The hype train of Jimi "Poster Boy" Manuwa arrived at UFC on FUEL TV 5, and not many questioned the validity of it. Though Octagon debut wasn't the Knockout Of The Night that he promised, Manuwa did in fact show promise as he kicked, punched, kneed, and elbowed his way to his first big show win.
Nigerian born, Manuwa made his way to the UK at the age of 10. Following a troubled youth, he found himself behind bars in 2002 for conspiracy to commit burglary. And after his 2003 release, he found the savior of Mixed Martial Arts.
"Poster Boy" took on his first pro fight in 2008. Since then he has amassed an astonishing Twelve wins, with all Twelve being finishes. Eleven of the Twelve by form of Knockout. Entering the octagon at UFC On FUEL TV in Nottingham, England was his first UFC outing, and he felt there was much to prove. After all, the entire United Kingdom has been screaming his praises for years so there was a very high expectation for Manuwa.
As with many situations of pre-UFC hype (Lombard, Shields, Faber etc...), we didn't exactly see what we expected, but it wasn't all bad. Once again Kyle Kingsbury agreed to be the sacrificial lamb to a UFC newcomer, and it didn't exactly work out to extend his name in the sport except to hear people say, " Kingsbury has a chin! Did you see those shots he was taking?". In all truth, Manuwa, when in situations that fit his comfort zone, completely decimated "Kingsbu" with beautifully brutal striking. But there were holes in the game of Manuwa, and had the fight gone much longer, we may have seen them become his undoing.
But as far as UFC debuts go, it wasn't a bad one at all. And if you ask me, what promise he did show, made nearly half of the division look like a gaggle of slapfighters. The speed, power, and precision of Manuwa's strikes are seemingly manufactured. The guy must have been built in a wartime factory somewhere. Each bomb he throws definitely leaves scorched earth. Though is appeared that Kingsbury was handling the onslaught with the lights on, I don't believe anybody was home.
The second round of the fight is what scared many of the Manuwa faithful. His gas tank began to look a little low, and even sloppy takedowns were dragging him to the mat. His game of submission defense in round one had looked intelligent, but round two led to increasingly scarier positions and situations. But if cardio was the cause then it should be an easy fix for his second outing, whenever that may be.
As usual, the verdict on the UFC newcomer will be split in both directions to the point of holy war when discussing. To those who are on the fence let me offer you a tiny insight. Though Jimi Manuwa may not have completely decimated Kyle Kingsbury in his UFC debut, he certainly did make striking look easy and painful. Taking into consideration that this was his first appearance in the UFC, and he didn't exactly get a total can to kick around, look for Jimi "Poster Boy" Manuwa to rise quickly in the UFC and add a little parity to the division.