So, MMA world, what did you learn about Jimi Manuwa today?
Allow me to get in before the skeptics point out the cardio and the takedown defense. What the fans in attendance and the people watching at home learned about Manuwa is the true extent of the power of the "Poster Boy". If he hits someone, he will back them up, and once he backs them up, he's knocking someone out.
However, he proved that he knows what to do if he doesn't get a knockout from landing his most malevolent shots. His hype came from the fact of his striking and clinch game predominantly, and he delivered on the hype by nearly finishing Kingsbury in two rounds despite getting outwrestled and nearly submitted. When his vaunted left hook couldn't put Kingsbury away, he maintained control in the clinch and he landed his knees violently flush in that clinch.
Despite throwing a spinning backfist and at least two flying knees, Manuwa's standup and Muay Thai mastery should teach the UFC light heavyweight division a serious lesson. Of course, that lesson is to never stand with Manuwa if you don't normally fight like Jon Jones, Dan Henderson, Glover Teixeira, Ryan Jimmo (the UFC 149 version), or Lyoto Machida. If you want to win against Manuwa, outwrestle him the whole way through and only throw shots to set up takedowns.
Either that, or go down when Manuwa lands any sort of strike. Anyone who tries to stand and trade with Manuwa will have their eye closed shut by the end of round two, tops. Don't believe it? Ask Kyle Kingsbury.
He had an eye for testing out Manuwa's gas tank and his abilities on the ground. At the end of the day, however, that eye for testing Manuwa cost him his left eye, and it proved the ultimate launching pad for "Poster Boy" Manuwa in his UFC debut.
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