Whenever the UFC comes to London, the UK and Europe have a fleeting opportunity to showcase the finest array of fighting ability from across the Atlantic.
The co-main event sees two light heavyweight staples meet again as Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz face-off nearly three years after their initial meeting. Both have had mixed success since Manuwa got the better of Blachowicz in the Pole’s homeland. Neither man can afford to drop another loss this weekend, which makes for an intriguing clash.
Manuwa, 38, has the kind of earth-shattering power that can be relied upon to provide truly spectacular knockouts. Just ask Anderson and Ovince Saint Preux how the potholes in the right sides of their heads are getting along. Whether he strings his combinations together and catapults a giant knee at his opponent’s face, or stalks them to find the perfect spot for his fist, Manuwa always has and always will be a thoroughbred finisher. It’s hard not to be when you possess the kind of dynamite that he does in his hands.
Whilst Jan Blachowicz has sometimes lacked the ‘killer instinct’, his overall capabilities have been improving since his 2014 debut. His titanium frame has always made him a nightmare to put away (he hasn’t been stopped in seven years). And now he appears to be displaying the characteristics. An impressive showing against powerhouse Jared Cannonier capped off his 2017 with panache, but his prior performances were even better. His standing rear naked choke on Devin Clark was as applaudable as it was mortifying. Displaying a violent cocktail of impeccable technique and formidable strength. It is well worth your ten seconds, believe me.
Unfortunately, the towering main event and entertaining young British talent on the card leaves the co-main event with little buzz. Both men are desperate to prove their worth and leave their opponent stiff, even if it means risking it all in the process. This stand-up war could very well be fireworks. [By Riordan O'Sullivan]