The UFC Fight Night 30 card is this weekend in Manchester, England. There are no title fights, nor fights that affect the immediate title picture, but the card is heavy on British talent as the UFC works to develop the talent pool in the UK, where frankly, they have had a hard time blowing up. Britian’s Ross Pearson faces veteran Melvin Guillard in a Lightweight bout, and Jim Manuwa, also a Brit, faces Ryan Jimmo at Lightheavyweight. Both Pearson and Manuwa are looking to continue moving up the divisional rankings, as both have been on the right track lately.
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Pearson is ready to try to make a move in the Lightweight division. He needs a win over Guillard, who is athletic and aggressive, but prone to mistakes and prone to getting caught fighting his opponent’s fight. Guillard sits as a slight favorite at (-145), as he is capable of an explosive KO performance every time out, but Pearson, who pays (+125) has been a solid perfromer lately and has what it takes to get the job done.
Pearson was a coach on a TUF series (Australia vs UK) and he won the match at the end of that series, and he did a number on Ryan Couture in his last outing. Pearson is a solid pro who needs a win to stay relevant in the lightweight division.
Manuwa came to the UFC with a lot of hype to go with his KO punching power. At 13-0, it is safe to say there is still a lot to find out about Manuwa, who is 2-0 in the UFC but neither performance has been a true highlight reel. Jimmo is a solid veteran with a good record (18-2 overall, 2-1 in the UFC), but this is a step up in competition for him, as well as a fight on the road. Manuwa is favored at (-190) with Jimmo returning (+162) at the books right now.
Not to be underestimated in the home field advantage. If British UFC fans are anything like their boxing or soccer fans, they will be fervently pro-British, providing their blokes with a bit of a lift. It is not like in Brazil, where the sport is huge, but once the cage is locked, Jimmo and Guillard are going to feel awfully lonely.