411’s MMA Roundtable Preview – UFC Fight Night: Manuwa vs. Anderson
UFC returns to London for UFC Fight Night! In the main event, light heavyweight contenders Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson Square off. In the co-main event, Gunnar Nelson battles Alan Jouban. In a catch-weight bout, Brad Pickett takes his final bow against Marlon Vera. Plus, Arnold Allen vs. Makwan Amirkhani, and more!
UFC Fight Pass
Bantamweight Bout: Lina Lansberg vs. Lucie Pudilova
Middleweight Bout: Bradley Scott vs. Scott Askham
Catch-weight (139 lbs.) Bout: Ian Entwistle vs. Brett Johns
Welterweight Bout: Leon Edwards vs. Vicente Luque
Middleweight Bout: Tom Breese vs. Oluwale Bamgbose
Lightweight Bout: Marc Diakiese vs. Teemu Packalen
Heavyweight Bout: Daniel Omielanczuk vs. Timothy Johnson
Light Heavyweight Bout: Darren Stewart vs. Francimar Barroso
Lightweight Bout: Joseph Duffy vs. Reza Madadi
THE MAIN CARD:
Featherweight Bout: Arnold Allen vs. Makwan Amirkhani
Jeffrey Harris: Both fighters are unbeaten in the UFC and have done fairly well for themselves. Makwan Amirkhani seems to be growing a nice little fanbase after dubbing himself Captain Finland. I see this being a fun and competitive match-up overall. However, I’m picking Captain Finland to get the ultimate victory here, but I expect a very tough fight.
Winner: Makwan Amirkhani
Robert Winfree: Two up and coming featherweights here, both unbeaten in the UFC and who could factor into the top of the division in the years to come. Amirkhani hasn’t fought in about a year, a troubling layoff, but he’s generally the more dynamic fighter. Allen is a solid fighter and him winning wouldn’t be surprising but Amirkhani seems like a slightly safer bet.
Winner: Makwan Amirkhani, Decision
Dan Plunkett: Allen is a good striker and better on the feet, but I think Amirkhani’s wrestling will get him the win.
Winner: Amirkhani, Decision
The staff picks Makwan Amirkhani, 3-0.
Catch-weight (140 lbs.) Bout: Brad Pickett vs. Marlon Vera
Jeffrey Harris: Bradley Pickett retires from MMA with this fight in his home country of England. It’s been a tough run for Brad Pickett, but he’s always been an exciting fighter throughout his UFC and WEC tenure. Pickett is always known for having or being a part of exciting fights. Unfortunately, he would come up just short in his biggest match-ups. I love Pickett, and I am making an emotional pick for him to win here. He gets a last-minute opponent change in Marlon Vera after his original opponent, Henry Briones, fell out of the fight. I’m hoping for Pickett to come through here.
Winner: Brad Pickett, Decision
Robert Winfree: Well this is it, the final fight in the career of Brad Pickett. Pickett has always been good for a scrap, a decent puncher who’s all around game is quite solid. Marlon Vera took this fight on short notice, replacing Henry Briones, and this feels like a designated win for Pickett. Vera is a decent fighter but unless he’s able to just smother and out wrestle Pickett for three rounds I think Pickett rides off into the sunset with a win in his hometown.
Winner: Brad Pickett, TKO, Round 2
Dan Plunkett: This is tough to call. Under normal circumstances, I’d go with Viera. However, he was only added to the fight last week, and the universe is behind Pickett in his retirement fight.
Winner: Pickett, Decision
The staff picks Brad Pickett, 3-0.
