The UFC is back in London with another UFC Fight Pass event. UFC Fight Night 107 has received some hate mainly because of the fight headlining the card, as it’s not nearly as attractive as Michael Bisping vs. Anderson Silva — the big draw for the last UFC Fight Pass event in London. Either way, UFC Fight Night 107 is being headlined by a fairly important light heavyweight bout between top-ranked fighters Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson. This card also features the retirement bout of one of the main faces of British MMA, Brad Pickett, and interesting match-ups in Gunnar Nelson vs. Alan Jouban and Arnold Allen vs. Makwan Amirkhani.
What: UFC Fight Night 107
Where: The O2 Arena, London, England.
When: Saturday, March 18. The nine-fight UFC Fight Pass preliminary card begins at 1:30 p.m ET, and the four-fight main card begins at 5 p.m. also on UFC Fight Pass.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Corey Anderson
Main event worthy or not, Jimi Manuwa vs. Corey Anderson is an interesting matchup and an important fight for the UFC’s light heavyweight division.
Manuwa, ranked fourth in the division, has only lost to top-level competition in his MMA career, falling short to former UFC title challengers Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson. The British fighter is coming off an impressive knockout win over Ovince Saint Preux back in October, which highlighted his serious knockout power and outstanding kickboxing skills. Although a talented and dangerous striker, Manuwa has experienced some issues fighting opponents that are proficient in the wrestling department. We saw those issues come up in the Saint Preux and Johnson fights.
Anderson might not boast the wrestling credentials that the champion of the division Daniel Cormier possesses, but The Ultimate Fighter 19 winner has proven to be an efficient wrestler. Anderson, ranked sixth at light heavyweight, has taken down every opponent he’s defeated in the UFC. The 27-year-old Anderson fights well-rounded and does a great job at mixing his takedowns with his polished striking.
This bout comes down to how efficient can Anderson be with his takedowns, while avoiding Manuwa’s knockout power for 25 minutes. If this were a 15-minute affair, I’d like Anderson’s chances at grinding out a decision. However, being a main event bout, I believe Manuwa will have the time to work his superior striking and do enough damage on the feet to get a victory. I see Manuwa getting taken down during the fight but still being proficient enough on the ground to avoid damage and neutralize positions, forcing the referee to reset the bout back on the feet where he should have a significant advantage.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Alan Jouban
Here’s Alan Jouban’s big opportunity to break into the UFC welterweight rankings. Unfortunately for him, Jouban is not facing the most favorable of match-ups in the top-15 rankings.
At 35 years of age, Jouban looks to be in the prime of his career, having put together three straight victories with his recent performances. But what’s more impressive than his current win streak is that Jouban has shown improvement in all of his recent bouts, and now looks to be carrying nice momentum — something his opponent Gunnar Nelson seems to be in need of.
The SBG Ireland fighter looked to be the future of the welterweight divison just three years ago, as he was undefeated in MMA and had a 4-0 start in the UFC. However, after a few hiccups, Nelson is now 2-2 in his past four performances and only competed once in the 2016 calendar. But despite the set backs, Nelson is still in the top-10 rankings and remains a dangerous opponent for anyone at 170 pounds.
It’s no secret here that Nelson has a huge advantage over Jouban in the grappling area. This means Jouban needs to keep Nelson at range in order to avoid any kind of grappling that could lead the fight to the ground. I understand Jouban has never been submitted in a professional fight, but I’m sure he hasn’t faced anyone with the ground game that Nelson brings to the Octagon. Nelson is a slow starter and that can give Jouban a head start in the fight, or even help Jouban win a decision if he manages to avoid getting submitted while doing enough to win rounds. However, I see Nelson’s takedowns and dominant grappling being enough to get him a finish or a convincing decision.
Brad Pickett vs. Marlon Vera
After a 13-year-long MMA career, Brad Pickett will be hanging up the gloves in his hometown of London.
The 38-year-old Englishman made a solid career entertaining fans with his gritty boxing and his non-stop pressure. Pickett last fought in December against Urijah Faber and showed he still possesses some of the great attributes that made him a top bantamweight a few years ago. “One Punch” still lives up to his nickname, as he carries good amount of power behind his technical boxing. He can also wrestle and be dominant on the ground when needed.
Marlon Vera, a short notice replacement, will be looking build off his win over Ning Guangyou last November. The Ecuadorian fighter has shown to be durable athlete with good striking. “Chito” also has a good ground game with solid submissions off his back.
This should be a competitive fight, but keeping in mind that this is a short notice bout for Vera, I’m favoring Pickett to walk away with the win. I think Pickett will be in better shape considering he’s been in training camp, and I see him scoring on the feet. I also believe Pickett is capable of taking down and grappling with Vera if he were to get rocked on the feet.
Arnold Allen vs. Makwan Amirkhani
This is one of my favorite fights of the card. Arnold Allen vs. Makwan Amirkhani is a bout between two promising European fighters that are currently undefeated in the UFC.
Allen might not have the buzz of a Yair Rodriguez, but the 23-year-old fighter has a very high ceiling and I can see him having a long and bright future in the UFC. Allen is very technical everywhere and doesn’t seem to have any big holes or any major bad habits in his game. Allen has solid boxing, having an amateur boxing background, and very good grappling as well. He’s also very athletic and a big fighter for the 145-pound weight class, which only enhances his grappling.
Amirkhani, although 28 years old, seems to also be a good prospect at featherweight. “Mr. Finland” is a talented grappler with very well-timed takedowns and a dominant top game. Amirkhani is also a decent striker, but it’s clear that the ground game is where he shines best.
I undestand why Amirkhani is the favorite to win in this bout, but I find Allen’s size and ground game to be enough to neutralize Amirkhani’s ground attacks. I see Allen being tough to takedown and getting the best out of the striking. Regardless, it should be a very close fight between the two.
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Source:: mma fighting