The UFC travels to London this weekend for a Fight Night card headlined by British slugger Jimi Manuwa who squares off against The Ultimate Fighter season 19 winner, Corey Anderson. The rest of the card features some of Europe’s finest MMA fighters that American audiences may not be all that familiar with. Nevertheless, there are some opportunities to place a few wagers and see how they turn out.
The main event is a tough fight to call as Manuwa has only lost to Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson while Anderson’s lone defeat was to Shogun Rua. The UFC odds reflects this as Manuwa currently sits as a -145 favorite. Despite being 2-2 and his last four fights, Manuwa is coming off of a violent 2nd round knockout against Ovince Saint Preux. Anderson’s resume doesn’t quite feature the same caliber of names but he’s coming off of a 2nd round TKO of Sean O’Connell back in December.
It’s a classic brawler vs. wrestler fight where whoever imposes their will first, will most likely come out victorious. I don’t see Manuwa winning a decision nor do I see Anderson scoring a knockout. Not impossible, just improbable. What I would suggest is to pair Manuwa with the under, which currently sits at +130, because he definitely has the power to serve Anderson his first knockout loss. On the flipside, should Anderson successfully bee able to deploy his game plan of smothering Manuwa to prevent him from letting his hands go and taking him to the mat, you can feel comfortable wagering on the underdog at +125 and the over that sits at -155.
An intriguing fight finds Gunnar Nelson squaring off with Alan Jouban. Despite being on a three fight-winning streak, Jouban is hovering around as a +280 underdog. Meanwhile, Nelson sits as much as a -360 favorite although he’s 2-2 in his last four fights with losses to Demian Maia and Rick Story staggered with victories over Brandon Thatch and Albert Tumenov. Given the line, I wouldn’t be shy to take a shot with Jouban. Tumenov may have knocked him out, but he’s found a groove with victories over Brandon O’Reilly, Belal Muhammad, and the hard-hitting Mike Perry. It’s not totally out of the realm of possibility that Jouban steals one in a competitive fight. The line discrepancy is too tantalizing to pass up.
The other fight to keep in the back of your mind is Brad Pickett’s farewell fight against Marlon Vera. Although Pickett is the slight favorite at -150, he’s 1-5 in his last six fights. Vera isn’t much of a known entity and doesn’t have a top 10 opponent on his resume. But betting either fighter is the route to cash in. Instead, look for a finish under 2 ½ rounds at +155 for your betting pick. Pickett is a known finisher but hasn’t scored a knockout since 2012. Vera has never been knocked out but has the perfect opportunity to finish a man who has been finished seven times in thirteen losses. It’s worth the risk as emotions will surely be running high for One Punch’s final fight.