UFC Light Heavyweight Jimi Manuwa – All Aboard The Bandwagon?

Cyrille-Diabate This past weekend at the UFC on FUEL TV 7 event in London, Brit Jimi Manuwa won for the second time in the UFC as he took out Frenchman Cyrille Diabate via first-round TKO. This pushes Manuwa’s record to a perfect 13-0, and the hype train is in full effect in his home country of England. But is he the real deal? This is not meant as a knock on Manuwa; he is a good athlete and a solid prospect, and I wish him well. However, it would be an injustice to Manuwa to christen him the next Jon Jones. Manuwa is a big puncher, but so was Houston Alexander. Manuwa has displayed decent control from top position on the ground, where he administers his ground and pound. How his style translates to the top levels of the UFC remains to be seen, however. The opposition he feasted on his England soil are tough guys, but they are sluggers for the most part and not technical fighters with a game plan. None of them were as gifted athletically as Manuwa, who is also blessed with a good chin it seems, but I doubt that these advantages will hold up for him at the top levels of UFC, where the athletes include Jones, Chael Sonnen, Rashad Evans, Phil Davis, Dan Henderson and Gegard Mousassi, to name a few. Here is how this scenario could play out well for the gambler. If the UFC continues to have him fight preliminary guys, let him rack up a few wins. The hype train in his country has already started, so hopefully the lines skew just a bit as the British bettors weigh in. What I am looking for is the first time that Manuwa is matched with a wrestler, such as a Ryan Bader or a Phil Davis. Manuwa does well from the top position, but that leaves two questions when he is in with a wrestler. Question 1 is if he is going to work GnP, how does he put the wrestler on his back? Question 2 is how will Manuwa fight from his back if he winds up in that position? Most British fighters have wrestling as a core deficiency, mainly because there really is no program of wrestling in the country.  Yes, Michael Bisping’s wrestling has improved a great deal, but he has been in the UFC longer than Manuwa has been training.  As good an athlete as Manuwa is, starting MMA training at 28-years old means he is going to have holes in his game, and the biggest one is wrestling. So let’s hope Manuwa gets a few more wins by TKO or stoppage, get him to be a favorite against a wrestler from the mid-teir of UFC talent, and prepare for the upset!

Written by Miguel

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