Jimi Manuwa just got his toughest Octagon assignment to date. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Hard-hitting Brit Jimi Manuwa will face Alexander Gustafsson in place of the injured Antonio Rogerio Nogueira when the UFC returns to London next year.
UFC officials announced the news Tuesday afternoon. The March 8 show takes place at O2 Arena and is also expected to feature a lightweight rematch between Melvin Guillard and Ross Pearson.
Just six days after UFC President Dana White announced that Gustafsson would face “Minotoro” at the event, promotion officials revealed that Nogueira had suffered an injury, leaving “The Mauler” without a foe. Gustafsson and Nogueira were first booked to meet last year at UFC on Fuel TV 2, but that pairing was also scrapped due to a Nogueira injury.
Gustafsson, 26, last competed on Sept. 21, when he went the distance with Jon Jones in a “Fight of the Year” nominee at UFC 165. The Swede’s hard-fought decision loss to the reigning light heavyweight champion snapped a six-fight winning streak for Gustafsson, who closed out 2012 with a unanimous decision victory over ex-divisional kingpin Mauricio Rua at UFC on Fox 5.
Manuwa has been perfect through 14 pro fights, with his last three victories coming inside the Octagon. Known for his punching power, the 33-year-old made a successful UFC debut last year in a knockout of Kyle Kingsbury and then kicked off 2013 with a stoppage win over Cyrille Diabate. Most recently, “Poster Boy” saw his hand raised against Ryan Jimmo after the Canadian suffered a second-round leg injury last month at UFC Fight Night 30.