UFC Picks: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi Manuwa

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, February 15, 2014 6:05 PM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 6:05 PM GMT

London, England will host a featured main event consisting of two top tier light heavyweights battling for an opportunity to be next in line for a shot at the title.  But do the UFC odds sway us to bet Alex Gustafsson or Jimi Manuwa?

 Click here for an extensive guide to the top online betting sites!

Jimi Manuwa (14-0, 13 KO's, 1 Sub)

If you are a casual UFC fan then the name Jimi Manuwa will no doubt escape you. Manuwa is a 33-year-old Brit trained in Muay Thai, boxing and BJJ and will be fighting on his home turf. Manuwa has an unblemished and quite frankly stunning record of 14 consecutive wins with 13 coming by way of knockout. His other win came courtesy of a guillotine choke over an unsuspecting Jamie Hearn back in February of '09. 

However, if we examine Manuwa's record a bit more carefully, and with emphasis on his brief tenure in the UFC, we will note that of his three "KO" victories in the UFC only one was what you might call legitimate. While there is no doubt Manuwa laid a world class whoopin' on veteran Kyle Kingsbury which forced a doctor's stoppage in the second round, the same cannot be said of his two most recent victories when both fighters, Cyrille Diabate (torn calf muscle) and Ryan Jimmo (leg muscle injury), withdrew after sustaining injuries not caused directly by Manuwa. Nevertheless, Manuwa's record is still spectacular and worthy of a top tier tilt with the likes of Alexander Gustafsson.

Alexander Gustafsson (15-2, 9 KO's, 3 Subs)

Did you watch Alex Gustafsson wage a legendary battle with previously untouched Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones? If you didn't, do yourself a favor and take a peek at that video. It was an instant classic and gave those who worship at the altar that is Jon Jones (guilty as charged amigos) something to think about and perhaps even someone new to cheer for when Jones is inactive. 

Alex Gustafsson may have the build of a basketball player but when the bell rings it is crystal clear that he's much better equipped to drop bombs with his fists rather than drop bombs from downtown. Gustafsson showed the world why he is such a destroyer at 205 when he went toe-to-toe with the previously invincible Jon Bones Jones and proved just how vulnerable the champ can be when faced against a 6'5" Nordic Nightmare. 

Gustafsson's surgically precise boxing skills are his greatest asset. He is unusually tall for a light heavyweight and his range, power and fistic prowess make him a hard target to hone in on without getting a face full of leather in the process. What Gustafsson did extraordinarily well in his fight with Jones was employing a stunning brand of takedown defense. Jones shot a myriad of times only to see Gustafsson deftly avoid virtually all his attempts.

Free UFC Pick:

In the interest of full disclosure and in my zeal to be intellectually honest, I cannot think of a fighter in the light heavyweight division other than Jon Jones that I would select in my UFC picks against Alexander Gustafsson. While I knew Gus was a tough kid with tremendous boxing skills what I didn't know was that he had made quantum leaps in his takedown defense game. He is the only fighter ever to completely marginalize Jon Jones's stellar shoots and takedowns. 

With that being said I understand that the 6'1" Jimi Manuwa, equipped with dynamite in his hands as well, will be a stern test for Gustafsson and one that could be fatal if he takes this fight too lightly. But I don't see a letdown for Gustafsson and in fact, I believe it will be a more determined Alexander Gustafsson who enters the Octagon in hostile territory. He wants a rematch with Jones and the only way he gets it is to knock down the next man up. In this case that man happens to be Jimi Manuwa.

After perusing the UFC odds being offered we will put Gustafsson in a parlay as a -395 favorite at WilliamHill.com.

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