Alexander Gustafsson is coming off the biggest fight of his career — a five-round decision loss to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones — a fight which many thought (including myself) that Gustafsson had won. Saturday, the Swedish born Gustafsson will be getting back in the Octagon against undefeated British fighter Jimi Manuwa at UFC Fight Night in London, England.
When UFC President Dana White offered Jones an immediate rematch with Gustaffson, “Bones” turned it down and instead elected to fight Glover Texeira. A true tell of the battle Jones went through with Gustaffson, as Jones was sent to the hospital on a stretcher after the fight and Gustaffson was still standing.
That brings us to the fight on Saturday, where Gustaffson (15-2) will have to do something that has never been done before — beat Manuwa, who has finished all 14 of his fights, 13 by knockout and one submission. However, Manuwa hasn’t faced a fighter of the same caliber as the Swede; so this makes for one interesting matchup.
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The path to the light heavyweight title is clear for Gustaffson; beat Manuwa, get a title shot against Jones (should he get past Texeira), lose and get back in line, which would put new light heavyweight comer Daniel Cormier at the top and move Manuwa up the ladder as well.
Even with the undefeated record, I’m going with Gustaffson by TKO.
In the co-main event Michael Johnson (14-8) takes on Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (31-12-2-2), in a lightweight bout, with Johnson coming in with two straight wins and Guillard with one win and one no contest.
Guillard was originally slated for a rematch with England’s Ross Pearson (15-6-1), after a no-contest was ruled when Guillard landed an illegal knee to Pearson’s head and the fight called off at UFC Fight Night 30, but Pearson had to withdraw from this fight due to a meniscus tear to his leg while training.
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This looks to be a good matchup, with both guys fast with their hands. If Johnson can withstand Guillard’s quick, powerful bursts on the feet, I think Johnson will be able to take it the distance. Johnson by decision.
That will do it for this week, MMA update on Monday and next week TVMix will be in Dallas for UFC 171 Hendricks vs. Lawler.
David Kano is lead writer for MMA Show News and co-host of The Hollywood MMA Show. You can follow him on Twitter @TheDKano.
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