UFC Fight Night 107 Preview: The Top 4 Fights Worth Watching

03.17.17 4 months ago

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Live from London’s 02 Arena, UFC Fight Night 107 is going down Saturday afternoon into the evening (the main card starts 5 pm eastern) exclusively on Fight Pass. Like many of the Fight Pass shows since WME-IMG bought the UFC, it seems like a bit of an afterthought with few fights of consequence. In other words, this show will likely be full of action and make end of year lists as most “underrated” card just so MMA hipsters can make each other feel bad. That’s how weak this undercard is. Sad.

Let’s look at some violence!

Light Heavyweight Jimi Manuwa vs. Corey Anderson

If Jimi Manuwa didn’t hurt himself while hurting other people so often he’d probably have a title shot by now. Instead, he’s hoping a typically brutal win over 6-ranked Corey Anderson will get him a shot against the winner of UFC 210’s title fight. The problem — Anthony Johnson (and Alexander Gustafsson )already beat him, and Daniel Cormier probably would beat him. Same with Jon Jones. So, we have a highly-entertaining fighter who finishes everyone he looks at stuck in limbo as the usual suspects hold the top 3 of the division. It doesn’t help that the 205 is possibly in its thinnest state ever.

Corey Anderson’s just a dude. Manuwa is on another level. Expect more highlights for Jimi in front of a home crowd.

Here’s the OSP stanky leg KO that got Manuwa here:

Welterweight Gunnar Nelson vs. Alan Jouban

After a couple unfortunate injuries, ninth-ranked welterweight Gunnar Nelson is back to grapple his way to victory over streaking banger Alan Jouban. This matchmaking is relatively funky considering Jouban isn’t ranked and Gunny has only fought one man currently ranked in the top 15 (Demian Maia, who beat him mercilessly), but it’s best not to think about the rankings too deeply. They seem to get more arbitrary by the week. What we know for sure is that this is a contender for Fight of the Night. Nelson’s slick BJJ combined with Jouban’s tendency to make every fight memorable should lead to a bunch of neat scrambles that would leave Japanese fans applauding politely.

Jouban is also becoming a fan-favorite for beating up Mike Perry, so there’s that. He also just kinda seems like a nice guy!

Bantamweight Brad Pickett vs. Marlon Vera

This is Pickett’s retirement match, and he’ll most be remembered for his hat. Here’s a picture of Brad Pickett screaming in said hat:

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Pickett will also be remembered as a guy who can’t help but win a post-fight bonus — he goes out there and puts on shows. It’s one of the reasons why he’s lost 5 out of his last six and is 8-9 in his UFC/WEC career and they still keep trotting him out to fight. Granted, there are some questionable decisions that didn’t go his way, but no one can take that Mighty Mouse Johnson win away from him. Think about that — the GOAT has 2 losses and they’re against Dominick Cruz… and Brad Pickett. That’s taking nothing away from Pickett, he’s just been the ultimate gatekeeper for the lower weights these last few years. It’s nice the UFC put together this video package for him.

Pickett also brought his puppy to the faceoffs this week, so if he loses, we all have to think about a sad dog resting in the hat of a retired fighter. This could be a Pixar short or its own Alias-type show.

Lightweight Joseph Duffy vs. Reza Madadi

Duffy beat Conor McGregor! Nothing he will ever do (unless he beats Conor McGregor again), will take that tidbit of info out of the mouths of ringside announcers as they announce the fighters. Mark my words — within the first 30 seconds of Duffy being on-camera, this will be mentioned.

For what it’s worth, it’s a hell of a win.

But on Saturday, Duffy is fighting Reza Madadi, who defeated Michael Johnson, who is the key to everything. This is MMA Math™ at it’s finest: Johnson beat DustinPoirier, Poirier beat Duffy, Johnson beat Poirier. So, if Duffy can beat Madadi, He’s basically back to square one, with at least a top ten fight (maybe) in his future. With McGregor out, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson scrapped for now, and Nate Diaz chilling until whenever (it’s whatever), the UFC lightweight division is in a weird spot. A win by either of these men will at least provide some clarity on the back end of the top 15.

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