The last time the UFC went to London, it was a legendary showdown between Anderson Silva and current middleweight champion Michael Bisping that headlined on UFC FIGHT PASS.
This time around the focus has been placed on the rising prospects within the UFC ranks, and specifically those in Europe.
These are the reasons to watch UFC Fight Night London Saturday on UFC FIGHT PASS.
1 – The KO artist main events in hometown
The most dangerous puncher on the UFC roster is arguably Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, who fights for the light heavyweight title at UFC 210 in a rematch with Daniel Cormier. But not far behind him is Jimi Manuwa, who takes on Corey Anderson in the five-round London main event.
“The Poster Boy” is coming off the signature win of his career when he knocked out Ovince Saint Preux is devastating fashion. OSP is just a few fights removed from going five rounds with former champion Jon Jones, showcasing just how dangerous Manuwa can be at his best.
The 37-year-old London native is hoping a stoppage win against Anderson will catapult him into title contention just in time for the return of Jones later this year. Manuwa said he’d love to face Jones because he believes he can knock him out.
Against Anderson, Manuwa is going to have to deal with a relentless wrestler with good power on the feet. Manuwa lands 59.6 percent of his significant strikes, which is a mark almost 20 percentage points higher than the UFC average.
Manuwa expects to end this fight with his power and he’ll likely use his 63 percent takedown defense mark to keep things standing as he attempts to take out Anderson.
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2 – Icelandic sensation surging once again
Back in 2012 Gunnar Nelson seemed poised for superstardom as one of the top young international talents on the UFC roster. His teammate Conor McGregor ended up taking over the entire fight game, overshadowing “Gunni” and dropping him into the backdrop a bit.
But coming off a dominant submission win over Albert Tumenov in his only fight of 2016, Nelson is once again on the verge of breaking through in the rankings and in popularity with a co-main event slot.
Alan Jouban is the opponent for Nelson and it will be a formidable test. “Brahma” has won three in a row and is coming off a massive win that took the winds from the sails of rising prospect Mike Perry.
3 – London says goodbye to one of its own
It’s been almost seven years since Brad Pickett beat Demetrious Johnson in WEC. Since that career highlight Pickett has hovered around .500, but has consistently been one of the most entertaining fighters in whatever division he competed in.
Pickett began as a featherweight and has fought as low as flyweight during his UFC run. Since entering the Octagon for the first time, Pickett has four Fight of the Nights and one performance bonus. His “One Punch” moniker has been earned through his tenacious fight style that combined aggression and power.
Pickett takes on late replacement Marlon Vera, who is 2-2 in the UFC. The O2 Arena in London will surely be rocking for Pickett’s final scrap.
4 – Premier prospects collide to open main card
Makwan Amirkhani is 3-0 in the UFC and Arnold Allen is 2-0 inside the Octagon. The two thoroughbred prospects have wrestling backgrounds and the grappling exchanges between them should be world class.
The two will rep premier fight camps when they throw down in London as Allen fights out of the famed TriStar in Montreal, Canada and Amirkhani recently moved to SBG Ireland to train at the place that built McGregor.
The winner of this one will have a chance to crack the top 15 on the featherweight division rankings that come the following week.
5 – 11 British fighters on the card
Fight Night London is truly a showcase for British fighters who are looking to make their mark on the big stage.
There are 13 killer fights on the card but a few truly stand out.
Undefeated Manchester product Marc Diakiese takes on Teemu Packalen. “Bonecrusher” is featured on an episode of “On The Fly” and the hard-hitting lightweight is looking to collect his third UFC win.
For a long time Tom Breese has been the talk of the town in London and at 10-1 he still looks to be a major player in the UFC in the coming years. He’s moving up to 185 pounds after years of tough cuts to 170 and he takes on fellow prospect Oluwale Bamgbose.
Leon “Rocky” Edwards and Vicente Luque battle in the early fights in a bout that could be Pay-Per-View-worthy scrap. Luque has won four in a row – all stoppages – and Edwards has won two straight and earned a submission win last time out.
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC