Fight Night London Talking Points: Manuwa, Nelson & more

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On a night built for Britain featuring many of its favorite sons, the biggest and baddest of them all delivered in a big way in the main event.

Jimi Manuwa needed just one perfectly placed left hook on the chin of Corey Anderson to end the night in dynamite fashion.

“Lions eat first. Left hand is always the shot. One shot, one kill,” Manuwa said.

Corey Anderson fell to 10-3 and suffered his third loss inside the Octagon. The No. 6-ranked light heavyweight has had some big moments but still may need some more time before he faces the elite of the division.

These are the Fight Night London Talking Points.

What’s next for the lion who roared in London?

Manuwa was quick to reveal his desire to face the winner of next month’s monster UFC 210 main event between light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and No. 1 contender Anthony Johnson.

For Manuwa, who improved to 6-2 in the UFC, that elusive title shot might be in the cards as the division takes shape later in 2017 around the return of Jon Jones. If not the title shot, Manuwa has unfinished business with “Rumble” and the always-improving power puncher seems hungry for vengeance.

“That was one of the great moments for me, getting a knockout in front of my home crowd in London,” Manuwa said. “British fighters are working really hard at the moment and there (was) a lot of great British talent on the card tonight. It just shows that we are a force to be reckoned with. I think it’s only right that we have another British champion."

Welterweights beware – Gunni is coming

The always stoic-looking Gunnar Nelson seemed to be in on a secret before his co-main event showdown with Alan Jouban. He was calm, as he usually is, but maintained a steady confidence that permeated from his icy pre-fight glare.

Then Nelson came out and mauled Jouban in the first round before submitting him in the opening seconds of the second frame, reminding everyone just how dominant the Icelandic phenom can be at the top of his game.

That’s two wins in a row for Nelson, who is ranked No. 9 at 170 pounds.

What’s next for Nelson?

“I will go home and spend time with my family and be with my son,” he said. “I want to go home, start training again and keep on improving. Hopefully I can have two more fights this year and get another good opponent, one of the top guys."

Legacy will live on for London’s Pickett

It wasn’t the storybook ending he coveted, but Brad “One Punch” Pickett leaves the UFC as one of the most revered bantamweights in the history of mixed martial arts.

Pickett and Dominick Cruz are the only two fighters to ever beat pound-for-pound No. 1 Demetrious Johnson.

With a reputation for never being in a boring fight, Pickett entertained throughout his career and all the way up to the very end.

Thanks, Brad. Cheers.

Next European star born in London?

Marc Diakiese made a bold prediction at Ultimate Media Day ahead of his third UFC bout: a first-round spinning head kick knockout.

It didn’t end up coming to fruition, but the overhand right that sent Teemu Packalen down to the mat gave Diakiese the first-round finish he was seeking, and it came in just 30 seconds.

Diakiese’s athleticism is jaw-dropping to witness. He threw a few spin kicks before the KO that had the British home crowd on the edge of its collective seat.

UFC president Dana White has said that some athletes just have the “it factor.” Diakiese, with his bright red mohawk, signature smile and intoxicating charisma, fits the bill.

The next step up the ladder for “The Bonecrusher” may be a big jump, but he believes he’s ready.

"I’ve been saying it all week and I’ll say it again. That was easy work,” he said. “I’m one of the best and I will keep proving it. I want to be fighting on the main card next. I want to be fighting bigger names. Whoever is next, I will be ready."

Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC
Saturday, February 24
Orlando, FL


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