Source: UFC

The UFC returns to London, England with a local boy Jimi Manuwa taking on the immensely talented Corey Anderson. In what is a high stakes Light Heavyweight bout, both fighters will be looking to catapult into title contention.

In the co-main event, European favorite Gunnar Nelson welcomes dangerous striker Alan Jouban to relevancy, answering Jouban’s calls for a ranked opponent.

We take an in-depth look at the three main fights and will provide our predictions for every match-up, on what will be a spectacular night of fights.

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Jimi Manuwa 16-2 vs Corey Anderson 10-2

NICK: The main event will be your typical striker versus grappler match-up. The local Londoner Jimi Manuwa will be looking to continue the momentum, after his devastating KO of Ovince Saint Preux in the hope of claiming a title shot. Manuwa is an incredibly powerful athlete, with devastating stand up and very impressive takedown defense. Anderson presents a very similar challenge to Manuwa that OSP did. The difference with Anderson however will be the speed and output that he presents in both his takedown attempts, transitions and even movement on the feet. I think Manuwa will definitely find some success in the early rounds and provide some shaky moments for Anderson with his power. Capitalizing and getting the finish here will be his best avenue for victory. Anderson is incredibly durable though and I can see him grafting the early rounds,. surviving the onslaught and building the pressure as the fight goes on. As each round progresses Anderson should find more success with his takedown attempts. Manuwa wont be able to maintain the pace and output that Anderson will, so I think Corey Anderson runs away with it in the later rounds with a close decision victory. PREDICTION: Corey Anderson via unanimous decision

ZACThis fight sees two top 10 ranked light heavyweights paired up to see who the most legitimate contender is. Both men have quite impressive records, with only two losses each. Manuwa’s only losses coming to former title challengers Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson. Stylistically it’s a pretty even match up. Anderson may have the advantage in grappling exchanges with his wrestling pedigree. Manuwa will definitely look to keep the fight standing, he has 14 wins by knockout and is coming off a devastating one punch finish of Ovince Saint Preux. Rightly or wrongly the hometown advantage will be on the side of Manuwa especially if it goes to the judges, not that I think it will. In my opinion Manuwa represents a big step up in competition and has too many tools for Anderson to overcome especially in striking exchanges. PREDICTION: Jimi Manuwa via KO in Round 2

Gunnar Nelson 15-2-1 vs Alan Jouban 15-4

NICK: Definitely my pick for fight of the night here. Alan Jouban has been banging on the door, asking for a ranked opponent and now he has finally got his wish in the form of grappling sensation and number 9 ranked, Gunnar Nelson. Jouban is an action packed fighter, constantly looking for the finish. Earlier in his career he did this by putting himself in very dangerous positions, but the recent victory over Mike Perry saw some what of an evolution of the talented striker. He took his time, picked his shots and earned a very smart decision victory over the dangerous Perry. Whilst Jouban will be looking to keep it on the feet and overwhelm Nelson with his vicious strikes, Gunnar will be looking to keep his distance using that Karate movement his known for, pounce with a power shot and drag a stunned or retreating, off-balance Jouban to the canvas. I can see Gunnar having success and getting a takedown at some stage in the first. Jouban however is a 10th planet brown belt, and I think he’ll have enough tools to survive and even get back to his feet. The longer the fight stays standing, the more Jouban will find his range and rhythm. When he senses Nelson is starting to hurt and slow down, I think he’ll flip the switch and explode, overwhelming Nelson into a TKO victory towards the end of the second round. PREDICTION: Alan Jouban via TKO in Round 2

ZAC: For me this is the most exciting fight on the card. Gunnar Nelson had a lot of hype behind him when he came into the UFC. That was dulled slightly after losses to Rick Story (Split Decision) and Demian Maia. His opponent is the always fun to watch Alan Jouban. I’ve never seen him in a boring fight. Technically he isn’t amazing at anything, but he’s super athletic and has a huge heart. Gunnar definitely has the advantage on the ground, he’s a BJJ black belt under legendary Renzo Gracie and survived three rounds with Maia, who has submitted guys like Carlos Condit, Matt Brown and Neil Magny in his recent fights. Jouban has a slight reach advantage but will look to fight long and straight with his crisp kickboxing technique to stave off takedowns from Gunnar. The Key for Nelson will be to avoid taking damage on the feet, close the distance and make it a grappling match. If he can do this it will become a technique vs strength match and Jouban is very athletic and has good takedown defense. This is such an exciting and unpredictable fight, but I’m leaning toward Gunnar. PREDICTION: Gunnar Nelson via unanimous decision

Brad Pickett 26-13 vs Marlon Vera 8-3-1

NICK: It’s the end of an era for one of the pioneers of British MMA, with Brad Pickett stepping into the octagon one last time against Marlon Vera. His recent run of performances have been underwhelming, all be it against top competition. Marlon Vera steps in as a late notice opponent for Pickett, with Henry Brione pulling out last week. He’s a well-rounded fighter that doesn’t really excel anywhere, the perfect opponent for Pickett’s swan song. I can see Pickett having a few dicey moments, but he should have the game to nullify Vera. He doesn’t have that ‘One Punch’ power that he did earlier in his career, but he should have the strength to keep this fight standing and overwhelm Vera through the majority of the fight to dominant decision victory. PREDICTION: Brad Pickett via unanimous decision

ZAC: Pickett will be looking to go out with a bang and get a win in front of his home fans. He is 1-5 in his last 6 fights, so it’s a big ask but the fans will be behind him. His opponent Marlon Vera hasn’t won consecutive fights since 2013 and is a relative newcomer to the UFC, this being only his 5th fight. He is coming off a win in his last fight and will be hungry to build on that. Vera is a short notice replacement and the fight will take place at a catch-weight of 140lbs. Everything is stacking up in favor of the Brit for this one. PREDICTION: Brad Pickett via unanimous decision

UFC London

 NICKZAC
Jimi Manuwa vs Corey AndersonAndersonManuwa
Gunnar Nelson vs Alan JoubanJoubanNelson
Brad Pickett vs Marlon VeraPickettPickett
Makwan Amirkhani vs Arnold AllenAmirkhaniAmirkhani
Joe Duffy vs Reza MadadiDuffyDuffy
Francimar Barroso vs Darren StewartStewartStewart
Daniel Omielanczuk vs Timothy JohnsonJohnsonJohnson
Marc Diakiese vs Teemu PackalenDiakieseDiakiese
Tom Breese vs Oluwale BamgboseBreeseBreese
Vicente Luque vs Leon EdwardsEdwardsLuque
Ian Entwistle vs Brett JohnsJohnsJohns
Scott Aksham vs Brad ScottAkshamAksham
Lina Lansberg vs Lucie PudilovaLansbergLansberg
SCORE TALLY:126113