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Anthony Johnson vs Jimi Manuwa: Keys to victory for UFC 191 fight tonight

Slugfest!

Brooding Light Heavyweight contenders will let the leather fly TONIGHT (Sat. Sept. 5, 2015) at UFC 191 (full fight card here) when former No. 1-ranked title contender Anthony Johnson takes on upstart Jimi Manuwa inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Rumble” and “Poster Boy” possess eerily similar fight styles and would love to get the knockout to cement — or continue — their climb toward the 205-pound title.

However, one man sees the other as a non-threat.

The pay-per-view (PPV) card, which also features a Flyweight title headliner between division champion Demetrious Johnson and “mental midget” John Dodson, is sure to receive a jolt when the aforementioned Johnson and Manuwa collide in the center of the Octagon.

Let’s dig deeper and find out what each fighter needs to do to get his hand raised tonight.

Anthony Johnson

#1 Avoid the clinch …

Old habits die hard — real hard in the case of Johnson. The 31-year-old took a beating from current 205-pound champion Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 187 back in May.

Johnson was flustered in the clinch and put on his behind, where he would eventually succumb to a rear-naked choke in the third round.

Now Manuwa doesn’t come close to harnessing the wrestling skill-set that “DC” possesses, but he does have an underrated clinch game. You won’t see the former British mixed martial arts (MMA) champion shooting for a double-leg.

Instead, the 35-year-old will nullify any sort of grappling attempt — usually done by foes to avoid his powerful hands — by scoring a trip or throw. For the most part, Manuwa has decent takedown defense and an ability to sprawl, so he can maintain the clinch position when the need presents itself.

Johnson will want to ensure he stays planted on the ground, or establishes underhooks first and foremost, because one small shift in weight could mean the difference between a takedown surrendered and a powerful knee strike.

#2 Come up the middle …

One pitfall we saw of Manuwa in his technical knockout (TKO) loss to Alexander Gustafsson at UFC Fight Night 37 in March 2014 was that he can be a bit lackadaisical with his striking. This is something Johnson can use to his advantage.

By luring the Brit out of his comfort zone, he opens up the defense of the former, which in-turn means more striking opportunities. At 6’2,” Johnson can land devastating knees from inside the clinch, as well as uppercuts on the way in.

What was the strike that set up the picture perfect knee by “The Mauler” in London, England 18 months ago? An uppercut.

#3 Fake low, go high …

While Johnson is capable of bull rushing his opponents, he would be wise to stick to a disciplined game plan here. There will be openings to attack Manuwa in the fight, but he just needs to remain patient.

Similarly to his approach against Phil Davis at UFC 172, Johnson needs to set up Manuwa and a great way to do that would be with leg kicks.

If he sends one your way? Well, return the favor.

Leg kicks will undoubtedly come from Manuwa and he needs to make the latter pay. In the past, when Johnson has gone with a head kick, he’s had great success as he knocked out Charlie Brenneman and Kevin Burns both with head kicks.

This will be the second high-level striker that Manuwa faces in UFC and Johnson is no joke. It’s put up or shut up time.

Jimi Manuwa

#1 Trip or throw …

If Manuwa has watched any tape of Johnson, he has to be thinking how can I get this fight to the floor? The answer would be to use Johnson’s momentum against him.

Johnson rarely, if ever, moves backwards, which means these two are either going to slug it out in the center of the cage, or Manuwa will be forced into counter striking.

The Blackzilian representative goes to the body and leg on enough occasions, which will allow Manuwa to lock up the clinch and go to work. Then, of course, Manuwa also fancies himself a sweet, lead left hook and can also find his way into the clinch on his own.

#2 Leg kicks …

One way to stop a freight train like Johnson is to halt his momentum with leg kicks, which happen to be one of Manuwa’s best techniques.

He landed 31 leg strikes (most of them were knees) in a win over Ryan Jimmo in Oct. 2013 at UFC Fight Night 30.

Power lies not only in his hands, but in his feet and Manuwa is best when he diversifies his attack. Throw a leg kick and mask one of those blistering overhand rights, or left hooks, behind it and you’ve got a recipe for a knockout.

