Both Manuwa and Anderson are looking to anchor themselves firmly in the title shot conversation now that champion Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson will meet at UFC 210 next month.
Is this more than a “striker vs wrestler” battle?
Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card.
MAIN CARD (5PM ET/ 2PM PT)
ARNOLD ALLEN (11-1-0) VS MAKWAN AMIRKHANI (13-2-0)
Andrews: Allen, a decent striker with power, is facing a difficult opponent in Mr. Finland. Amirkhani will likely start out striking with an eye on getting the fight to the ground for the submission. Allen will need to keep the fight standing, but Amirkhani won’t let him.
Andrews Prediction: Makwan Amirkhani via submission
BRAD PICKETT (26-13-0) VS MARLON VERA (8-3-1)
Andrews: The advantages here should lie with “One Punch.” He’s fighting a fighter in Vera coming in on a week’s notice, the fight is in his country, and he should have the motivation to win in his retirement fight. Never mind five losses in his last six fights, Pickett will ride emotion to victory much to the delight of the O2 crowd.
Andrews Prediction: Brad Pickett via unanimous decision
#9 GUNNAR NELSON (15-2-1) VS ALAN JOUBAN (15-4-0)
Andrews: Tough call here. Nelson looked awesome against feared striker Albert Tumenov, but Jouban can also compete on the ground too and he can take a shot. I’m going with Jouban to come out of this by the skin of his teeth.
Andrews Prediction: Alan Jouban via split-decision
#4 JIMI MANUWA (16-2-0) VS #6 COREY ANDERSON (10-2-0)
Andrews: Can Manuwa knock out Anderson before the fight gets to the ground? He most certainly can, and that’s what make this another tough call. Anderson has five rounds to smother Manuwa on the mat and on paper he gets the win, but I think Manuwa uses the crowd and breaks through with some timely shots to put away Anderson.
Andrews Prediction: Jimi Manuwa via TKO