UFC Fight Night 107: Anderson vs. Manuwa main card preview and predictions

The final UFC card of March is taking place tonight, and it will be the last card the UFC puts forth until UFC 210 on April 8th. The prelims are solid, and the main card for today’s show is, well, pretty damn good, especially for a Fight Pass card. The opening bout of the four-fight slate pits a pair of prospects together, which will be followed by British brawler Brad Pickett’s 39th and final professional MMA fight. The co-main event features a pair of exciting  Welterweights in what is considered by many as the “people’s main event,” and while the actual main event isn’t very appealing as a headliner, it’s still a Light Heavyweight bout between ranked opponents that makes sense. With all that said, let’s delve into the main card, which will be streamed entirely on Fight Pass.

UFC Fight Night 107 main card (5/4c, UFC Fight Pass)

Arnold Allen (11-1) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (13-2)

The main card opens with a pair of prospects, as the UK’s Arnold Allen takes on Finland’s Makwan Amirkhani. Allen is only 23, has won both of his UFC bouts, and has won four straight overall. He may have finished eight of his fights, but the only one of his last five to not go into the third round was a fight that got stopped by doctors right after the second round. As for Amirkhani, the Finnish Iranian is 3-0 inside the octagon, with two first round finishes, including a shocking eight-second flying knee in his UFC debut against Andy Ogle in January 2015. This is his first fight since last February though, so there might be some ring rust. I still have a gut feeling that he’ll win, even though many signs point to Allen being better than him. I’ll pick Amirkhani nonetheless, if not by getting his tenth career submission, then by getting his fourth career decision win. Prediction:Amirkhani via decision or late submission.

Brad Pickett (25-13) vs. Marlon Vera (8-3-1)

Up next is Brad Pickett’s final fight. A fun brawler, Pickett is clearly shopworn, and has been for quite some time now. He racked up six post-fight bonuses in his first seven UFC bouts, going 4-3 inside the octagon in that stretch. Since August 2013 though, “One Punch” has gone 2-5, with zero post-fight bonuses, and both wins coming via decision, the latter of which was very controversial. He’s fought 38 times proper to tonight, and his 5-8UFC record is far from great. He’s still a famed brawler though, with ten submission, seven knockout and eight decision wins, and has shockingly only been knockout twice in those 38 fights.

Initially, Pickett was scheduled to take on Henry Briones. Briones had to bow out last week though, but the uFC was still able to find a late replacement for him in Marlon Vera. Vera competed in TUF: Latin America and made into the semifinals before bowing out due to a skin infection, before making his debut in the finale in November 2014. He’s 2-2 in the UFC, with three of those fights going the distance. He does have five submission wins though, and has never been finished. I’d love to see Pickett get the finish, but I see this fight going pretty much the way it did for Urijah Faber in his final fight. It’ll be a decent fight with some cool moments, and while Vera stands a chance for sure, I’ll go with the hometown hero to pull out a decision win, if not one final finish. Prediction: Pickett via decision. 

(9) Gunnar Nelson (15-2-1) vs. Alan Jouban (14-4)

In the co-main event of the evening, a pair of highly-touted Welterweights will partake in what is basically the main event for me. Nelson is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with crazy skilled grappling. He’s finished 14 of his 15 victims, including 11 in the first round.He’s 6-2 in the UFC, but just 2-2 in his last four, with both losses coming via decision-first to Rick Story, then against fellow grappling ace Demian Maia. If he wants to get back into contention, he needs a win here.

If Nelson wants to be viewed as a contender again, he’ll need to defeat the always dangerous Alan Jouban. Like Nelson, Jouban is also 6-2 inside the octagon, and honestly should be ranked. While he’s won nine fights via knockout, he also has five decision wins, including his last two, which both came against previously unbeaten and high-level prospects. He can win this fight for sure, as long as he keeps it standing. I do believe that Nelson will take it to the ground at some point though, and while Jouban has never been submitted, that might change today. Prediction: Nelson via submission, round 2.

(6) Corey Anderson (9-2) vs (4) Jimi Manuwa (16-2)

In the main event of the evening, a pair of ranked Light Heavyweights will take each other on. That’s supposed to be a big and heavily-marketed deal, correct? Well, Anderson’s 6-2 inside the UFC, and won TUF 19’s Light heavyweight tournament against Matt Van Buren in just 61 seconds. In his next six fights though, he lost the only good fight he had, with the five wins being boring, grinding decisions that didn’t help his stock with the masses. He then lost a split decision against Shogun Rua, before winning his last bout via second round finish against Sean O’Connell.

Meanwhile, Manuwa is a former BAMMA champion who’s finished 15 of his 16 career wins, 14 via knockout, and has only gone the distance once. However, each of his first three UFC fights ended either via doctor stoppage or tko via injury, before he got destroyed by Alexander Gustaffson just over three years ago. his follow-up bout came 13 months later, in an excruciatingly boring decision win over Jan Blachowicz, before he got brutally knocked out by Anthony Johnson in September 2015. He then went away for another year, before knocking out Ovince Saint Preux in his latest fight, finally finishing a UFC fight via actual finish.

So, we’ve got two ranked Light Heavyweights who are a combined 11-4 in the UFC, yet have only looked good in three of those 15 combined fights. That’s how you wind up having a pair of ranked Light Heavyweights winding up headlining a Fight Pass bout. This fight will most likely feature Anderson going back to his grinding antics. For the sake of the fans, both in the building and watching elsewhere, I’ll say Manuwa pulls off a knockout quickly. I’m not confident at all, and it sucks that this is a five-round fight, but I’ll go with a Manuwa KO prediction, if only for the fans and for the sake of everyone’s enjoyment. Prediction: Manuwa via tko, round 2. 

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