The fans in London got what they wanted: Jimi Manuwa beat Corey Anderson and the UFC odds Saturday at the O2 Arena, and Manuwa did it in style with a flash knockout.
Everything the UFC does seems to tie around Conor McGregor. The Lightweight champion wasn't involved in Saturday's UFC Fight Night 107 card in London, but his influence was felt everywhere – including the main event. Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa, born in Sacramento and fighting out of London, scored a one-punch knockout of Corey Anderson 3:05 into their Light Heavyweight bout, cashing in at –145 on the UFC odds board; afterward, Manuwa channeled McGregor by calling for a future fight with English boxer David Haye.
Okay, so it's not exactly McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather. Haye is 28-3 after suffering an upset loss to Tony Bellew (+500) two weeks ago at the same venue. And Manuwa called for Haye only after challenging the winner of next week's UFC 210 title fight between Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and champion Daniel Cormier. But if Manuwa can leverage his position by looking outside the Octagon for a fight, he can thank McGregor for helping to pave the way.
Stop: Hammer Time
The co-main event had even more of Conor's fingerprints on it. Gunnar Nelson, a teammate of McGregor's at SBG Ireland, scored an impressive second-round win over Alan Jouban in the Welterweight division. If you had Nelson (–330) in your betting picks, congratulations; the pride of Iceland was in control from the beginning, and made Jouban tap out for the first time in his career by securing a guillotine choke early in the second round.
Thank you London for the massive support. Means everything. #UFCLondon— Gunnar Nelson (@GunniNelson) March 19, 2017
There was even a splash of Conor on the preliminary card. Fellow Irishman Joe Duffy, who scored a quick submission victory over McGregor back when they were in Cage Warriors, soundly defeated Reza Madadi by unanimous decision as a fat –600 favorite. This wraps up Duffy's current UFC contract; he's expected to test the free-agent waters after this. Maybe Duffy should consider challenging someone to a boxing match. It's the fashionable thing to do.