Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi Manuwa didn't look like the most compelling fight in the world on paper. And it didn't play out as one of the most interesting in the world in action. Sure, it was exciting enough and Manuwa did have enough defensive savvy to survive a round, but the outcome was never in doubt.
It seemed as though Gustafsson could have won the fight earlier had he decided to open up while on top in Manuwa's half guard in the first round, but he was content to feel around for a submission and pace himself. Manuwa defended a takedown when they were back on the feet and defended smartly against an attempted back take by "The Mauler," but his lone moment of significant offense was really a body shot.
It's why tweets like "Jimi Manuwa is undefeated and has finished all of his UFC fights. Does he have a shot against Gustafsson?" from @UFConFox didn't truly tell the story of the fight. Kyle Kingsbury may well have been on his way to a win over Manuwa prior to the doctor's stoppage. Cyrille Diabate and Manuwa were in a competitive fight before Diabate suffered an injury to end the fight and Ryan Jimmo also suffered a fight ending injury. The sell of "finished all of his UFC fights" along with the "hardest puncher in the division" didn't really tell the story of a guy who hadn't finished an opponent with strikes since October 2011.
But that's not really the job of the promoter. And Manuwa certainly has no reason to be ashamed after giving as good a performance against a wrecking ball as could be hoped for.
- Michael Johnson vs Melvin Guillard was a weird sort of disappointing. Guillard, usually offensively aggressive, seemed to want no part of actually engaging during the fight. While Johnson chased and held up his hands, wondering when Guillard would "fight," Melvin just kept on circling. The worst part is that Johnson gains little from his victory as nothing of note happened against a dangerous opponent.
- Brad Pickett has had trouble in recent years against faster opponents, which is why the drop to 125 might not do him any favors. Neil Seery gave him all he could handle on the feet, showcasing the kind of speed that has troubled Pickett. While Pickett won, it certainly doesn't make me think he could get a second victory over a much improved Demetrious Johnson at a weight that certainly favors the champ.
- Gunnar Nelson is awesome. I don't know what else to say. He did his job and looked good doing it today, watching him against the next level in competition will be a lot of fun.
- Ilir Latifi looked very good against Diabate in his first opportunity to fight in the UFC with a full camp. Latifi came out of nowhere to be a sort of punchline last minute replacement against Gegard Mousasi. Today, he steamrolled a tough veteran with a devastating ground attack. Punchline no more.
- Luke Barnatt is never going to be a title contender, let's get that out of the way right now. What he is, is a fun undercard fighter who looked to have improved in a very important area, developing some real killer instinct. When he had Mats Nillson hurt, he pounced and he finished with a brutal flurry.
- I don't understand why the UFC can't figure out that Fight Pass cards don't need separate streams for prelims and main card. It's the same site, don't make me click around to change streams, it's nonsense.
- That said, the player has been improved and the control bar isn't always up, which is a big help.
- 2014 results tracker! Tonight saw 4 decisions, 3 submissions and 2 KOs. That's impressive considering that there had only been 7 UFC submissions all year before this event started. The year is now 53 decisions, 10 submissions, 20 KO and 1 DQ for a decision rate of 63%.