The UFC is in London with a card headlined by top 10 light heavyweights and features a clash between two world class welterweights. Joseph Duffy is taking on Reza Madadi in the last fight of his UFC career so he will want go out on a good performance. The card also contains some of the most exciting prospects in Europe at the moment such as Marc Diakiese.
Jimi Manuwa is looking to get another crack at the top of the division by beating Corey Anderson at home in London. Manuwa has only lost to Alexander Gustafsson and Rumble Johnson and is coming off a knockout victory over Ovince St. Preux in October.
Manuwa is a power puncher, he likes to stalk his opponent and wait for the perfect opportunity to explode with a punch. He will use leg kicks to corral his opponent and limit their lateral movement but he is patient with his punches, not throwing a lot of combinations or volume and instead opting for power. Manuwa isn’t much of a grappler but he is very strong in the clinch and is capable of landing vicious shots from that position.
Ultimate Fighter winner Corey Anderson beat Sean O Connell in his last fight to bounce back from a close defeat to Shogun Rua. A win over a top 10 fighter such as Manuwa would establish Anderson as a potential contender at light heavyweight.
Anderson is a great wrestler, he has a well timed shot and is relentless with takedowns against the fence. Once he gets the fight to the ground he has good top control and continuously peppers away with shots from top position. His striking is good but it is still very clunky, he hasn’t really been able to put it together yet, even if the basics are there.
Anderson will need to get the fight to the ground to win this, as Manuwa hits too hard not to find a big shot in 25 minutes. Once Anderson gets on top his grappling may be too much for Manuwa, who has never shown anything to suggest he can offer much threat from his back. Once Anderson can secure takedowns and tire Manuwa out he is the favourite, but he will be in big trouble if he strays from his gameplan.
Ultimately I that Anderson will be able to score enough points on the feet and score enough takedowns to take a decision, but Manuwa will remain dangerous for the duration, waiting for his opportunity to land a big fight ending shot.
SBG student Gunnar Nelson takes on Alan Jouban in the co-main event. Both of these fighters have records of 6-2 in the UFC but are ever improving and eager for another shot at the top of the division. Nelson is one of the more unique fighters in the UFC, blending a deadly jiu-jitsu game with an in and out karate style of striking. Nelson very rarely throws his lead hand, preferring to wait for the perfect moment to explode forward with a right hand.
His real talent though is in grappling. He is good at hiding his takedown attempts behind his strikes and transitioning between the two seamlessly, once he gets control on the ground that is usually the end. His speciality is getting to the back and locking in a body triangle before working for the rear naked choke, and with four UFC victories via rear naked choke, he is very good at it.
Jouban has the instincts and the tendencies of a brawler but with a much more refined game. He has good movement and is comfortable fighting either at range or in the pocket. He also has very powerful kicks and if he commits to attacking the body he could slow Nelson down, as Rick Story did when he fought Nelson. Jouban is a solid wrestler and is decent off his back due to his training in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu.
If this fight stays standing Jouban should easily outscore Nelson, but Nelson just needs to get this to the ground once and he can find the submission.
Donegal’s Joseph Duffy looks set to leave the promotion after contract negotiations fizzled out a few months ago. Duffy is 3-1 in the UFC with all of his victories coming via finish and he has the potential to compete at the very top of the lightweight division so he needs a win here to give himself some leverage in upcoming contract negotiations with other promotions.
Duffy began his career as a submission fighter but took a break from MMA to fight as a professional boxer in 2013 and has shown predictably improved striking since then. He is a threat in all areas but Dustin Poirier exposed holes in his wrestling when they fought.
Madadi will certainly be testing that wrestling, he is a grinder who will look to push Duffy up against the fence and soften him up and score takedowns. Duffy may concede a few takedowns but he will score heavily enough in the striking to negate it, and may even stop Madadi.
Other fighters to look out for on this card include Makwan Amirkhani and Marc Diakiese. Amirkhani is a great wrestler, he explodes with speed and power into his takedowns. He has good variety with his takedowns and is relentless once he gets a hold of his opponent. As a striker his game is not very refined, but the athleticism which makes his wrestling great still applies to some degree, so he is dangerous due to his ability to close the distance quickly and throw with power. He is up against Arnold Allen, who is a very well rounded fighter and it may just come down to who can control the wrestling.
Diakiese is a very exciting prospect, going 2-0 already in his UFC career. He has exciting and dangerous striking but it is still spotty in places and needs work. He has an excellent takedown game with fast and well timed shots and powerful slams. His opponent Packalen is at his best as a submission fighter. He has some skills standing up but not consistently enough to win rounds and his wrestling game isn’t strong enough to get him to the ground consistently.
Main Card (9 PM UFC Fight Pass)
Jimi Manuwa vs. Corey Anderson – Anderson in a clear but competitive decision
Alan Jouban vs. Gunnar Nelson – Nelson to get it to the ground and work his magic
Brad Pickett vs. Marlon Vera – Pickett
Arnold Allen vs. Makwan Amirkhani – Amirkhani
Preliminary Card (5:30 PM UFC Fight Pass)
Joseph Duffy vs. Reza Madadi – Duffy
Francimar Barroso vs. Darren Stewart – Stewart
Timothy Johnson vs. Daniel Omielanczuk – Johnson
Marc Diakiese vs. Teemu Packalen – Diakiese
Oluwale Bamgbose vs. Tom Breese – Breese
Leon Edwards vs. Vicente Luque – Edwards
Ian Entwistle vs. Brett Johns – Johns
Scott Askham vs. Brad Scott – Scott