UFC light-heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson is a man on a mission these days and the top-ranked contender will be rewarded with another title shot after dismantling previously unbeaten Jimi Manuwa at Fight Night 37 in London, England. “The Mauler” followed up his remarkable effort at UFC 165 against Jon Jones by cementing his No.1 ranking after finishing Manuwa in the second round of their scheduled five-round main event at O2 arena.
Gustafsson employed a strong tactical game against the dangerous striker as he was quick to take Manuwa to the ground after absorbing a jab and a couple of well-placed low kicks in the early moments of the fight. Gustafsson spent the bulk of the opening frame looking to lock in a submission finish while keeping “Poster Boy” on his back.
The end came in spectacular fashion in round two as Gustafsson landed a vicious knee to the face of Manuwa that had the London-based fighter in all kinds of trouble. He followed up with a pair of brutal uppercuts that sent Manuwa to the canvas and finished off the fight with hammer fists before the referee intervened. The end came at the 1:18 mark.
Gustafsson is now 16-2 in his career and has six finishes in his eight career Octagon victories. He earned not only a Knockout of the Night bonus but also saw the contest deemed as Fight of the Night as well. That amounts to an extra 100 thousand dollars for his efforts.
Manuwa tasted defeat for the first time in his 15-fight career and failed in what was by far the stiffest challenge of his career. He was able to land a couple of solid strikes but Gustafsson, who possesses a solid chin, was unfazed. Manuwa had been ranked No. 11 heading into the contest but his stock shouldn’t drop much in losing to a fighter who could very well become a future 205-pound champion.
The Swedish star called out Jones after the victory but the champion has his own business to attend to at UFC 172 on April 26 when he defends his title against Brazilian Glover Teixeira. Gustafsson has been focused on “Bones” since suffering that close decision loss in Toronto. One thing is for certain, the winner of Jones vs. Teixeira has a very dangerous challenge looming in the form of Gustafsson.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports