Alexander Gustafsson will be looking to make his case for another UFC light heavyweight title shot when he returns to the Octagon this weekend in London, England at Fight Night 37. “The Mauler”, who was last seen giving champion Jon Jones all he could handle at UFC 165, looks to hand the hard-hitting Jimi Manuwa his first career defeat at O2 arena in the main event.
The Swedish star saw his stock rise immensely with his tremendous effort albeit in a losing cause against Jones. The huge underdog gave “Bones” the toughest challenge of his career and there were many fans hoping to see an immediate rematch given the excitement produced by the highly competitive five-round affair. Instead, Jones opted to make his next defense against Brazilian Glover Teixeira.
The no. 11 ranked Manuwa presents a danger with his impressive power and striking abilities. He’s won 14 straight fights to begin his career with 13 coming by way of knockout. 10 of those stoppages have come in the very first round. It’s been an unusual ride in his UFC career with three straight wins but two of them as the result of injury retirements. His most recent effort was a second round TKO of Ryan Jimmo after the Canadian sustained a leg injury. “Poster Boy” has never had a fight go beyond the second round in his career and will be getting a huge step up in competition against the battle-tested and no.1 ranked Gustafsson.
Gustafsson is a supreme finisher in his own right with five of his seven UFC victories having come by way of knockout or submission. He’s faced substantially better competition than Manuwa having stared across the Octagon at not only Jones but also Phil Davis and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. He’ll likely look to use his 6’5 frame to good use in the striking department and also possesses excellent movement and techniques. Gustafsson also showed in the bout against Jones that he has improved his wrestling game substantially.
This fight should be an explosive affair with a high likelihood of producing a finish. Gustafsson is focused on getting the victory to set up another possible showdown with Jones, while it’s a tremendous opportunity for Manuwa. The London-based knockout artist will have a partisan crowd in his favor and can become a major player in the 205-pound division if he can pull off the upset.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports