UFC Fight Night 37: "Gustafsson vs. Manuwa" took place last night (March 8, 2014) at 02 Arena in London, England. And it's safe to say Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) got its next light heavyweight contender patiently waiting.
Alexander Gustafsson set up a rematch with either current division champion, Jon Jones, or a title fight with Glover Teixeira if the Brazilian scores a major upset at UFC 172 next month, battering Jimi Manuwa with a devastating knee followed by punches in the second round.
It was Gustafsson's sixth finish in UFC, possibly being the most brutal one to watch (see full fight video highlights here).
Also on the card, another exciting fight on paper materialized into a stinker, as Michael Johnson beat Melvin Guillard on points in the co-main event. There wasn't too much action from both lightweights; however, Johnson visibly got the better of his former training partner.
Nonetheless, in mixed martial arts (MMA), each bout can have only one winner and one loser. Earning a victory inside the world-famous Octagon is the highest of highs, while suffering a defeat in front of millions of viewers can be the lowest of lows.
With that said, it's time to name the biggest winner and biggest loser (and their runner ups) from the event in London.
Let's do it:
Biggest Winner: Alexander Gustafsson
There have been numerous American, Brazilian and even Canadian superstars over the years, however, there hasn't been an influx of European stars since the Pride FC days of Fedor Emilianenko and Mirko " Cro Cop" Filipovic.
Gustafsson could fill that void, since it definitely was apparent in Europe by listening to the crowd. Surely, his faithful from Sweden came in bunches to support, but after Gustafsson slaughtered Manuwa in the second round, it's obvious right after it was all said and done that not only did UFC have a clear No. 1 contender for the 205-pound championship, but another blossoming young talent was put in the limelight.
Fans love "The Mauler."
Also, here's one for the stat fanatics: "Gus" has finished six opponents at light heavyweight, tying for third most in the division's history.
With a little marketing fine-tuning, "The Mauler" could become a huge star in a time where they are hard to come by in UFC because of key departures.
And credit his fighting inside of the cage for that feat. After it all, it earned him $100,000 last night.
Runner Up: Gunnar Nelson
It looks like the hype is for real.
Nelson easily disposed Omari Akhmedov like he wasn't even worthy of sharing the Octagon with him. It was a very lopsided fight and Nelson didn't look rusty at all after enduring such a grueling time on the shelf.
It looks like Nelson's stock rose immensely and he's ready for co-main treatment on an upcoming international "Fight Night" card against a bigger name. He's fast, exciting and he's got incredible charisma channeling through his fight style.
He made some good money, too, taking home a "Performance of the Night" bonus.
All eyes are on "Gunny" to be ready for UFC's return to Dublin.
Biggest Loser: Melvin Guillard
We can finally say "The Young Assassin" -- although a very good fighter -- has lost the opportunity to be an elite contender.
We can't keep on saying Guillard still has potential to be a world-beater, since this was his umpteenth chance to prove he belongs in the top of the heap. Not only did he look hesitant and uninspired in his loss against Johnson (he could have been nursing an injury for all we know), but also he didn't have any great moments we could take away from the scrap and at least award him with points for effort.
You could do the Ross Pearson rematch again -- or something lesser -- but Guillard has only won twice in his past eight matches. And that's a very problematic situation for the Louisiana-born slugger.
Runner Up: Jimi Manuwa
Some felt like Manuwa was put in the main event to lose. Minus his undefeated record and not going past the second round in his entire career, it's hard to argue that point after what we saw.
Gustafsson thoroughly dominated him on the mat, and besides Manuwa looking good in some aspects of the stand up game, the Englishman was finished on his feet. He simply wasn't ready for an opponent of Gustafsson's caliber.
His undefeated record is shot, yet it doesn't mean his future with UFC is damaged. He is 34 years old, though, so he needs to start winning again if he wants to be back in the headlining fights.
That's a wrap, Maniacs.
For complete "UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa" coverage, check out our story stream here.