#3 Circle right …

I know, this should be obvious, but for some fighters, this isn’t always clear. Johnson’s best strikes come via his right hand; he’s not as ambidextrous as his light heavyweight counterpart.

He’s going to have his right hand cocked back at all times, intending on finding Manuwa’s chin like a heat-seeking missile. Manuwa has a solid lead left hook and he does a good job of working the body of his opponents.

His head movement was also point in his last Octagon appearance — a win over Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 64 back in April — which should pay dividends against Johnson.. Manuwa should be able to counter often by ducking punches and checking some of Johnson’s kicks.

Prediction: Manuwa via second-round technical knockout

There’s no telling what kind of Johnson is going to show up tonight. He was on a nine-fight win streak heading into his tussle with Cormier, but how will he handle such a debilitating loss?

Did it cause Johnson to doubt himself, or perhaps make unnecessary changes in his camp? Did he improve upon his takedown defense?

There are several questions Johnson needs to answer and he could use a finish to get back on the saddle and ride on towards gold once again.

Manuwa has everything to gain by being in the position he’s in. Even if he puts forth a considerable effort, his stock should somewhat rise.

If he were to come out and dismantle the former top contender Johnson, well, he would cement himself as the newest member of the 205-pound elite.

For the full UFC 191: “Johnson vs. Dodson 2″ fight card, click here, and remember to stay with MMAmania for all of your fight night coverage, including live updates and play-by-play, post-fight recaps and analysis … plus much more!

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Frankie Perez, 26, retires after first UFC victory at UFC Fight Night 74

Frankie Perez scored the biggest win of his life on Sunday night. Then, at just 26 years old, he called it a career.

Watch the video above to see Perez (10-2) announce his retirement inside the Octagon just moments after earning his first UFC win, a 55-second knockout of Sam Stout at UFC Fight Night 74.

The decision was widely lauded on social media, though one fighter in particular had strong words for Perez. Following the announcement, UFC middleweight contender and FOX Sports analyst Michael Bisping proclaimed that the young lightweight “hasn’t really got the cajones to really be in this sport.”

Bisping later elaborated on his comments, tweeting, ”Ok I meant maybe he did, maybe he doesn’t. Either way, great win.”

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Charles Oliveira Injury Gives Max Holloway Victory in UFC Fight Night Headliner

Max Holloway scores injury-induced TKO on Charles Oliveira in their UFC Fight Night main event on Sunday in Canada.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Frankie Perez, 26, retires after first UFC victory at UFC Fight Night 74

Frankie Perez scored the biggest win of his life on Sunday night. Then, at just 26 years old, he called it a career.

Watch the video above to see Perez (10-2) announce his retirement inside the Octagon just moments after earning his first UFC win, a 55-second knockout of Sam Stout at UFC Fight Night 74.

The decision was widely lauded on social media, though one fighter in particular had strong words for Perez. Following the announcement, UFC middleweight contender and FOX Sports analyst Michael Bisping proclaimed that the young lightweight “hasn’t really got the cajones to really be in this sport.”

Bisping later elaborated on his comments, tweeting, ”Ok I meant maybe he did, maybe he doesn’t. Either way, great win.”

MMA Fighting – All Posts

Frankie Perez, 26, retires after first UFC victory at UFC Fight Night 74

Frankie Perez scored the biggest win of his life on Sunday night. Then, at just 26 years old, he called it a career.

Watch the video above to see Perez (10-2) announce his retirement inside the Octagon just moments after earning his first UFC win, a 55-second knockout of Sam Stout at UFC Fight Night 74.

The decision was widely lauded on social media, though one fighter in particular had strong words for Perez. Following the announcement, UFC middleweight contender and FOX Sports analyst Michael Bisping proclaimed that the young lightweight “hasn’t really got the cajones to really be in this sport.”

Bisping later elaborated on his comments, tweeting, ”Ok I meant maybe he did, maybe he doesn’t. Either way, great win.”

