We're in the midst of 6 UFC shows in 6 weeks, and this is the 4th one. London plays host to a light heavyweight match-up between Alexander Gustafsson and Jimi Manuwa, which could decide whether or not Gustafsson could be in line for a coveted rematch with Jon Jones. There aren't too many big names in this event aside from Gustafsson, but all things considered it's a decent show.
This post will briefly cover the other 3 main card bouts, including a very intriguing lightweight co-main event between Melvin Guillard and Michael Johnson, as well as Brad Pickett's flyweight debut. The UFC Fight Night main card begins live at 12:30 PM ET/9:30 AM PT exclusively on Fight Pass (except in the UK, where Channel 5 and BT Sport will both carry the broadcast), so you're either having breakfast or lunch by the time fights are on, and that sounds good to me.
Michael Johnson (14-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) vs. Melvin Guillard (31-12-2, 2 NC MMA; 12-8, 1 NC UFC) - Lightweights
Originally this was supposed to be Guillard vs. Ross Pearson 2 after their first fight ended in a no-contest, but this feels like a much better fight. Johnson has had problems in the past maintaining consistent results, but in his last two fights he's look outstanding. He dominated the favored Joe Lauzon in Boston and then knocked out Gleison Tibau in sensational fashion at UFC 168. If Johnson can get past Guillard then a top 10 opponent could be next in his immediate future.
Guillard appeared to turn a corner in 2010 and 2011 when he won 5 straight, but his title run was derailed by Joe Lauzon in stunning fashion, and that sparked a 1-4 stretch that saw him as potential cut bait last year. "The Young Assassin" fought off any thoughts of him being released by KOing Mac Danzig and then dominating Ross Pearson before the unfortunate illegal knee prompted a halt and the NC result. This is expected to be a thrilling fight between two explosively athletic (yeah yeah yeah) fighters with KO power. I don't really expect this to go to the ground so don't blink or you could miss an exciting and violent finish.
Brad Pickett (23-8 MMA, 3-2 UFC) vs. Neil Seery (13-9 MMA, 0-0 UFC) - Flyweights
Pickett is one of the most exciting fighters to watch in the UFC, and after years at featherweight and bantamweight, the 35-year-old is dropping an additional 10 lbs to make flyweight. The decision was made after losing via triangle choke to Michael McDonald in a thriller at UFC Fight Night in August. Pickett was a mainstay at 135 lbs but never a true threat to contend for the title, so this latest change of weight class is expected to be his next (and possibly last) opportunity to do so. After all, he is one of just two fighters with a win against current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
Seery replaces the injured Ian McCall, and comes in as one of Europe's top flyweights. After rather uninspiring results in higher weight classes, Seery has racked up wins in his last 4 and is 5-1 overall in the division. He had an opportunity to get a notable UFC name on his record, but Ulysses Gomez could not make weight for his Cage Warriors bout and the fight was subsequently canceled. Irish fans of him made a push to get him on the card once McCall pulled out, and the UFC obliged and "2 Tap" now has a big chance to pull off a huge upset in his debut.
It's been over a year since Nelson last fought. Injuries and a serious car accident set him back, which is unfortunate considering he's one of the best prospects in the division. The Icelandic grappling sensation showed off both his chin, his offensive striking, and incredible ground skills in his win over Jorge Santiago last February. His only other fight in the UFC was a submission win over DaMarques Johnson.
Akhmedov put forth one hell of a show in his first UFC appearance. The 26-year-old engaged in a war with the favored Thiago Perpetuo in Goiania last November, and just when it looked like he was on the verge of a stoppage loss, he swarmed Perpetuo and get the 1st round KO. It was a FOTN performance for the Dagestani, and now he's moving to welterweight for his next showing. With all due respect to Perpetuo, Nelson is an opponent of much higher quality.