The UFC Fight Night 37 event comes to us this Saturday from London, England and is headlined by the Light heavyweight brawl between Jimmy Manuwa and Alexander Gustafsson. Right now at the sport books Gustafsson is a wide favorite at (-420) with the return on British slugger Manuwa sitting at about (+335). For Gustafsson, it is a highly anticipated return, as he has not fought since his September 2013 signature performance in a loss to Light heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. As for Manuwa, the general consensus is that this is a big jump in opposition, too big for him to overcome.
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Manuwa is an undefeated 14-0 and his fans may feel that he is not getting enough respect at the books. Manuwa has big punching power, and he is undefeated in the UFC at 3-0. That 3-0 record is against Ryan Jimmo, Kyle Kingsbury and Cyrille Diabate, not exactly a whose who in the Light Heavyweight division, more like just a who?
Not only does Gustafsson have considerable size, reach and experience advantages, but the impression he left when we last saw him puts him at the very top of the weight division. after the Jones fight, there was talk of an immediate re-match for Gustafsson, however that turned into this fight with Manuwa.
Manuwa is going to have to land his big punch, and Gustafsson’s defense was enough to survive the diverse attack of Jon Jones, so there is no reason to think Manuwa is anything but a ‘lucky punch’ danger for Gustafsson.
The x-factor for Gustafsson might be overconfidence. Everything we know about him says that he is pretty sound minded and overconfidence should not be a problem, however he cannot slip in his training either. Gustafsson needs to come out and finish this fight without allowing it to extend itself and without letting Manuwa gain confidence. He is almost assured to win, but Gustafsson needs to win impressively to avoid slipping from the number one contender spot.