Welterweight Bout: Gunnar Nelson vs. Alan Jouban
Jeffrey Harris:This is actually a very interesting welterweight fight. We haven’t seen Gunnar Nelson in a little bit. He last fought in May 2016 and submitted Albert Tumenov. Tumenov is actually the only man who holds a legitimate win over Alan Jouban in the UFC. Jouban’s other loss to Warlley Alves was a robbery decision. This is a grappler vs. striker type match-up, and on that note, I tend to favor Gunnar Nelson’s grappling. Jouban is a very exciting and dynamic fighter. I love to watch Jouban’s fights because he has such an incredible, fast style, and I can’t ever recall a bad or boring fight he was in. However, I think this style match-up could be a nightmare for Jouban. I don’t think he’s ever faced a wrestler or grappler of Nelson’s caliber. And yes, Nelson got submitted by Demian Maia, but Maia is one of the best grapplers and BJJ practitioners on the planet. I think Nelson either manhandles Jouban or submits him to get the win. Nelson just sometimes has ice in his veins when he’s in the cage, and that makes him a very dangerous opponent.
Winner: Gunnar Nelson, Submission, Round 2
Robert Winfree: Alan Jouban has been hitting his stride lately, he’s been avoiding getting sucked into brawls and using his reach and technical acumen to set up and knock down his opponents. He only has one real loss, the loss to Warrley Alves was heavily influenced by Brazilian Clucky, but this represents a big step up in competition for him. Gunnar Nelson is a superb grappler, probably second only to Demian Maia in the division, and his striking style is influenced by some traditional karate techniques such as bouncing then lunging with punches which also closes distance and lets him force the grappling. We’ve never seen Jouban deal with someone like Nelson yet, and given how good Nelson has proven himself to be I’m inclined to lean towards him.
Winner: Gunnar Nelson, Submission, Round 3
Dan Plunkett: Jouban is legitimately good, but I really like Nelson here. He’s good on the feet and stellar on the floor.
Winner: Nelson, Submission, Round 2
The staff picks Gunnar Nelson, 3-0.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Jimi Manuwa vs. Corey Anderson
Jeffrey Harris: I could see this fight going a couple ways. Jimi Manuwa has the hometown advantage, and I would say he definitely has the advantage with his boxing, knockout power and striking. However, Corey Anderson is really good at neutralizing guys and grinding out his wins. He’s good at imposing his will. I’m honestly not expecting a barn burner here. The fact that the fight is five rounds could make it really interesting for either opponent. While a win for Manuwa wouldn’t surprise me, I’m picking Anderson to grind out this victory in a likely uneventful main event. If Manuwa manages to keep it standing and push the pace, that will give him a better chance to get a W.
Winner: Corey Anderson, Decision
Robert Winfree: Well with the list of gatekeepers bridging the gap between the elite light heavyweights and the rest of the pack now down to exactly Glover Teixeira, Bader and Davis both now being with Bellator, the winner here might be able to leapfrog through the caste system. Manuwa had a big win over Ovince Saint Preux and is best known for his striking, he’s a long striker who snipes very well. Corey Anderson is the basic grinder, he gets close, smothers, takes you down, and beats you up while riding you. This could go either way, neither man has been five rounds in the UFC and neither has really taken on someone that brings precisely what the other does. I’m leaning towards Manuwa based almost exclusively on the level of competition he’s faced, Manuwa has only lost to Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johsnon while Anderson had a disputed decision against a much diminished Shogun go against him and was earlier stopped by Gian Villante. Anderson can win this, he’s a tenacious grappler and has a high output style of strikes on the mat, but I’m a little more comfortable with Manuwa.
Winner: Jimi Manuwa, TKO, Round 3
Dan Plunkett: This is a bad main event, but it has a lot of merit as a fight. Anderson should be on a five fight win steak, but the judges in Brazil got it wrong when he fought Shogun. Manuwa has traded wins and losses since starting 14-0, and at 37, he’s something of a known quantity. He’s a dangerous striker with real power, but he can be put on his back and he’s not going to win from his back. Anderson is a wrestler whose striking game is slowly coming along, but he does make mistakes that have cost him (see fights with Gian Villante and Tom Lawlor) and he likely could have done more against Shogun. He will not be able to stand with Manuwa for significant periods and escape unscathed, and I doubt that’s a secret to his team. I see the most likely result being Anderson getting close to Manuwa, controlling him, and taking the decision.
Winner: Anderson, Decision
The staff picks Corey Anderson, 2-1.
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