Kyle Kingsbury (left) will look to slow the hype behind Jimi Manuwa. | Photo: Sherdog.com
UFC on Fuel TV 5 takes place Saturday at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England. That is, of course, unless this event is also canceled, in which case, everyone should start looking over their respective shoulders because we are all surely cursed.
Provided this show moves forward without an injury or a “sport killer” ruining everyone’s fun, it will be headlined by a heavyweight throwdown between Stipe Miocic and Stefan Struve. Prior to the main draw broadcast on Fuel TV, however, the prelims will kick off at 1:30 p.m. ET, meaning that West Coast fans will need to park themselves in front of Facebook that morning if they hope to catch the likes of unbeaten UFC debutant Jimi Manuwa If you have not seen Manuwa in action yet, I reckon it is about time you came around. I do not know that Manuwa has James Te Huna-type power, but, from the looks of things, he holds enough weight in his fists to do away with any light heavyweight if he lands cleanly. The 32-year-old is all business when he steps into the cage and has done an excellent job thus far using his energy efficiently while winging those bombs. He has also looked quite powerful from the clinch, using technique and strength to keep his opponents off balance while punishing them with sharp knees to the head and body.
Regardless of how well Manuwa actually does as a UFC light heavyweight, it is his style that should win him a decent cheering section on this side of the Atlantic. After all, it is tough to dislike a guy who constantly moves forward while seeking to batter his foe unconscious. Of paramount importance for Kyle Kingsbury: avoid Manuwa’s left hook. That baby needs a nickname -- and fast -- because it is a skull-seeking missile thrown without concern for human life.
Kingsbury should attack the lower body if he hopes to disrupt Manuwa’s rhythm. For all his power, the “Poster Boy” has looked susceptible to leg kicks at times. Also of note, the Brit typically holds his hands quite low, though his confidence in his reflexes has thus far proved to be well-founded. The good news for fight fans: Kingsbury has never been one to back away from a donnybrook, which should make for an exciting result, one way or another.
The debut of the “Poster Boy” is just one reason to check out the UFC on Fuel TV 5 prelims. Here are four more:
Sherdog Fantasy MMA: UFC on Fuel TV 5 Free Fan Pick’Em
Andy Ogle will finally get his chance to strut his stuff inside the Octagon.
The catch: he will face Akira Corassani, a member of the highly regarded “Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 cast. As fans will recall, some seasons of the long-running reality show have produced a less-than-stellar crop of talent. That was not the case with the show’s 14th iteration, as at least half a dozen contestants from that season appear to be on their way to competing in meaningful fights and collecting steady paychecks. Corassani could find his way onto that list if he can navigate past Ogle, who should find no shortage of willing supporters at the Capital FM Arena.
Both men have seen their UFC debuts hindered by injuries. Can Ogle make a statement on home soil, or will Corassani spoil the Brit’s homecoming?
Man Called ‘Kong’
I feel like Tom Watson’s inaugural UFC cage walk could have been something special if we had not been spoiled by Tom Lawlor during these past few these years. Still, who else is psyched to see a grown man boogie on down to the Octagon wearing a gorilla mask?
Long viewed as one of the United Kingdom’s top talents, Watson won the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts middleweight title in 2010, outpointing ex-International Fight League titlist Matt Horwich after a first-round submission scare at BAMMA 3. “Kong” would then stumble against “The Ultimate Fighter 7” finalist Jesse Taylor at MFC 26 before winning three straight back in the BAMMA cage during a stretch that included a destructive finish of Pride Fighting Championships veteran Murilo Rua last year. Most recently, Watson stopped former BAMMA British champion Jack Marshman in May, handing the Welshman both a technical knockout and his lone career defeat.
Can Watson use his established standup attack to make a run in the UFC middleweight division, or will once-beaten prospect Brad Tavares throw cold water on the Brit’s debut?
MMA fans should take note of Gunnar Nelson, because this kid could be a big deal at welterweight. Granted, the 24-year-old has yet to face the type of competition that would present a clear indication of whether he is ready for prime time, but he has already achieved some impressive heights as a grappler by winning the 2009 No-Gi Pan-American Championship at 189 pounds and then earning runner-up honors in the absolute category that same year.
Originally slated to meet German prospect Pascal Krauss, Nelson instead faces “The Ultimate Fighter 9” finalist DaMarques Johnson, who enters the cage just two months removed from a vicious knockout at the hands of Mike Swick.
Will Nelson live up to the hype and prove worthy of his UFC berth, or can the “Darkness” turn out his lights before getting dragged to the mat?
Ready, Aim, Fire
I am having trouble imagining a scenario in which Jason Young and Robbie Peralta do not tear it up.
After nearly 11 months on the shelf due to injury, Peralta should be chomping at the bit to get back into the cage and start swinging at something. Though last November’s accidental head butt of Mackens Semerzier and the resulting no-contest is likely the thing that has stuck with viewers since that UFC on Fox 1 bout, it would be foolish to ignore the fact that the Californian has not lost since July 2009.
Young, meanwhile, has found mixed results in his three-fight Octagon career, dropping decisions to Dustin Poirier and Michihiro Omigawa prior to outpointing Eric Wisely on April 14 at UFC on Fuel TV 2. Though Peralta is certainly no slouch in the standup department, the Brit should hold a slight edge from range. If “Problems” decides to close the distance, however, it could be a different ballgame. Regardless of which man imposes his will in the evening’s opener, this one is worth a watch.