MMA Fighting – All Posts

Charles Oliveira Injury Gives Max Holloway Victory in UFC Fight Night Headliner

Max Holloway scores injury-induced TKO on Charles Oliveira in their UFC Fight Night main event on Sunday in Canada.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Frankie Perez, 26, retires after first UFC victory at UFC Fight Night 74

Frankie Perez scored the biggest win of his life on Sunday night. Then, at just 26 years old, he called it a career.

Watch the video above to see Perez (10-2) announce his retirement inside the Octagon just moments after earning his first UFC win, a 55-second knockout of Sam Stout at UFC Fight Night 74.

The decision was widely lauded on social media, though one fighter in particular had strong words for Perez. Following the announcement, UFC middleweight contender and FOX Sports analyst Michael Bisping proclaimed that the young lightweight “hasn’t really got the cajones to really be in this sport.”

Bisping later elaborated on his comments, tweeting, ”Ok I meant maybe he did, maybe he doesn’t. Either way, great win.”

MMA Fighting – All Posts

UFC on FOX 16 bonuses: T.J. Dillashaw scores performance bonus for victory over Renan Barao

If he didn’t convince people he was the real bantamweight champion the first time he beat Renan Barao, T.J. Dillashaw certainly did the second time.

Dillashaw wore down and dominated Barao at UFC on FOX 16 on Saturday night in Chicago to retain the 135-pound belt. He finished Barao a round quicker than he did the first time at UFC 173, scoring a fourth-round TKO (strikes) after a barrage that left the Brazilian limp against the fence. If that weren’t enough, Dillashaw also took home a Performance of the Night bonus for his efforts.

It was announced in the post-fight press conference that the 29-year old Team Alpha Male fighter earned $ 50,000 extra for his dominant showing at the United Center.

Also taking home a performance bonus was Tom Lawlor, who was making return to the light heavyweight division. Lawlor was losing his fight against Gian Villante early — getting taken apart with leg kicks — but scored a one-punch, come-from-behind knockout in the second round. Lawlor, who last fought at 205 pounds against Kyle Kingsbury in 2008 at The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale, is now 2-0 in that weight class. He went 4-4 as a middleweight in the UFC.

The Fight of the Night bonus went to Paul Felder and Edson Barboza, who engaged in a memorable stand-up war in which both fighters had their moments with spinning kicks, fists and plenty of leather trades. In the end, the judges saw it for the Brazilian, who improves to 16-3.

Barboza dealt Felder the first loss of his professional career. He is now 10-1.

Each were awarded $ 50,000 for their efforts.

FON Barboza-Felder Performances: Dillashaw and Lawlor.

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Bellator 139 results: Cheick Kongo wrestles Alexander Volkov to unanimous decision victory

Just a week after the major Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock event at Bellator 138, Bellator staged an event at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas. It was an event with few stakes and a handful of recognizable names, but memorable moments nonetheless. In the main event, UFC veteran Cheick Kongo looked to get back on the winning track after dropping a decision to Muhammed Lawal In February against Bellator heavyweight mainstay Alexander Volkov.

To start the main event contest, Kongo charged in right away for a takedown, but Volkov’s good use of underhooks allowed him to shrug off the attempt. Eventually Kongo was able to get in on Volkov’s hips after several failed attempts and scoop slam him to the mat. Volkov briefly stood, only to be taken down soon thereafter. Volkov would hang on, but the round would end there as Kongo worked moderately heavy ground and pound on top.

In the second and third rounds, however, Volkov would offer increasingly less resistance. Kongo stuck to a disciplined game plan of attacking right away after punching his way inside and working ground and pound on top. Volkov made occasional attempts at guillotine chokes. He also did a respectable job of covering up from what he could, but barely made any attempt to get to his feet. According to striking data presented during the broadcast, Volkov also landed no strikes on the ground.

Ultimately, Cheick Kongo defeated Alexander Volkov via unanimous decision, scoring the bout 30-27, 30-27 and 30-27 on the judges’ scorecards.

