Jimi Manuwa put himself firmly in contention for the UFC Light-Heavyweight title after quickly dispatching of Corey Anderson by first round knockout at UFC London.
UFC London, also UFC Fight Night 107, took place at the O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday, March 18. As well as the main event between Manuwa and Anderson, the card featured a wealth of British talent as the UFC showcased the best fighters from the UK on their current roster.
Manuwa gets quick finish and demands to be number one contender
In the main event, Manuwa (17-2) would continuosly close the distance and not let Anderson (9-3) get any distance to work. He continued the pressure whilst swatting away his opponent’s early takedown attempts but wasn’t offering much offensive of his own despite controlling the centre of the cage.
That all changed halfway through the first round as all the Brit’s stalking paid off. Anderson circled into a big left hook from Manuwa and immediately fell face first to the mat giving the Londoner a big finish in front of his home fans.
Having won six of his eight UFC bouts and without a loss since being knocked out by Anthony Johnson in September 2015, Manuwa would take the oppertunity to call for his title shot. “Poster Boy” put forward his case to face the winner of UFC 210’s light-heavyweight title fight between champion Daniel Cormier and Johnson post-fight.
Nelson plays to his strengths with submission win over Jouban
In the evening’s co-main event, Gunnar Nelson used his underrated striking in order to set up a more familiar finish when he beat Alan Jouban with a guillotine choke in the second round.
A tentative start by both welterweights saw them trade feints and fakes as the Icelandic native would eat some leg kicks from Jouban. Nelson (16-2-1) would eventually rush his opponent and when on the ground, used his high-level grappling skills to find his way to mount. Jouban (15-5) would fight for survival and was saved by the bell which ended the opening frame.
SBG product Nelson came flying out the blocks in the second and worked a higher pace. It would all pay off as a right straight would find the jaw of Jouban who was rocked and stumbled back into the cage. Nelson landed a big kick to the face and would immediately revert to his BJJ and grabbed the Louisiana fighter in a tight guillotine to force the tap.
Now with two straight wins since his loss to Demian Maia, “Gunni” can truly be considered a force and a danger for any fighter at 170lbs.
Pickett’s career comes to an end in heartbreaking fashion
Also on the card, Brad Pickett would come close, but didn’t get the fairytale ending he would have hoped for in his last fight before retirement. After winning the first two rounds, the Londoner would get knocked down by a head kick from late replacement Marlon Vera.
In the 140lb catchweight bout, Pickett (25-14) started well as he would land powerful combinations and used his wrestling and grappling to take complete control of the first round. A big slam early in the first and an efficient ground and pound throughout the second ensured “One-Punch” was ahead on the scorecards going into the final frame.
Disaster struck however as after a great performance, Pickett was caught by a headkick from the resurgent Vera (9-3-1) with only a minute to go. This sent the British fighter to the mat as Vera followed up with hammer fists to get the TKO win over a visably disappointed Pickett.
Both men were emotional post-fight with Vera thanking the Brit for the oppertunity to fight him and also Pickett saying his goodbyes to an appreciative crowd before leaving his famed Trilby hat in the centre of the octagon.
Meanwhile, top featherweight prospect Arnold Allen would hand Finland’s Makwan Amirkhani his first defeat by way of a close decision in the opening bout of the main card.
In this three round grappling battle, the action went back-and-forth as Allen (12-1) and Amirkhani (13-3) would both take turns in top control and would stay busy. Allen would defend the submissions of his opponent and would do more throughout the fight to convince the judges to hand the victory to “Almighty”
Also on the prelims, Marc Diakiese (12-0) stole the show with a stunning first round knockout of Teemu Packalen (8-2) to put the whole of the lightweight division on notice. The Doncaster fighter is still undefeated and has now won all of his three UFC bouts in impressive displays.
Light-Heavyweight: Jimi Manuwa def. Corey Anderson via KO (Round 1 – 3:05)
Welterweight: Gunnar Nelson def. Alan Jouban via Submission (Guillotine) (Round 2 – 0:46)
140lb Catchweight: Marlon Vera def. Brad Pickett via TKO (Strikes) (Round 3 – 3:50)
Featherweight: Arnold Allen def. Makwan Amirkhani via Decision (Split) (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)
UFC London Prelims
Lightweight: Joe Duffy def. Reza Madadi via Decision (Unanimous) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Light-Heavyweight: Francimar Borroso def. Darren Stewart via Decision (Unanimous) (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Heavyweight: Timothy Johnson def. Daniel Omielanczuk via Decision (Split) (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Welterweight: Leon Edwards def. Vicente Luque via Decision (Unanimous) (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Lightweight: Marc Diakiese def. Teemu Packalen via KO (Round 1 – 0:30)
Middleweight: Brad Scott def. Scott Askham via Decision (Split) (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Women’s Bantamweight: Lina Lansberg def. Lucie Pudilova def. via Decision (Unanimous) (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)