UFC Fight Night 38 Preview
March 7, 2014
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Event: UFC Fight Night 38
Date: March 8, 2014
Venue: O2 Arena
Location: London, England
Alexander Gustafsson (15-2) vs. Jimi Manuwa (14-0)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Gustafsson -475, Manuwa +350
Alexander Gustafsson has a rematch with Jon Jones in the future, but will face another difficult matchup on Saturday against Jimi Manuwa in UFC Fight Night 38 in London.
Gustafsson has not fought since the title loss to Jon Jones on Sept. 21, but showed the UFC world how great of fighter he is. In that match, he lost by unanimous decision, but many of the experts in the sport feel that Gustafsson deserved to get the victory, partly because he landed significantly more strikes (134) than Jones did (110). At 6-foot-5, Gustafsson has incredible size and length that very few fighters have. He is as complete of a fighter as there is in the UFC, and will present major problems for Manuwa. Very few fighters have been as dominant in their career as the unbeaten Manuwa. While he has not faced some of the top fighters in the sport, his last victory on Oct. 26 was an impressive win against a talented fighter in Ryan Jimmo. Manuwa was able to get the victory with a second-round injury stoppage, and will be coming into this fight very confident.
Gustafsson has 15 victories in his career, with nine of them coming by way of knockout. The 27-year-old is truly a complete fighter, with three wins by both decision and submission. He also knows how to put away opponents quickly with eight first-round finishes. His biggest advantage is his length, as he stands three inches taller than his Saturday opponent. With this great reach, "The Mauler" is able to control the fight and not allow his opponents to get near him at all. Gustafsson will also have a big advantage in this match when it comes to defending against the strike (49% defended by Gustafsson, 35% by Manuwa). This is in large part because of his ability to keep his opponents at bay. While the Swede is very impressive when it comes to landing strikes (4.11 per minute), he could be at a disadvantage if this becomes a straight boxing match against the knockout artist Manuwa.
The 34-year-old Manuwa has 14 victories in his career, with 13 of those coming by way of knockout and the other one coming by submission. And like Gustafsson, Manuwa doesn't waste any time when he steps into the Octagon with 10 first-round finishes. He is an extremely physical fighter, and he is ready to knock his opponent out at any given moment. "Poster Boy" averages 4.82 significant strikes landed per minute, and is also very accurate when landing those strikes, at 64%, which is much better than Gustafsson's 37% accuracy rate. Manuwa fights out of London, so he should have the backing of the fans in attendance. This is the type of guy that goes into every single fight thinking he is going to win the match, and that confidence will be a big factor on Saturday as well. If he is able to control the fight early and get close enough to Gustafsson to land some significant blows, then he has a great chance of pulling off the major upset.
Michael Johnson (15-8) vs. Melvin Guillard (48-13-3)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Johnson -130, Guillard Even
Michael Johnson looks to score another big victory in his career as he goes up against a very experienced fighter in Melvin Guillard at UFC Fight Night in London on Saturday.
Johnson has a two-match winning streak, and is coming off a dominating victory against Gleison Tibau on Dec. 28 when he finished off his opponent with a flurry of punches in the second round. Johnson is a big-time athlete that does a great job of using his speed and athleticism to keep bringing the pressure on his opponents. At 27 years old, he is just entering the prime of his career, and a win over Melvin Guillard would be another big step in that direction. The 30-year-old Guillard has been in the sport for many years, and is considered as one of the toughest competitors in all of MMA. He has gone up against some great fighters such as Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz, and will be ready to go up against another talented fighter in Johnson.
"The Menace" Johnson has 15 victories on his resume, with seven coming by way of knockout. He also has two wins by submission, leaving the other six by decision. He will have a slight advantage in this match when it comes to strikes landed per minute, averaging 3.53 compared to just 3.24 from Guillard. Johnson is also very good with his takedown defense, which could play a big role in this bout. He has a takedown defense rate of 77 %, while Guillard defends 65% of his opponents' takedowns. This is even more important though, as Guillard is very good with his takedown accuracy, completing 70% of his takedown attempts (57% for Johnson). Johnson is a young fighter that has a lot of potential in the sport and has a two-inch height advantage on Saturday, but he can’t afford to overlook the crafty veteran. Guillard is the type of opponent that is going to fight his style no matter what, and not let the bright lights change his mindset at all.
Of Guillard's 48 career victories, 26 have come by way of decision. However, he has frequently displayed his punching power with an impressive 20 wins in knockout fashion. He doesn't land as many strikes as his opponent by he is more accurate (42% to 39%) and defends strikes better at 68% (61% for Johnson). While Guillard does not win a lot of matches by submission (just two in his career), and has lost nine times by this method, his ground game is key to his ability to win matches by decision. "The Young Assassin" gains many points throughout the bout that gives him the edge to win by decision. He also is in terrific shape, which helps allow him to go the distance in the fight. If he is able to take the match to Johnson and keep it on the ground, he will have a great chance of winning this match as the slight underdog.
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