Following a busy week and the drama of two fights being pulled at the last minute, the stage was set for an eventful evening of fights at the O2 in London. From the smashed up face of Lina Lansberg in the opening fight through to the explosive finale that was the main event, UFC Fight Night Manuwa v Anderson had something for everyone.
Marlon Vera knows how to spoil a party
As Brad Pickett made his way to the octagon for the last time, many were hoping for one final victory in the closing chapter of the East Londoners career. However, last minute replacement Marlon Vera had other ideas.
Throwing Vera to the ground early on would’ve raised Pickett’s confidence but as the fight progressed, the Ecuadorian started to relax and take control of the fight. Although possibly on top going into the final round, Pickett’s last dance came to an end when Vera connected with a head kick. After the fight a very despondent and disappointed Pickett placed his trademark trilby in the centre of the octagon before walking off for the final time.
Vera, who himself was moved to tears and very emotional after the fight, was extremely gracious in victory and was fully aware of what defeat meant to Pickett. Ultimately, as has been stated many a time before, there isn’t an easy fight when it comes to MMA, and with that you have to say fair play to Vera for coming into the lions den at such short notice and doing what he has trained to do, win the fight.
Jimi Manuwa has to be the next contender for the light heavyweight crown
If you want the division and powers that be to take note, you have to put on a display that will get people talking. That’s exactly what Jimi Manuwa did last night. Already ranked at #4, Manuwa was clearly already a contender but last night’s explosive 1st round KO of the #6 ranked Corey Anderson firmly thrusts Manuwa into contention for the light heavyweight strap.
Unleashing a devastating left hook, Manuwa calmly walked away as Anderson fell to the floor. Marvelling in his own work, Manuwa surely has to be a serious contender for the winner of the Daniel Cormier v Anthony Johnson rematch, which takes place .at UFC210 next month.
Gunnar Nelson is the calmest man in MMA
In a sport where you are trying to beat your opponent by KO or submission, you can understand the intensity of fighters as they enter their place of work. When it comes to Gunnar Nelson, you’d think you’re watching a man who has just awoken from a twenty year slumber. Calm, collected, composed and just damn right laid back, Nelson’s unique style is something to behold.
Nelson entered the octagon as the #9 ranked welterweight in the division and in Alan Jouban, was facing a tricky character who beat motor-mouth Mike Perry in his last fight. Straight from the off, Nelson showed his dominance with his incessant pressure on the ground. Jouban landed some heavy leg kicks but didn’t really seem to threaten the cool Icelander.
Just 46 seconds into the 2nd round and it was all over when Nelson exploded with easily the best combination of the night. Landing a straight right, Jouban stumbled back against the cage before Nelson connected with a head kick. Tying to defend, Nelson pulled Jouban to the floor in such a savage way that Jouban didn’t have time to register or react to what had just happened. On the floor, Nelson sunk in a guillotine and the fight was all over when Jouban tapped.
Fan favourite Nelson is an absolute beast and would cause real problems to anyone in the division. A potential rematch and redemption against Demian Maia could be a real possibility, should the Brazilian see off Jorge Masvidal, however it’s likely that Maia v Masvidal could be a title eliminator.
Marc Diakiese is a man on a mission
Confidence in your own ability is obviously something that will stand you in good stead when it comes to Mixed Martial Arts, especially if you have the talent to back it up. Marc Diakiese clearly has an abundance in both if last nights short display is anything to go by.
Over in just 30 seconds, Diakiese showed his intent right from the off in his fight with Teemu Packalen. Throwing a series of kicks initially, the fight was over when Diakiese connected with a highlight reel thunderous right hand that crumpled Packalen to the ground.
With three wins out of three in the UFC, the former BAMMA fighter now has a professional record of 12-0 and on last nights evidence, a bright future lies ahead for Diakiese.
Leon Edwards is on the rise
With a solid victory over the dangerous Vicente Luque under his belt, Leon Edwards wasted no time in calling out Cowboy Cerrone in his post fight interview. Another former BAMMA fighter, Edwards is now 5-2 in the UFC and 13-3 overall after victory against Luque.
In what was a fairly even contest, Luque was dominant on the ground but never really troubled Edwards who deserved the unanimous victory, his third on the bounce in the UFC. Whether Edwards will get his chance against Cerrone remains to be seen but if it does happen, Cowboy will be in for a tricky nights work.