After an incredible evening of fights in Brazil last weekend, the UFC heads across the pond for UFC Fight night Manuwa vs Anderson in London this weekend. While the London fight night card may not have as much talent up and down the card like Brazil, it still has two very interesting scraps on the main card. The main event has very real number next one title contender implications on the line in the light heavyweight division. My predictions had a rough go of it last card so I will look to get back on track with some fight predictions and hopefully help your bank accounts. Let’s get to the fights:
Notable Main Card Fights:
Alan “Brahma” Jouban vs Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson (9th) (Welterweight 170lbs)
Preview: This fight for casual fans may seem like a forgone conclusion with a top 10 fighter fighting an unranked one. On the surface it looks like the UFC is trying build Gunnar Nelson back into a title contender. Alan Jouban has ‘some’ name recognition but is 35 years old and should allow Nelson to get a nice win to set-up a top 5 matchup in his next bout. Unfortunately, for Gunnar Nelson, Alan Jouban is not a foregone conclusion. Nelson knows he cannot afford to overlook a fighter in Jouban who is on a 3 fight win streak and looks like he’s in the best form of his career. Jouban will have a slight height and reach advantage over Nelson. His recent commitment to movement on his feet and mixing up his attacks has allowed him to win three straight, two of which he was the betting underdog heading into the fight. Jouban will need to continue his commitment to his dynamic striking while making sure he stays away from Nelson’s clinch or takedown range. Jouban knows Nelson is a dynamo on the ground, and if he ends up on mat versus Nelson he is in serious trouble. Nelson has only lost twice in his UFC career and has never been stopped. Jouban knows his best chance at a win against Nelson will need him to use his distance and mixing up his striking perfectly for all three rounds. He’ll need his jab and knees to deter Nelson’s takedowns. He may also need to hurt or sting Nelson early in the 1st round to make him respect his striking. If Jouban is unable to dictate the pace and style of this fight, it could turn into a long painful night for him or if he gets taken down early it could be quick and painful. Nelson is at his best when he’s on that mat, and the outcome of this fight will entirely hinge on how easy or difficult it is for Nelson to get the fight there.
Odds: Jouban (+285) vs Nelson (-350)
Prediction: I understand Nelson as the favorite in this fight. However, I don’t understand the price. Nelson is a beast on the ground, but he’s fairly limited when it comes to his striking. He’s never landed more than 50 strikes in a three round fight his entire career. I hate taking huge favorites with huge disparities in their skill sets; no matter how great they are at their one specialty. Couple that Alan Jouban has looked phenomenal his last couple of fights, and appears to finally have put a style together that highlights all of his strengths while protecting against his liabilities, and I love the price I’m getting for Jouban. If Jouban can avoid getting taken down, I think he wins a close but unanimous decision in a upset. Take the +285 as a gift, and hope Jouban has been practicing his takedown defense in this camp leading to this fight.
(Jouban +285 via Unanimous Decision)
Corey “Overtime” Anderson (6th) vs Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa (4th) (Light heavyweight 205lbs)
Preview: The main event has the potential to have a future number one contender emerge in the Light heavyweight division. Both Corey Anderson and Jimi Manuwa have been close to securing a possible number one ranking, only to lose to one of the best fighters in the Light heavyweight division. Now they’ll have the chance to go through each other for a chance to impress the UFC, and potentially land a number one contender fight after this bout. Jimi Manuwa is ferocious striker whose only losses have come to a man about to fighter for the title Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and a man who nearly beat Jon Jones; Alexander Gustafsson. He is coming off an impresive knockout victory over the super talented Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 204. Despite being ten years older and two inches shorter than Anderson, Manuwa will not give up any reach advantage. Manuwa is by far the more explosive of the two fighters despite the near decade in age difference. Manuwa’s biggest weakness coming into this fight is his ability to get a little wild when attempting his strikes. Anderson can likely counter or look to take Manuwa to the mat with his superior wrestling if he can catch swinging for the fences early in the fight. Since winning The Ultimate Fighter 19 finale in 2014, Corey Anderson has only lost twice since then. He got stopped by Gian Villante, and lost a controversial split decision to “Shogun” Rua last year which if it went his way would put him on a 5 fight win streak. He will not get intimidated by Manuwa, and has enough power to hurt Manuwa if he does not respect his striking. Neither fighter has been a part of or gone the distance in a 5 round fight; which could favor Anderson’s wrestling style if the fight makes into the championship rounds. I expect Manuwa to attempt to swarm Anderson with a barrage of punches early in the 1st round where he will have his peak cardio allowing him to stuff Anderson’s wrestling if he can.
Odds: Anderson (+120) vs Manuwa (-137)
Prediction: Vegas knows this is an essentially a coin flip fight, and I tend to agree. I can see Manuwa icing Anderson with a brutal first round knockout. However, I can easily Anderson avoiding an early barrage from Manuwa and slowly taking over the fight as he stops an exhausted Manuwa late. In the end, I like Anderson’s skill set despite him not having the bigger names on his résumé that Manuwa has on his. Anderson can theoretically win with a big counter-shot against a wild Manuwa and I think if the fight does go into the deeper rounds his wrestling background will translate better to get a win. I’ll take the plus odds with Anderson +120, and take under 1.5 rounds as a shot at a hedge incase Manuwa unleashes a first round knockout. We get a chance to cash both if Anderson stops Manuwa too.
(Anderson via TKO +120) & Bonus Play (Under 1.5 rounds +150)
Prediction Record since 2016 to Date (33-30-0) (-$237.50)
-Record & predictions based on Win vs Loss predictions only. Unless specified otherwise I use increments of $100 (for + odds predictions)& $110 (for – odds bets) as hypothetical wagers for each prediction.
-Predictions & Records are for entertainment value only
*Stats via www.UFC.com
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