Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the main event of UFC Fight 107 as Top 10 light heavyweights square off with Corey Anderson taking on Jimi Manuwa. Corey Anderson (Record: 11-2, +120 Underdog, Power Ranking: B-) The former collegiate wrestler debuted in the UFC as a cast member for The Ultimate Fighter 19 and ended up winning the light heavyweight season of the show. Anderson has gone 6-2 during his time in the UFC and is coming into his first UFC main event on the back of a knockout win over Sean O’Connell. The 27-year-old Top 10 light heavyweight has quickly jumped up the rankings. He’s done it mainly through one of the best offensive wrestling games in the division. He averages a whopping 4.44 takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon. He’s a strong, athletic fighter that excels in getting opponents to the mat. In four of his last five UFC fights, he’s had at least four takedowns, including a fight against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. On the feet, his length does cause some opponents problems. He has fairly decent boxing, but the stand-up is certainly the area where he is most vulnerable. He has solid striking defense at 58 percent, but his chin is a question mark, and his ability to take damage certainly comes into question. From a technical standpoint, he has a ceiling of a Top 5 fighter in the weight class, but there are uncertainties of whether or not he can withstand the power punching of the heaviest hitters in the division. Jimi Manuwa (Record: 16-2, -140 Favorite, Power Ranking: B-) Great Britain’s top light heavyweight, Manuwa has become one of the most feared fighters in the UFC. He’s gone 5-2 in the UFC with all but one of those victories coming by stoppage. He’s riding high on confidence coming off a knockout of former title challenger Ovince St. Preux. Manuwa entered the UFC in 2012 without much fanfare, but he quickly made a name for himself by punishing opponents. His first three victories in the UFC all came via strikes and were due to injuring his opponent. Manuwa has very heavy leg kicks that he whips to the legs of his opponent. His output is above average for the division at 3.64 significant strikes per minute, but it’s his accuracy that stands out with a whopping 59 percent of strikes landed. In addition to the leg kicks, he’s one of the best in this sport at taking aim to the body. He did a tremendous job against St. Preux at slowing down his opponent with hooks to the body, which allowed him to ultimately finish in round two. Everything Manuwa throws is heavy and done with fight-ending intentions, which makes him so intimidating. His ground game does leave a lot to be desired though. He was taken down twice in each of his last two fights, and his takedown defense is just 63 percent overall. Matchup An intriguing contrast of styles pits the American Anderson against England’s Manuwa. This fight is the classic striker vs. grappler matchup. The home country fighter is a knockout artist with heavy leg kicks and a penchant for landing shots to the body. Anderson is an athletic light heavyweight who does an excellent job of forcing his opponents for the mat. The first few minutes of this fight will be difficult for Anderson, as he’ll be weary of Manuwa’s heavy strikes. It’s clear Anderson will need to get this fight to the ground to win, and that’s something he should be able to do. The longer this fight goes on, the more it favors the American. The best way to bet Manuwa is in Round 1 (+250). He can certainly clip Anderson early and finish. If he’s unable to do so, Anderson will at a minimum run away with a decision, if not win by late stoppage via ground-and-pound. Given the small window for Manuwa to win, I’m siding with Anderson to survive the storm and rely on takedowns to get his hand raised. It’s an important fight for this weight class, with the winner in prime position for an opportunity at a title shot, so the stakes are high and my expectation is for Anderson (+120) to play it safe to secure the win.
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