Top-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight contenders Jimi Manuwa (No. 4) and Corey Anderson (No. 6) will clash later today (March 18, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 107 inside The 02 in London, England.
After a few years of competing in UFC without making much of an impact, Manuwa scored the biggest win of his career by violently knocking out Ovince Saint Preux. Suddenly, Manuwa is being looked at as a possible contender, and this bout is an opportunity to make that a reality. Meanwhile, Anderson has been remarkably successful and consistent despite how little experience the wrestler possessed when he first joined UFC. This is arguably the toughest test of his still young career, but it’s potentially the victory needed to propel Anderson into the title mix.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:
Key Wins: Ovince St. Preux (UFC 204), Jan Blachowicz (UFC Fight Night 64), Ryan Jimmo (UFC Fight Night 30)
Key Losses: Anthony Johnson (UFC 191), Alexander Gustafsson (UFC Fight Night 37)
Keys to Victory: Manuwa is an insanely powerful striker, who both sets up his shots well and is comfortable from all ranges. His defensive grappling has historically been a weakness, but it improved enough for him to keep the fight standing opposite “OSP” and score the knockout.
In this match, keeping it standing is the most obvious key to victory. Manuwa is not terrible at working up to his feet, but that’s exhausting, and having to work up from takedowns will only cut down on the amount of time he has to score the knockout.
At 37 years old, Manuwa likely needs a finish in the first couple rounds.
To land that blow, Manuwa needs to intelligently pressure Anderson. He may be a sharper man on the outside, but he does most of his damage in the pocket, and doing damage quickly is a priority here. As Manuwa moves forward, he must be wary of the shot, but his physical strength and skill should be enough while in the middle of the Octagon. If he’s pressuring, his back won’t be on the fence, and a failed shot from Anderson puts Manuwa in a great position to land devastating shots.
Key Wins: Jan Blachowicz (UFC 191), Tom Lawlor (UFC 196), Fabio Maldonado (UFC Fight Night 77)
Key Losses: Mauricio Rua (UFC 198), Gian Villante (UFC on FOX 15)
Keys to Victory: Anderson is a great athlete with a solid wrestling background. He’s nowhere near as devastating as Manuwa, but Anderson maintains one of the highest paces at 205 pounds, shooting takedowns and working his high-volume kickboxing constantly.
As illustrated above, Anderson is at the highest risk of being knocked out early in the fight. That said, he cannot simply hope to circle around and wait for Manuwa to get tired, as the Englishman can keep his own pace without much issue.
Instead, Anderson needs to work his long distance strikes from the outside while keeping in mind that he’s facing a similarly long-limbed opponent. The counter is a definite threat, but if Anderson can jab, draw the counter, and then duck under with a takedown, he has a strong chance to finish.
If not, driving Manuwa to the fence is a success on its own. Manuwa is willing to counter grapple, but he doesn’t necessarily have the skill to do so. If Anderson can force prolonged wrestling exchanges, he’ll likely wind up on top.
At worst, he’ll drain Manuwa without being at huge risk of absorbing big shots.
Bottom Line: It may not seem like it, but this is a pretty huge fight for the Light Heavyweight division. Whichever man wins is suddenly in the title mix and is a possible contender. The top three at Light Heavyweight may seem far beyond the rest of the division, but that doesn’t mean they can keep fighting each other forever. A new face is needed, and both Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson — as the veteran power puncher and athletic up-and-comer respectively — could fulfill that role. Only one of them will. The loser isn’t likely to tumble down the rankings much, but it does cut into their momentum and delay any title aspirations. This is a far larger issue for Manuwa, who is not exactly a young fighter no matter how impressive his physique.
At UFC Fight Night 107, Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson will throw down in the main event. Which man will have his hand raised?
Source:: mma mania