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Alexander Gustafsson Faces Jimi Manuwa at UFC London in March

Posted on by Erik Fontanez

Alexander Gustafsson vs Jimi ManuwaJimi Manuwa will take a big step up in competition, filling in for the injured Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to fight Alexander Gustafsson at UFC London, company officials announced on Tuesday.

Gustafsson and Manuwa will headline the March 8 card, which takes place at the British capital’s O2 Arena.

“He’s undefeated and he’s a nasty striker,” UFC president Dana White said of Manuwa on a Tuesday conference call with select media members.

Gustafsson’s original opponent, Nogueira, as reported by MMAWeekly.com, had to bow out of the contest due to a nagging back injury. As a result, the Brazilian fighter is forced to sit on the sidelines until May 2014. Nogueira’s withdrawal from the fight is the second time involving Gustafsson, the first being an April 2012 match that never materialized due to Nogueira being hurt.

Gustafsson is coming off the most important fight of his career, a loss to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 165 last September. The match-up was heavily contested, giving many the indication that Gustafsson had done enough to win a decision, but the unanimous nod from the judges went to Jones.

Manuwa is undefeated in his MMA career at 14-0, his last three wins coming in the Octagon. The English fighter’s last contest showed him winning a TKO over Ryan Jimmo, who suffered a leg injury in their fight and couldn’t continue.

The opportunity to fight Gustafsson is one Manuwa said he’s been waiting on for a long time.

“Gustafsson is a big test for me, but that’s what I’m in the UFC for,” Manuwa said in a statement. “He’s coming off an incredibly close loss to Jon Jones, but I feel I have the power to stop him. This is what I’ve been training so hard for and I can’t wait until March 8 in London.”

No other fights for the UFC London card have been announced at this time. MMAWeekly.com will update the fight card as more information becomes available.

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  • bajafox

    This fight does nothing for Gus as far as title contention goes

    • Kris-tyahn

      Exactly what I was thinking, so if he beats a guy he’s expected to finish in the first or 2nd round, is he still guaranteed a title fight?! Doesn’t really make sense, either that or the UFC want to give Gus a “warmup” before he fights Jones again, which could backfire, bc if Gus loses to this guy, Gus will need to win 2 or 3 more fights to get a title fight.

  • Kris-tyahn

    Nothing against Manuwa, but is this the only guy available for a fight in March?! Is the LHW division that “weak?!” It’s 4 months away and this is the only guy who they could find, or who would accept the fight?!
    From giving Jones the LHW champ the fight of his life, to fighting a guy with 3 wins in the UFC?! Sure he’s undefeated, but really?!? Is Gustafsson still guaranteed a title fight if he beats this guy, regardless if it’s a close decision?! Bc this is almost a lose-lose for Gus if he’s not guaranteed a title fight with a win. If he wins by decision 29-28, is he still worthy of a shot vs. Jones?! I don’t know about this fight or Gus, this reminds me if the Mousasi vs. Gustafssons training partner, sure he won an “easy” UD, but everyone expected Mousasi to finish him in the 1st round, yet it went to a decision. LHW is the NEW MW division if a couple years ago….. Weak and pathetic!!

    • bajafox

      Dana and Joe need to have better back up plans with all of these injuries happening all of the time.

      An upset loss for Gus will send him tumbling in the ranks and even farther away from a rematch many people felt he deserved right away

      • kim

        Do not underrestamate gus! He will destroy this guy!

        • Kris-tyahn

          Not underestimating Gus, he’s a great fighter, but This puts Gus in a “tough” position vs. an “unknown” with only 3 UFC fights none of them significant! Manuwa has NOTHING to lose, while Jones has a lot to lose. If Gus fought and lost to, lets say Phil Davi, that still leaves him possibly one win away from a title fight, but if Manuwa gets lucky/punchers chance and wins, then Gus won’t be getting a title fight in 2014. Gus should win and easily, but anything can happen. It’s a very big risk, is all I’m saying!

    • MuayThaiFood

      I’m sure he’ll still get the rematch if he wins. The only reason he didn’t get an immediate rematch is that Glover was already promised the winner and he’s Chuck’s boy.

      • Kris-tyahn

        I think Gus didnt get the immediate title shot wasnt bc of Glover being next, bc the UFC has promised title fights to many “deserving” fighters, but changed their mind. I think/know the UFC gave the fight to Glover bc of Jones! Jones needs a confidence boost before before he fights Gus again, bc I think Gus is in Jones head…. a little!

        • Austin, TX

          Word is he didn’t get the auto rematch with Jones because Jones reviewed the fight and decided that he definitely won and didn’t want to face Gus again. Whereas as originally he “supposedly” was going to ok the instant rematch because it was so close (Jones and Dana were…in the face of all the clamour about how close it was). Yeah Its hilarious. Dana said so basically. Dana is letting him call a few shots now basically. Its dumb. But yeah, basically Jones decided that he won it. Thats why there isn’t an auto rematch.
          I think Gus will be this guy though. Manuwa.

        • Obi-Wan Granoli

          a lot.

  • Cereal Killer

    I think Phil Davis is the only guy in the top ten without a fight right now. You know they are holding him for the next in line after Glover and Gus.

    • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

      Davis/Cormier what do you think? If Phil wins one more fight and especially by finishing the fight he most certainly deserves a title shot.

      • Lucas Freire

        I think it’d be awful for Davis.
        We all saw Rashad vs Phil, and we all saw what happens when Davis gets someone who outwrestles him.
        As compact as Cormier may be, he’s still a HW, a powerful one, and much more accomplished when regarding wrestling techniques.
        I think this fight would be frustrating to Davis.

  • https://www.facebook.com/bestnicknameeverbros Eugenio Croitoru

    Who is Manuwa again? If Gus loses this fight, then it’s just an embarrassment.

    • hennyy

      You have no clue what you’re talking about. There would be no shame in losing to Manuwa.

      • Taz

        Yes it would. Sooooo one dimensional.

  • shakejunt

    i’m okay with this. manuwa is a tough guy and needs to be thrown to the wolves. ground game looked pretty suspect in the past, we’ll see what gus can show us.

  • Truthseeker

    Manuwa is only undefeated as he ducked the real no.1 LHW from the UK in Linton Vassell.

  • Kenny Powers

    High stakes fight for Gus. There’s always a chance you could lose, and to a fighter not even in the top 10, you could kiss that rematch goodbye. Plus Manuwa is a beast fighting in his hometown, he could give him a run for his $. I’d still take Gus tho. They’ll probly set up Cormier/Davis now too.

  • JDMMA

    Jimi Manuwa 14 wins, ALL Finishes… He deserves a top 10 guy,,,, if he finishes Gustafsson, then he’s the real deal !!!

  • Cilantro

    Lets not forget it was a knockout over Bader that “earned” Glover the title shot in the first place. Manuwa is unbeaten and very hyped in Europe. A convincing win over him should earn Gus the rematch.