UFC Fight Night 107 was just another example of how a non pay-per-view card can not only be watchable, but can also offer a glimpse of some of the best talent the UFC has to offer. In particular, this weekend showcased what’s going on in the European theater as the fighter’s at the top of the card showcased why they could be the future of the sport.
Jimi Manuwa made a strong case to be next in line for a title shot at he completely annihilated Corey Anderson in the very first round of their contest. A feeling out process ensued in the opening moments until a fight ending left hook from Manuwa put Anderson to sleep. Manuwa has that kind of one shot power that makes him a threat to any man at light heavyweight. When you consider his options moving forward, a fight with either Glover Teixiera or former champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua makes a ton of sense.
Constantly referred to as one of the men to hold the privilege of defeating Conor McGregor, Joe Duffy showcased once again why that moniker simply doesn’t do him enough justice. It’s evident that Duffy has improved his game as he outclassed Reza Madadi over three rounds. Not only did Duffy’s boxing looking sharp, it’s also becoming clear that he’s been working on sexing up his kicking game. A delicious sidekick, a sexy hook kick, and all of a sudden I got the feeling like I was watching McGregor do work in the cage. It’s funny that with the introduction of McGregor and Stephen Thompson to the masses that we’ve seen an increase in traditional martial arts techniques. Sidekicks and hook kicks are here to stay and it’s apparent that these tools will only make Duffy all the more dangerous to deal with on the feet.
Like Joe Duffy, Arnold Allen made the move to Tristar and you can already see the improvements. His bout with Makwan Amirkhani showcased not only his immense striking ability but his technical ground skills. Amirkhani threatened with multiple submissions yet Allen was able to escape and gain top position a number of times. The second round of the bout saw Allen show the confidence to threaten with a submission against a man who considers himself a ground specialist. That kind of courage could be a sign of arrogance on Allen’s part, but it could also show his confidence in his ability to fight anywhere the fight takes him. In the featherweight division you need every tool in your toolkit and Allen surely has plenty to work with. With his boxing game as good as it is, seeing his ability to shut down Amirkhani’s strong ground work shows the glimmers of a featherweight that could one day carry the flag for England as a potential title challenger.
This one was just pure fun. Marc Diakiese is not only athletic, but has some great timing as well. His kicking game looked pretty damn impressive as he threw some crazy spinning kicks. But the timing on his over hand right that laid out Teemu Packalen was absolutely perfect. Diakiese’s early aggression forced Packalen to push forward with some of his own forward pressure. Diakiese then immediately shifted from aggressor to counter fighter as he timed Packalen’s pawing left hand with his devastating right. The future is bright for this kid no doubt.
Gunnar Nelson once again showcased why I love karate so much. He may not have a tremendous amount of volume, but when Nelson does decide to throw it’s with conviction and accuracy. His bout with Alan Jouban showcased just how dangerous karate can be on the feet when used effectively. His feints, in and out movement and ability blitz hard and fast makes him ultra dangerous on the feet. We all know his ground game is crushing, but his striking is truly one of the more underrated parts of his game. You’re never quite sure when he’s gonna come forward, when he’s going to hang back and when he does come forward is he just looking to strike or is he going to be seeking a takedown. With rumblings of a possible Stephen Thompson fight, could we get to see a clash of karate styles at welterweight?
Which of these fighters has the best chance at winning a UFC belt?