With Jimi Manuwa now revealed as the new opponent who will headline against former Alliance team mate Alexander Gustafsson when the UFC pitch up their tentpole in the UK next March, it appears that the stage is now set for what will be one of the UK’s most highly anticipated fights in recent history. As usual the UFC’s matchmakers have pulled out all the stops to ensure the replacement surpassed the original match up. In all fairness Lil Nog vs Alexander Gustafsson was never a fight to order a Dominoes Pizza for.
Gustafsson’s opponent was exclusively revealed on BT Sports flagship Mixed Martial Arts Magazine Show Beyond the Octagon. To minimal introduction or teasing Gareth A Davies announced that the two men will square off on March 8th. This will probably please Jon Jones who recently complained that "Top contenders were not fighting top contenders." For him only a match up with Cormier made sense. Jones recently revealed to me when he visited London that he thought highly of Manuwa. What’s been unspoken so far is this is a huge matchup with significant title contention implications.
The rumour mill has been nothing short of deafening in the past few days with many taking to Twitter to give wider exposure to the Manuwa vs Gustafsson match up that circulated after the uber relaible Frontrow Brian tweeted what his sources had revealed to him about the match up. Manuwa an undefeated stand up and KO specialist burst onto the MMA scene in 2008 and has since had many successful days in the office. Fourteen of these have contributed to his unblemished record.
Many are already picking Gustafsson as the favourite and it’s no wonder considering his last outing was somewhat of a barnburner and his feeling that he should rightfully be the title holder there is no doubt this will be an intense affair. The fact that his opponent is unbeaten will add more marketing clout to the event. Both men have made no secret of their desire to unseat Jon Jones. Manuwa received a tremendous welcome when he stepped into the Octagon in Manchester. Word to the wise, there’ll be a run on ear plugs as the event draws near If I were you I’d get your order for a spare pair in this week.