At UFC Fight Night 37, which takes place later today (Sat., March 8, 2014) from O2 Arena in London, England, mixed martial arts (MMA) fans will be treated to an excellent main event that features two of the Light Heavyweight division's top fighters in a five-round bout that should be very exciting.
Alexander Gustafsson -- fresh off narrowly losing a fight to champion Jon "Bones" Jones -- will look to earn another title shot at the expense of Jimi "Poster Boy" Manuwa -- who currently stands undefeated in his 14 career fights.
Both of these men are very dangerous, exciting fighters, and when they are put in the Octagon together, expect nothing less than a great fight for as long as it lasts.
Gustafsson -- a very tall, lanky Light Heavyweight who stands at 6'5" -- is surprisingly mobile inside the Octagon. He is constantly in motion, cutting angles and circling, peppering opponents with shots at all times. His lanky frame allows for a wide range of attacks, but his boxing game is easily the most dangerous tool he possesses.
Manuwa, at 6'1," is a small fighter by no means, but he will definitely have to overcome the reach disadvantage that comes with fighting Gustafsson. Manuwa's preferred area is the striking game, where he likes to unleash heavy punches on opponents -- he is a constant threat with his incredible knockout power. In his 14 career wins, 13 have come via (technical) knockout (most of which have come in round one).
This fight will be determined mostly on who can set the tone for the striking exchanges. There is no doubt Gustafsson will look to use his reach advantage as much as possible -- it's just way too risky to get into a full-on firefight with someone with knockout power like Manuwa. That said, I really doubt he'll be content to just lay back and try to tire out Manuwa with his movement; therefore, expect him to sting Manuwa early and often with quick combinations before circling away from "The Poster Boy" power hand.
Manuwa will have to wade in with heavy punches if he wants to catch Gustafsson. And although he is at a disadvantage because of Gustafsson's range, don't doubt his ability to test his chin. Gustafsson has shown many times that while his movement is good for setting up his own offense, he lacks the quick reactions and head movement to avoid strikes, making this fight a lot more unpredictable.
If Manuwa can execute a gameplan of cutting off Gustafsson as he circles, and getting in close to land with power, he may be able to take this fight. Gustafsson will want to be crisp and agile, but Manuwa has to make this fight ugly and really pressure Gustafsson whenever possible.
Ultimately, this fight will be an entertaining one that takes place almost entirely on the feet. The clash between Gustafsson's reach and agility against Manuwa's raw power and aggression will make this fight exciting, as both men will need to establish their gameplans as early as possible.
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi Manuwa may be much more competitive than some people would think; in fact, it should make for a great main event. Indeed, it's a very exciting match up between two talented 205-pound contenders that has all the potential to deliver the UFC Fight Night 37 "Fight of the Night."