Two of the better rising light heavyweight title contenders will do battle later today (Sat., Mar. 18, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 107 airing exclusively on Fight Pass from inside The O2 Arena in London, England, as the heavy-hitting Jimi Manuwa meets power wrestler Corey Anderson in an underrated main event. This is the second time Manuwa is headlining a UFC event, while it marks Anderson’s first. For Manuwa, it’s a chance to notch another knockout as he aims to crack the division’s top four. In Anderson’s case, this is his chance to prove his wrestling can work against the best in the 205-pound division.
In effort to sift through the impending five-round action and determine what each fighter needs to do in order to walk away with their hand raised, we take a look at Manuwa and Anderson’s individual keys to victory.
1) Create space…
From what we’ve seen from “Poster Boy” in the past, he’s one of the best boxers the light heavyweight roster possesses. Manuwa hits hard, throws together vicious combinations, is fast inside the pocket and understands where he needs to be to land the most worthwhile shots. Not to mention the Englishman possesses blistering kicks capable of breaking limbs.
Against somehow as athletic and wrestling-driven as Anderson, Manuwa must maintain his distance and create space on the feet if he’s going to be able to lean on his destructive striking. Too much presence inside could very well lead to a takedown, while an aggressive presence outside could prevent him from landing crushing shots to the body. It’s a game of range that Manuwa must manipulate to have the best chance to defeat Anderson.
2) Make it short…
When looking at Manuwa’s resume, abilities and natural tendency to inflict damage, he isn’t a fighter built to last five rounds. He’s a destroyer who is best suited going for the kill early and unloading his power. In fact, “Poster Boy” has gone the distance just once in his entire career, dishing out two injury stoppages and one doctor’s stoppage in the process. In other words, Manuwa is at home when he goes to work in the first two rounds.
That’s exactly the type of mentality he must bring into his bout with Anderson later today. The quicker he can disrupt Anderson’s flow and ability to work in the clinch the better. After all, four of Anderson’s six UFC victories have come by way of decision, suggesting that the former Ultimate Fighter winner is a fighter who likes to take his time setting up takedowns, working on the ground and implementing his own gameplan.
1) Clinch early…
During his three-year stint in the UFC, Anderson has shown an elevated ability to pin opponents up against the cage, sap their energy, score points in bunches and drag them to the canvas. Anderson’s process of deconstruction by way of clinch has helped him soften up some of the division’s more tested veterans, take them down and batter them on the ground. In total, “Beastin’ 25/8” has secured 29 total takedowns in just eight Octagon appearances.
Against Manuwa, who relies on his ability to land strikes from distance, Anderson must quickly look to clinch, tie the action up, tire the Englishman’s arms out, take away his punching power and take control of the pace of the fight. He will have to be mindful of Manuwa’s dirty boxing and body punches inside, but if Anderson can manipulate where this fight takes place then he’s going to have an easy time scoring points and attacking with takedowns.
2) Drag it out…
The longer this main event fight lasts the more it favors Anderson. That isn’t a knock on Manuwa’s potential to land a vicious knockout punch late into the fourth or fifth round, but more of a testament to Anderson’s conditioning, durability and overall ability to grind an opponent down.
As previously mentioned, the majority of Anderson’s UFC wins have come by way of decision, while Manuwa is a quick worker who either stops or gets stopped early into a fight. Manuwa may be tough enough to survive Anderson’s ground-and-pound off his back, but the longer he’s forced to fend off the wrestler’s advances the faster his power evaporates.
Anderson must be careful in his offensive attacks, but aiming to drag Manuwa to deep water will give him the best opportunity to control the fight and take his time scoring points whenever the Englishman isn’t able to uncork devilish combinations.
Prediction: Manuwa via second-round KO
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 107 fight card, starting with the UFC Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET, before the UFC Fight Pass main card start time at 5 p.m. ET.
Source:: mma mania