This coming Saturday, as from the O2 arena in London, England, Alexander Gustafsson will take on Jimi Manuwa in one of the most anticipated light-heavyweight fights of the year.
Gustafsson is 7 – 2 in the UFC and coming off of a Fight-of-the-Year title challenge match and loss, to six time defending champion Jon Jones.
Gustafsson has long been thought to be the inevitable successor to Jones and at their UFC 165 bout in Toronto last September, the ‘Mauler’ nearly made the inevitable come real. Taking the ‘Bones’ the distance over five, Gustafsson forced Jones to bring his best game to the fight and with the unanimous decision read in the champ’s favor, many fans believed the verdict to be wrong.
However, Gustafsson now moves on to face the hard hitting Jimi Manuwa and in an effort to earn another crack at Jones, and the light-heavyweight title.
Manuwa is a true slugger. Coming into the match he’s 14 – 0 professionally, 3 – 0 in the brand and has a perfect finishing rate, with 93% of it coming by way of T/KO. In short and even though only ranked number eleven in the division – Gustafsson is ranked number one – ‘Poster Boy’ stands as a serious threat to any opponent that climbs into the Octagon with him and that includes, the great Alexander Gustafsson.
Gustafsson is taller by four inches, younger by seven years and has a two-and-a-half inch reach advantage over Manuwa. He also has great footwork, ever improving wrestling skills and power of his own – taking 60% of his professional wins by T/KO – to put in Manuwa’s path.
However, Manuwa brings a game so powerful that he’s apt to negate any of Gustafsson’s advantages. Manuwa has the size and strength to take the Mauler out and has proven himself a virtual tank in the Octagon. With no fighter surviving to a decision or even the third round – only four fighters have made it to the second – the Poster Boy has demonstrated himself to be a fighter that no opponent should take lightly, and that includes the mighty Gustafsson.
Sadly, the book on this match is that it’s likely to be a great fight and is an important on in the class, but alas, one that many fans are apt to miss. As the fight is only being presented on the UFC’s subscription service “Fight Pass” and a large number of fans aren’t signing up for it, Gustafsson vs. Manuwa is a bout that many fans will never see.
Here’s the event preview.