In the co-main event, David Rickels rode hometown support against the Canadian and UFC veteran John Alessio to an early dominating performance, but one that wouldn’t prove fruitful enough.

Rickels unloaded early in the first round against the Canadian, bombing him with all manner of punches, getting Alessio to hunch over, backing up in pain. Rickels walked Alessio down and unloaded against the fence, getting Alessio to fall to his knees and cover up. Rickles, in the heat of the moment, threw a knee to Alessio’s head while his knee was touching the ground, causing an immediate halt to the bout and a referee inspection of Alessio.

From there, the fight was waved off by referee Rob Hinds. The bout was eventually ruled a no-contest due to the illegal knee, which took place at 2:24 of the first round.

Elite kickboxer Joe Schilling made his return to the cage after dropping his last Bellator bout via split decision in April. Unfortunately for the GLORY middleweight, he wasn’t able to right the ship.

Schilling opened the bout switching stances, but would soon be bullied into the fence only to be dragged down to the mat. Schilling made occasional attempts at cage walking, but was never able to set up a submission or sweep. Additionally, Kato was unable to pass until a failed triangle attempt from Schilling. The American was able to recover half guard, but lacked the attacking finesse to do much with it. Schilling rolled to his base and eventually stood, complaining of shots to the back of the head as the round expired.

At the beginning of the second round, however, Kato opened the frame with a step-in superman punch on the left side that landed flush, shutting out the lights of the decorated kickboxer immediately. The end came at just 34 seconds of the frame.

Opening the broadcast on Spike TV was the return of the former Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran as he looked to get things going after dropping a decision to Daniel Weichel.

The right hand was a potent weapon for Curran as the former champion was able to land body shots and hooks from that side, routinely unanswered. Curran’s jab also landed well, but it was challenged by Sanchez’s consistent outside lead leg kick. Sanchez was rocked by an uppercut-hook combo toward the end of the round, but not badly enough for Curran to put the Roufusport fighter in any real danger.

In the second round, an inadvertent clash of heads caused a bad cut over the left eye of Sanchez, but not enough to halt the bout altogether after being inspected by the ringside physician. Curran was briefly able to use his wrestling thereafter, scoring a single leg takedown, although Sanchez was able to return to his feet soon thereafter. Sanchez continued stalking and had occasional success pressing Curran backwards before succumbing to another single leg takedown just before the round expired.

Curran would again return to his wrestling in the third, tripping Sanchez to the mat and working within his guard. Sanchez would spend minutes there before Curran failed on a same-side, arm-in guillotine. Curran would soon secure another single leg and eventual back take with less than a minute to go, which would be all Curran needed to earn the unanimous decision victory, taking 30-27 on all three judges’ scorecards.

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UFC 188 preview: Fabricio Werdum within one victory of becoming greatest heavyweight fighter of all time

No, seriously.

It didn’t start out that way, of course, as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim heavyweight titleholder Fabricio Werdum was once, at best, a UFC washout. The Brazilian — coming off a bookie-busting knockout loss to Junior dos Santos in late 2008, was shipped off to San Jose, California, where combat sports careers were sent to die.

Or to be resurrected.

The Strikeforce promotion, under the leadership of mixed martial arts (MMA) darling Scott Coker, provided shelter for whatever talent couldn’t make hay while the sun shined in UFC. That included under-performing “names” of yesteryear, like Dan Henderson and Andrei Arlovski, whose price tags caused sticker shock at the ZUFFA bargaining table.

That said, the ladder back to the top of the fight world was a relatively short one.

In the hurt business, nothing warrants a second look more than the ability to earn money for the competition. Not surprisingly, both “Hendo” and “The Pitbull” are back in the good graces of UFC, and both former champions are ranked within their respective divisions.

That brings us back to Werdum.

“Vai Cavalo” wasted little time getting back to his winning ways, firing off three straight wins inside the “Golden State” Hexagon. After toying with Mike Kyle, Werdum won an uninspired slap fight against friend and former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva.

