Undefeated Jimi Manuwa gets Alexander Gustafsson next after Nogueira pulls out due to injury

COMMENTARY | Following his eye-opening performance against UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson (15-2-0, 9 KOs) was set to face Antonio Rogério Nogueira in March 2014.

However, that bout will no longer take place since Nogueira has pulled out due to a back injury. Undefeated — somewhat recent UFC addition — Jimi Manuwa (14-0-0, 13 KOs) will now step in as Nogueira’s replacement.

The two will headline the yet-to-be-named UFC card set for March 8, 2014 at the O2 Arena in London England, while Ross Pearson and Melvin Guillard will throw down in the co-main event.

Ever since Gustafsson established himself as a serious threat to Jones’ reign in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division, Jones vs. Gustafsson has been a popular topic of conversation among MMA fans. However, Gustafsson’s road to a second fight against Jones will no longer be as smooth as originally intended when the bout against Nogueira was set up.

Jimi Manuwa is a dangerous striker that seems to improve with every fight, and a win against Gustafsson would instantly establish the 33-year-old as a serious contender in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division. It’s a huge opportunity for a fighter like Manuwa who didn’t get involved with mixed martial arts until his late twenties, an opportunity he’ll certainly try to make the most of.

Factor in the fact that Manuwa will also have home-Octagon advantage, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that Jimi is more than capable of pulling off the upset.

David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 8 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.

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