UFC Fight Night 107: Manuwa vs Anderson predictions

Corey Anderson prepares to enter the pctagon for a UFC 196 light heavyweight mixed martial arts match against Tom Lawlor, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
(AP Photo/Eric Jamison)

Heading to London, England, the UFC brings some of the most entertaining European talent it has on the roster.

Will Makwan Amirkhani make another statement at 145 pounds? Can Brad Pickett turn back the clock in his last fight? Will Gunnar Nelson stop Alan Jouban’s winning streak? Will Jimi Manuwa or Corey Anderson advance toward the top of the light heavyweight mountain?

We try to answer these questions in our latest set of predictions for UFC Fight Night 107.

  • Lansberg def. Pudilova via decision
  • Askham def. Scott via decision
  • Entwistle def. Johns via submission
  • Breese def. Bamgbose via TKO
  • Diakiese def. Packalen via decision
  • Luque def. Edwards via decision
  • Johnson def. Omielanczuk via decision
  • Steward def. Barroso via TKO
  • Duffy def. Madadi via TKO

Arnold Allen vs. Makwan Amirkhani

While he made his debut with an eight-second flying-knee KO, the charismatic Finland native is known more for his abilities as a grappler. Allen, meanwhile, has been considered more of a striker thus far into his MMA career, picking up 45 percent of his victories by way of knockout or TKO.

Amirkhani has yet to prove himself against a top-level talent; and he won’t get the chance to do so here. More experienced in terms of quantity of fights, quality of opponents and overall length of career, it’s difficult to not side with Amirkhani on this one.

Prediction: Amirkhani def. Allen via decision

Brad Pickett vs. Marlon Vera

From the moment Brad Pickett decided he wanted to retire in front of a home crowd, conventional wisdom would have led us to believe he was going to be given a relatively feasible task. That’s more or less what he got when originally matched up with a 36-year-old Henry Briones in London. Briones, however, has since been replaced by Marlon Vera, who comes into the fight on just one week’s notice. That, if anything, should make this as winnable a fight as possible for Pickett.

It’d be foolish to forget, however, how much Pickett has struggled over the last five years. “One Punch” is 3-7 over the course of his last 10, and a troubling 1-4 in his last five. A majority of those losses however, have come against top talent in Urijah Faber, Michael McDonald, Ian McCall, Thomas Almeida and Eddie Wineland. Marlon Vera, while 14 years younger than Pickett and wholly capable of winning, does not fall into the same category as the mean who’ve recently defeated him.

Prediction: Pickett def. Vera via decision

Gunnar Nelson vs. Alan Jouban

Nelson has been one of the more exciting prospects in the UFC’s welterweight division over the years; both because of his relationship with training partner Conor McGregor and his actual abilities inside the cage. He’s got a fluid method of striking, and some of the better grappling (but nowhere near the best; re: Demian Maia) we’ve seen in the welterweight division. He smothers his opponents and, most importantly, he finishes fights.

Jouban, meanwhile, has been on somewhat of a tear as of late. He defeated former Titan FC welterweight Belal Muhammad and rising welterweight prospect Mike Perry in consecutive fights — mainly be being the more intelligent fighter inside the cage. Jouban is a particularly tall welterweight, and is often more than capable of using his range to frustrate opponents. His last loss came to Albert Tumenov, who coincidentally went on to lose to Nelson some months later.

Nelson will easily have the advantage if the fight gets to the ground, but Jouban’s size and footwork may be something to focus on as well.

Prediction: Nelson def. Jouban via submission

Jimi Manuwa vs. Corey Anderson

These headliners are a mere two spots away from one another in the rankings. A majority of the available betting odds have Manuwa and Anderson pegged to be as much of a toss-up as you’ll find in the sport these days. It’s not so much that we anticipate this fight to be close, as much as we aren’t entirely sure whose skill set is going to supersede the other’s.

Manuwa may be the second-strongest puncher in this division, having knocked out his opponent in 88 percent of his victories. He’s inarguably the division’s best pure boxer, and doesn’t make much of an effort to hide what his plans are going to be time in and time out. Only three men have been able to withstand the punching power of “Poster Boy”: Alexander Gustafssson, Anthony Johnson and Jan Blachowicz. The rest (save for one who lost by submission) have fallen victim to the violence.

Anderson, while naturally possessing some power in his hands as a light heavyweight, isn’t a knockout artist by any means. What he lacks in punching power and technique, however, he makes up in his abilities as a wrestler. A total of 44 percent of Anderson’s victories have come via knockout or TKO; the remaining 66 percent fall in the decision category — most of which were predicated on his ability to smother his opponent against the cage or on the canvas.

I do believe Anderson can bring Manuwa down, but I have to side with the Englishman’s ability to knock Anderson out when the fight goes back to the feet.

Prediction: Manuwa def. Anderson via TKO

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