Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight knockout artists Ovince Saint Preux and Jimi Manuwa threw down last night (Oct. 8, 2016) at UFC 204 inside Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Saint Preux entered this bout in something of a must-win position. The athletic veteran had lost two of his last three bouts to some of the division’s best, but he needed a return to the win column in order to remain a player at 205 pounds. Manuwa’s position was shockingly similar, but there was one additional component. Without any Top 10 wins, Manuwa was hanging onto his position largely because no one has tried to claim it, meaning that the Englishman could lose a lot of ground with a defeat.
Instead, Manuwa rose to the occasion.
Manuwa did reasonably well on his feet early on, slamming home some nice low kicks. He also sought out the clinch a number of times, which allowed him to land some hard knees to the body. However, Saint Preux countered Manuwa’s repeated clinch attempts with a big takedown. He did some nice work from top control and dragged his opponent back down to the mat when Manuwa did stand, allowing him to control the second half of the round.
It was fairly close, but Saint Preux seemed to be ahead.
Saint Preux looked to return to his wrestling to start the second, but he wasn’t able to land the takedown. "OSP" seemed to be fatiguing quickly, and Manuwa was in perfect position to take advantage. With Saint Preux slowing down, Manuwa began to land more consistently, digging lots of kicks into his opponent’s leg. After backing Saint Preux into the fence, he slipped and ripped a left hook into his opponent’s mid-section. Seconds after, a pair of right hands badly rocked his opponent, and a left hook sealed the deal.
Manuwa fought really well in this bout, and it’s largely thanks to his conditioning. His early strategy of seeking the clinch lead him into some problems, but he was able to outlast his opponent and make it work.
All those low kicks and knees to the body definitely helped.
On the whole, Manuwa was simply far more composed than his opponent. He never faltered in the face of wild strikes or takedowns, as he pressured his opponent to another knockout victory. This is undoubtedly the biggest win of Manuwa’s career, and it should earn him a higher level of competition. Now close to the Top 5, a scrap with Ryan Bader would make sense for the Englishman.
Saint Preux’s problem has long been one of technical skill. He’s an amazing athlete, but there’s no area of his game that appears to be all that deep. On his feet, he relies on good timing and hitting hard as shit. It’s similar in wrestling, as Saint Preux is able to power through his takedowns.
In Manuwa, Saint Preux faced an opponent who could match his athleticism. Manuwa isn’t the most complex striker in the world, but he’s far more consistent than Saint Preux. Once "OSP" tired — which happens quicker in men who force their techniques — he was hardly able to defend himself from Manuwa’s devastating punches.
Saint Preux’s path from here is unclear. This is the first big knockout loss of his UFC career, which is usually a sign that chance could be needed. However, "OSP" is also 33 years old and reasonably deep into his career, meaning that change will be difficult.
It’s definitely back to the drawing board for St. Preux.
Last night at UFC 204, Jimi Manuwa knocked out his opponent in the second round. Is Manuwa a new contender at 205 lbs.?
For complete UFC 204: "Bisping vs Henderson" results and play-by-play, click HERE!