Jimi Manuwa’s 2014 visit to London, England’s The O2 Arena didn’t go as planned. But three years later, he prevailed.
Manuwa headlined UFC London against rising light heavyweight contender Corey Anderson on Saturday afternoon and it didn’t take him long to get his hand raised. Early on, Anderson attempted to get his foe down to the mat, where he’s best, multiple times, but was unsuccessful in all attempts. Manuwa had a major striking and power advantage going in, and that showed. Manuwa landed a left hook that shut “Overtime’s” lights out, scoring a spectacular walk-off knockout in the first round.
What was the highlight of the fight?
There’s not much to say. The level of punching power Manuwa possesses was the highlight of the fight. You don’t see fight-ending hooks thrown every day, but you saw one on Saturday afternoon. Manuwa is probably the second most devastating striker in the 205-pound division, next to Anthony Johnson.
And to think that the punch that ended the fight was far from Manuwa’s strongest punch is absolutely crazy.
Where do these two go from here?
Manuwa is the closest he’s ever been to a title shot, but I’m not sure if he gets one. If former champ Jon Jones runs into more trouble or for whatever reason doesn’t fight the winner of titleholder Daniel Cormier vs. “Rumble,” with this performance Manuwa should get the next crack at the belt. But I expect “Bones” will indeed fight for the title next, so that leaves the Englishman in a weird spot. He could face the winner of Alexander Gustafsson vs. Glover Teixeira, but only if the Brazilian wins that fight, as Manuwa and Gustafsson have become friends since their 2014 fight. I’m not even going to suggest Manuwa vs. Mauricio Rua, despite the fact that fight was supposed to happen a few years ago, because I hate that matchup.
The 205-pound division is so shallow so this won’t be too big of a setback for Anderson, but it’s significant enough. Any title hopes are gone for a little while, and he won’t be fighting another top guy until at least one win from now, too. I think the one fight that makes sense right now is Anderson vs. Ilir Latifi.
Watch now, later, or never?
You know you like walk-off knockouts. So watch this fight right now.