UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa Results - Sunday Perspective

USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Gustafsson got a bounce back win with a quick knockout win over Jimi Manuwa, and the UFC put on a card full of prospects. The Fight Pass experience is improving, but how many people are watching?

Overall, UFC Fight Night London was a very enjoyable card. There were some great prospects on this card, some good energy in the building, and the production was quite good. Fight Pass continues to improve as a broadcast platform, and the UK team of John Gooden and Dan Hardy was really quite good. The card moved along at a quick pace and the fact that there were only nine fights left me wanting more and primed for UFC 171.

The fights were broadcast on TV through parts of Europe and also in Canada, but here in the U.S. they got bumped off TV in favor of college basketball on FS1. As a result, it seemed very few American fans were, in fact, watching Alexander Gustafsson get another impressive knock out win. The exposure Gustafsson is getting in Europe is excellent and they need to build his star there, but the UFC needs to build stars everywhere, and it seems odd to punt on building Gustafsson in the U.S., one of the UFC's biggest markets, as well, and those two things shouldn't be mutually exclusive.

It seems more like this was a one-time deal to try to get Americans to buy into the Fight Pass network, and despite the positive remarks coming from the UFC, it seems from this perspective that the idea flopped.

Thoughts on the fights from yesterday:
  • Alexander Gustafsson brought the violence against Jimi Manuwa, first working a little ground action showing off his improving, but still not finished, ground work. Then, Gustafsson landed an uppercut, a knee, and then a few more uppercuts to dust off Jimi Manuwa.
  • Michael Johnson got a pretty dull decision over Melvin Guillard, who seemed very disinterested in engaging with Johnson. Guillard seemed like he was attempting to win a fight by counter fighting and looking to earn a decision and honestly was unsure how to do it. Johnson looked anxious early on but settled into his rhythm and put together some good offense on Guillard. There was an uncalled and rather serious eye poke by Johnson in the third round, but even if called would not have resulted in the loss of a point.
  • Brad Pickett and Neil Seery put on a barnburner of a fight as Pickett had his hands full with the Irish MMA veteran. Seery's boxing was excellent as he slipped, parried, and countered much of Pickett's offense on the feet. Pickett's main advantage, and his eventual victory, came from his ability to transition into takedowns. On the mat, Pickett only held a slight advantage, able to stay very active and put Seery on the defensive, but Seery was able to fight off just about every guard pass thrown his way.
  • Neil Seery is a find for the UFC. The Flyweight division is very much still being built and they may have found a very solid action fighter and high level gatekeeper in Seery. I very much expect him to get another fight in the UFC. He actually should have won this fight as a legal blow that caused Pickett to demand time was incorrectly ruled an eye poke.
  • Gunnar Nelson showed off why he is one of the best Jiu Jitsu fighters in MMA. His guard passing was on point, his ground striking looking improved as he worked some nasty elbows from the full mount, and he baited Omari Akhmedov right into that guillotine choke. Nelson has always had excellent skills but has had troubles melding them together. However, in this fight he was silky smooth moving from striking to grappling. It was a very encouraging performance for an elite prospect in Nelson despite the relative low level of his opponent.
  • Ilir Latifi showed off why he isn't just a guy the UFC brought in to get his ass kicked by Gegard Mousasi. He is actually a really strong wrestler, has strong top control, and is really freaking strong. The chancery choke he locked up on Cyrille Diabate was positively brutal.
  • Diabate retired after this loss, and I wish him nothing but the best in retirement. An excellent kickboxer turned MMA fighter, Diabate was a true professional and will be missed.
  • The middle of the prelims featured Claudio Silva and Brad Scott engaging in a good ol' fashion slobber knocker and Luke Barnatt savaging Mats Nilsson. Despite clearly tiring in the second round, Silva was able to get things to the mat in the third round and get a fairly clear 29-28 score card. Barnatt was basically all over the much smaller Nilsson from the word go and came away looking fairly impressive, but judgment will be withheld until we see him against some larger middleweights.
  • Igor Araujo and Danny Mitchell had a very fun grapple-fest of a fight. It basically boiled down to Mitchell being a pretty good grappler and aggressively pursuing unorthodox positions, and Araujo being a very good grappler and keeping it simple. Araujo calmly navigated Mitchell's attacks to easily pass guard, strike effectively on the ground, and set up his own submissions. It was a fun fight that I will need to re-watch at some point to get a handle on all of the transitions and I look forward to seeing both these fighters again.
  • Louis Gaudinot showed how a fighter should lock up a guillotine; namely he locked everything up against Phil Harris first on the feet then dropped back to guard. So many fighters drop back with the guillotine only partially locked up, which is doomed to fail. Gaudinot's finish here was an example of not just being savvy by locking up first and not trying to pull guard, but also a sacrifice roll into the mounted guillotine for a nasty finish.
  • The new UFC bonus structure seems to be shaking out to be a way to get their star fighters more accolades and money as easily the best fight of the night, Pickett and Seery, was passed over in favor of the main event and some of the excellent finishes on the undercard got no attention.

For more MMA and Grappling analysis, history, technique, and discussion be sure to follow T.P. Grant on Twitter or Facebook.

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