiere its latest Fight Night card on the UFC Fight Pass. The man who gave Light Heayweight Champion Jon Jones his toughest fight to date Alexander Gustafsson will clash with unbeaten heavy-hitter Jimi Manuwa. A lot of people are selling this as a lose-lose situation for Gustafsson but I just don’t think that’s true. There have been a lot of talks about Alexander being right back in line for a title shot, something that has even been backed up by champion Jon Jones. So while Manuwa may not be considered a top ten Light Heavyweight fighter at this time, you have to think a win over him leads to a title shot. I understand the thought process that Manuwa is a very dangerous opponent but the reality is that if “The Mauler” can’t beat a man who is ranked outside the top ten then he doesn’t deserve a title rematch just yet. While it’s doubtful that Manuwa would receive an immediate title shot should he win, you have to think a win over the number one ranked guy in his division will at least get him pretty close.
The fight itself is very intriguing. You have Gustafaffson on one side who has shown vast improvements in a short time period while on the other side you have a man whom has never seen the third round. Think about that for a second. In fourteen professional fights he’s unbeaten and his opponents have never made it passed the second round. If you look at his last four fights the stats show a “killer”. One opponent didn’t come out of his corner for the second round, one opponent had the fight stopped by a doctor following the second, and two opponents had the fight stopped due to injury. By no means am I saying that Jimi intentionally injuries his opponent but the fact is Manuwa hits and he hits hard. The key to the fight though is going to be whether or not Gustafaffason can utilize his range. Outside of Jon Jones, Alexander is the best and using his range to his advantage and frustrating his opponents. While Manuwa’s ability to finish is impressive it also poses a big question mark about how he’ll respond to later rounds. With this being a five round fight you have to give Alexander the edge but even in loss Manuwa still can have his stock rise by simply remaining competitive.
The co-main event features Melvin Guillard and Michael Johnson in a fight that is almost certainly guaranteed to be an early night for someone. Guillard has been known to be a very streaky fighter but has looked good in his most recent wins. Johnson is more or less in the same boat and has shown a great killer instinct lately. Both have knockout power so the fight will more than likely be determined by who fights the smarter fight, or which chin holds up the best. Ideally I’d like to see the same Michael Johnson discipline wise that has showed up his last two bouts, and if that’s the case then I got to think he is the favorite to win.
Also on the card is the always fun to watch Brad Picket, making his debut at Flyweight and unbeaten Welterweight prospect Gunnar Nelson making his return to the Octagon after a year layoff.
Main Card (Live on UFC Fight Pass 3PM EST)
- #1 Alexander Gustafsson (15-2-0) vs #11 Jimi Manuwa (14-0-0) Light Heavyweight Bout
- #14 Michael Johnson (15-8-0) vs Melvin Guillard (48-13-3) Lightweight Bout
- Brad Pickett (24-8-0) vs Neil Seery (13-9-0) Flyweight Bout
- Gunnar Nelson (11-0-1) vs Omari Akhmedov (12-0-0) Welterweight Bout
Preliminary Card (Live on UFC Fight Pass 12:30PM EST)
- Cyrille Diabate (20-9-3) vs Ilir Latifi (8-3-0) Light Heavyweight Bout
- Luke Barnatt (7-0-0) vs Mats Nilsson (11-2-1) Middleweight Bout
- Bradley Scott (10-2-0) vs Claudio Henrique da Silva (9-1-0) Middleweight Bout
- Igor Araujo (24-6-0) vs Danny Mitchell (14-4-1) Welterweight Bout
- Phil Harris (22-11-0) vs #11 Louis Gaudinot (6-3-0) Flyweight Bout
Sleeper of the Night: Phil Harris vs Louis Gaudinot. The Flyweights always bring it so this fight certainly has the potential to open the card with fireworks.
Check back as the fights begin for live results.
- Louis Gaudinot defeats Phil Harris via Submission at 1:13 of Round One
- Igor Araujo defeats Danny Mitchell via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Claudio Henrique da Silva defeats Bradley Scott via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Luke Barnatt defeats Mats Nilsson via TKO at 4:24 of Round One
- Ilir Latifi defeats Cyrille Diabate via Submission at 3:02 of Round One
- Gunnar Nelson defeats Omari Akhmedov via Submission at 4:36 of Round One
- Brad Pickett defeats Neil Seery via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Michael Johnson defeats Melvin Guillard via Unanimous Decision (30-27,30-27, 29-28)
- Alexander Gustafsson defeats Jimi Manuwa via TKO at 1:18 of Round Two
UFC Post Fight Awards
- Fight of the Night: Alexander Gustafsson vs Jimi Manuwa
- Performance of the Night: Alexander Gustafsson
- Performance of the Night: Gunnar Nelson