Gustafsson closed in on his foe with a perfectly placed knee before pounding out the English fighter for the finish at 1:18 of the second round.
“Feels amazing,” Gustafsson said in reaction to the win. “This guy was so dangerous.”
The main-event fighters traded punches and kicks early on before Gustafsson scored a takedown. From half guard, Gustafsson worked to secure a kimura, but Manuwa defended it well and recovered guard. The match returned to the feet where the two fighters measured each other before Manuwa landed a heavy body punch with the left hand.
The second round had Manuwa sustain an eye poke that brought a momentary stop to the fight. When the contest resumed, Gustafsson ate an overhand right, but later closed the distance and a Thai clinch. As Gustafsson controlled his opponent’s head, he landed the knee that began the ending sequence to the fight..
The knee rocked Manuwa, which opened up an opportunity for Gustafsson to unload punches that dropped his opponent to the floor. A few more strikes on the ground signaled the referee to put a stop to the contest by TKO.
With the win, Gustafsson will await the winner of the Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira fight that will take place at UFC 172 in April. If given a rematch with Jones from their UFC 165 encounter, Gustafsson expressed desire to compete with the champ for the belt once again.
“Jon Jones, I want my title shot again,” he said. “I’m right here. Whenever you want.”
Gustafsson improved his record to 16-2 with the UFC win in London. In defeat, Manuwa lost the first fight of his professional career.
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