Both fighters had the potential to end the fight in an instant; doing so would guarantee a boost up the rankings and a bigger fight to come.
Jimmo is co-owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) record for fastest knockout at seven seconds. Other than that distinction, however, his other performances have been deemed a bit lackluster. He needed a win in England to prove that he deserves a spot in the competitive 205-pound landscape.
Unfortunately, Manuwa stood in his way. The Nigerian-born striker brought a flawless (13-0) record in mixed martial arts (MMA) to the Octagon. Even more impressive was the fact that he had finished every single one of his opponents. Technically, he extended that streak last night although the result was rather unexpected.
Let's take a look back at how Manuwa kept his undefeated record intact at Phones 4U Arena:
The action was pressed up against the cage early on; Manuwa landed some hard knees to the legs of Jimmo, who noticeably winced in pain. Repeated lulls in action earned two restarts from the referee. From there, the heavy-hitting Manuwa pressed the action. He goaded Jimmo before landing some hard punches. It turned into another clinch battle in the second, prompting another restart. Jimmo snapped some crisp strikes but Manuwa was unfazed.
Octagon control was in Manuwa's favor.
The action was temporarily halted when Jimmo was hit with a low knee. When the fighters clinched up against the cage yet again, the British crowd began to boo.
This fight had definitely promised to deliver a hard-hitting war; quite the opposite ha transpired. When the action restarted, the fight not surprisingly returned to the clinch. Manuwa threw a vicious high knee that appeared to catch Jimmo flush.
For a second, it looked like "Big Deal" was seriously hurt.
But, when he backpedaled, his right leg gave out as he fell to canvas. You could tell something else was wrong. The ref quickly waved Manuwa off as Jimmo's leg was tended to. He appeared to injure his hamstring, but no official word has been issued on the exact nature of his devastating injury.
Despite the odd finish, Manuwa continued to show that he is a force to be reckoned with at 205-pounds. It wasn't pretty, but he's now finished off all three of his foes inside the Octagon. He's still largely untested, so a bout with a light heavyweight gatekeeper like Ryan Bader would be great to gauge just how good Manuwa really is.
"Poster Boy" has rolled through competition thus far in his career, but that could change quickly when he starts swimming with the sharks that populate the top of the food chain. His striking is dangerous and efficient and he never stops coming forward.
Manuwa could be a star in the making.
Adding insult to injury, Jimmo will slide further down the pecking order with the loss. Jimmo was a game fighter against a tough opponent -- he just fell a bit short in the striking department. Dana White recently stated that UFC employs too many fighters, so Jimmo could be on thin ice. If he gets another opportunity inside the Octagon, he'll need to take full advantage of it.
This bout truly had the potential to be one of the most entertaining matches on last night's card. It failed to live up to that billing by a long shot, but at least fans in Manchester got to witness the continued rise of the talented Manuwa.