In hindsight, it’s understandable if fight fans were laughing when the crowned prince of Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) was announced as cannon fodder for Fedor Emelianenko. After all, the former PRIDE heavyweight kingpin hadn’t lost a contest in over a decade, an astonishing 28-fight unbeaten streak.

Even his lone loss — a questionable doctor stoppage at the turn of the century — was debatable.

But Werdum quickly defeated the Combat Sambo champion by way of angry tap in June of 2010 and as expected, was showered with dismissive praise. Fedor was careless, critics would cry, and the underdog skated from the HP Pavilion with what amounted to the luckiest “W” in the history of MMA — or so we thought.

Then he kept winning.

Well, there was that little hiccup against an old foe. Despite out-striking and out-grappling Alistair Overeem in the promotion’s heavyweight grand prix (the cold, hard numbers right here), the butt-scooting Werdum dropped a lazy decision to the hulking Dutchman.

“Vai Cavalo” was understandably bla about his final Strikeforce performance, citing a satisfactory submission win over “The Reem” back in 2006.

Besides, this was a time for celebration, as the former TUF coach was already en route to the sport’s hallowed ground.

What followed was an unlikely five-fight winning streak that started with a three-round shellacking of the brick-fisted Roy Nelson, and ended with a stunning technical knockout win over the granite-chinned Mark Hunt. One that would send Werdum into a title unification bout opposite Cain Velasquez.

Where? The UFC 188 pay-per-view (PPV) main event in Mexico. When? Sat., June 13, 2015, somewhere at or around the stroke of midnight.

It’s not outrageous to suggest that Velasquez is the finest heavyweight in the game today, and the baddest 265-pound bruiser since Junior dos Santos held that title in 2011. “Cigano” would eventually fall to his American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) nemesis in a pair of lopsided title fights.

Cain’s only other opponent during the last five years – due in part to excessive injury layoffs — was the increasingly-brittle Antonio Silva.

Nevertheless, Velasquez is still king of the heavyweight castle because he’s mastered the very essence of MMA. Not only is he a ferocious striker, his wrestling is top shelf and he can maintain a murderous pace for 25 straight minutes, perhaps more if the commission allowed it.

Simply put, he’s the man.

And to be the man, you gotta beat the man. If Werdum can depose Velasquez at this weekend’s UFC 188 extravaganza — and especially if he manages to finish him — it will be difficult to deny that he is the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time.

Not convinced?

Then I ask you … if victory is attained this weekend in Mexico City, what task remains unfulfilled?

I believe the line up speaks for itself:

Mark Hunt, K-1 World Grand Prix Champion: Defeated by knockout
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion: Defeated by submission
Roy Nelson, former IFL Heavyweight Champion: Defeated by unanimous decision
Fedor Emelianenko, former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion: Defeated by submission
Alistair Overeem, former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion: Defeated by submission
Antonio Silva, former EliteXC Heavyweight Champion: Defeated by unanimous decision

Only one name missing from that prestigious index.

Werdum doesn’t have a win over Dos Santos, but he doesn’t need one at this time because “Cigano” is no longer the best fighter in his division. That label belongs to the house of Velasquez, though I’m sure vengeance against “JDS” would be a welcome feather in his cap.

Is calling “Vai Cavalo” the “best ever” still a tough pill to swallow?

I think it’s important to recognize that GOAT status is not like one of those old stickers we used to plaster all over our Trapper Keepers (you know the ones with the industrial-strength adhesive, cocooned in a plastic womb and birthed by those red surrogates at the local grocer).

No, this is one distinction that can bend and mold to fit the fighter who summons it. Becoming the GOAT on Saturday night does not infer that said distinction will still be applicable in six months, or a year, or however long it takes Velasquez to smoke Werdum in a guaranteed rematch.

And if the Brazilian goes up two-zip on Cain?

Then another rising heavyweight — or established veteran — will be there to try to take his place.

Outside of Velasquez, Emelianenko was, and to many fans still is, the best combatant to ever step foot inside the arena of pain. In less than two days, when the lights go down in the (Mexican) city, there could be another name added to that argument.

Or depending on the will of the reigning champion, eliminated from it completely.

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