This Saturday the UFC returns to PPV with it’s biggest card of the year thus far, UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2. The card is stacked from top to bottom and it is hard to argue that it will be anything short of amazing. In honor of this mega event, analysis will be provided throughout the week for each main card fight. All of these fights are PPV main event worthy with potentially the exception of Cyborg vs. Evinger, but they could easily carry an FS1 card.
Monday: Light Heavyweight – #3 Jimi Manuwa vs. #5 Volkan Oezdemir
Tuesday: Welterweight – #3 Robbie Lawler vs. #7 Donald Cerrone
Wednesday: Women’s Featherweight Championship – Cristiane Justino vs. Tonya Evinger
Thursday: Welterweight Championship – C Tyron Woodley vs. #1 Demian Maia
Friday: Light Heavyweight Championship – C Daniel Cormier vs. #1 Jon Jones
Light Heavyweight: #3 Jimi Manuwa vs. #5 Volkan Oezdemir
Tale of the Tape:
Last 5 Fights:
Jimi Manuwa’s Strengths:
Jimi Manuwa is coming off back to back highlight reel knockouts of Ovince Saint Preux and Corey Anderson. In these wins his biggest strength was showcased, his strength. Jimi is as physically imposing as he looks in pictures. He utilizes this strength best when he is using his hands to strike. He is a very crisp boxer with one punch knockout potential. His aggression in the cage is something that harnesses the aforementioned abilities and leads to success. All of these traits combined give Manuwa the ability to dominate opponents when implemented properly.
Volkan Oezdemir’s Stengths:
Volkan Oezdemir is an extremely well rounded fighter and that is why he has skyrocketed into position for this matchup of top contenders. He has great striking and even found success in professional kickboxing early on in his career. Oezdemir uses aggression wisely much like Manuwa and has a very under rated takedown defense. When mixing together all of his abilities in the right fashion Oezdemir can very much dictate where a fight takes place. This ability helps him impose his will on other fighters and more often than not leads to victory.
Jimi Manuwa’s Weaknesses:
Although Manuwa is one of the best knockout artists in the Light Heavyweight Division currently, he is far from the most well rounded. He is essentially a one trick pony with his boxing game. It is not often Manuwa mixes in kicks or takedowns. Additionally, his wrestling is well below average. Alexander Gustaffson was able to keep him on the ground with little effort. Manuwa’s only chance to get off his back is by using brute strength as opposed to technique. Although fighters struggle to land strikes on his chin, the few times they have ended in KO’s. I question his ability to take a big shot in this fight.
Volkan Oezdemir’s Weaknesses:
Well rounded fighters, even if they do nothing great, often find much success in MMA. Oezdemir is pretty good at just about everything except his striking defense. Although he has never been knocked out, a good example of this was in his fight against Ovince Saint Preux. Often times throughout the fight he found himself acting as the aggressor and taking punishment that could have been avoided on the way in. It’s evident at only 27 years of age his chin is still very much intact, but absorbing strikes from a fighter as strong as Manuwa is a recipe for disaster.
It’s Monday, and my view on this fight could very likely change by fight time. It is arguably the toughest fight to call on the card. If asked a few hours ago I would have picked Manuwa. At the current time, I feel Oezdemir will walk away victorious. The opponents Manuwa has struggled against are those that are willing to take the fight to him. If you allow Jimi to be the aggressor, it is seldom he loses. In fights against Gustaffson and Johnson, fighters who did not allow him to over power them with aggression, Manuwa found himself on the wrong end of stoppages. Oezdemir is not going to sit back in this fight and has the ability to slow Manuwa’s pressure with leg kicks. Add this in with my questions about Manuwa’s chin and Oezdemir seems to be the intelligent pick…right now…