Gabe Killian’s Sneak Peek into the UFC Fight Night 37 Main Card

Gunnar NelsonThe Ultimate Fighting Championship is set to make it’s first of several visits to the United Kingdom for the year, as the promotion heads to the O2 Arena in London, England on Sat., March 8th for UFC Fight Night 37. It will be a 10 fight card, which will feature all 10 bouts on UFC Fight Pass. Getting things going for the main card will be a welterweight match-up that will see the return of the fan favorite and undefeated Gunnar Nelson (11-0-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), and the 170 pound debut of recent ‘Fight of the Night’ winner Omari Akhmedov (12-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC). The Dagestani grappler had an exciting one-round battle with Thiago Perpetuo, and won the fight via one-punch knockout, after being hurt by the Brazilian and being on wobbly legs. It was an impressive debut for Akhmedov, and he now looks to make it two in a row inside the Octagon, as he drops down to the welterweight division to take on Nelson. I think the move down to 170 is a good move for Akhmedov, and certainly one I saw coming. On that same note, I would like to see Gunnar Nelson drop down to the lightweight division. I think he could even make featherweight, and even bantamweight, if he wanted to go crazy with his weight cut a la Gleison Tibau. As of now, “Gunny” does not cut any weight to make 170 pounds. He is very undersized, as he has been facing some massive welterweights, but he is so talented that so far he has managed to come out on top. The biggest fight of Nelson’s career would have against Mike Pyle, but he suffered an injury while in training for that bout, so he had to pull out. I have a feeling that may have been the fight that made him finally decide to make the move down to 155 pounds. Giving up that much size is just an advantage you really do not want to be giving your opponents, regardless of how quick and skilled you are. Eventually, you are going to run into trouble when you step against the upper-echelon of the division. Now, while I think Akhmedov is, to date, the toughest test of Nelson’s career, I’m not sure if he will be the one to stop his run. Next up is the flyweight debut of England’s own, Brad “One-Puch” Pickett (23-8 MMA, 3-3 UFC) . The former bantamweight was set to take on “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall, but the former Tachi Palace flyweight champion was removed from the card due to injury, and replaced by promotional newcomer Neil Seery (13-9 MMA, 0-0 UFC). Seery is giving up his Cage Warriors flyweight title to make the move to the Octagon, and is currently enjoying a four fight winning streak that includes three finishes. After going .500 in six fights inside the Octagon, “One-Punch” has decided to give 125 pounds a try. Many fight fans were looking forward to Pickett vs McCall, but I think Pickett vs Seery will also produce an exciting war. The co-main event of the evening will be a lightweight match-up between former training partners, as Blackzilian product Michael Johnson (14-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) steps in on short notice to replace an injured Ross Pearson in a fight against ex-Blackzilian, Melvin Guillard (31-12-2-2 NC MMA, 12-8-1 NC UFC). I think Guillard vs Johnson is a much better fight than Guillard vs Pearson, so as much as I was looking forward to their rematch, I am more so looking forward to this new fight. Both lightweights have looked absolutely incredible in their most recent Octagon appearances, so really, anything could happen in this scrap. Out of all the fights on the entire card, this is the one I am looking forward to the most. The main event will be a war between recent light heavyweight title challenger, Alexander Gustafsson (15-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) and the undefeated Brit, Jimi Manuwa (14-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC). The Swede came up short against Jon Jones at UC 165 back in September of last year, losing a very closely contested unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. The UFC has decided that the title-fight was so close that Gustafsson deserves another shot at it after just one win, which is where massive underdog Manuwa comes into the picture. The champion Jones has publicly stated that he feels the UFC is giving Gustafsson an easy road back to the title by giving him Manuwa as an opponent. Many fans agree, as Manuwa has never faced anybody near the skill-level of the Swede, and would be completely lost on the mat against him, should the fight hit the mat. On the feet, fans expect Gustafsson to get the better of the Brit by his jab, kicks, and especially his speed, as he would be constantly moving to avoid the power of the undefeated knockout artist. This is a fight Gustafsson should easily win, if goes in there prepared, with a smart game-plan. That said, I am not counting Manuwa out.

Written by Gabe Killian

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