Jimi Manuwa to Face Alexander Gustafsson When the UFC Visits London

Christopher HeathmanCorrespondent IINovember 5, 2013

Dec 8, 2012, Seattle, WA, USA; Alexander Gustafsson fights Mauricio Rua (not pictured) during their light heavyweight bout at MMA on FOX 5 at Key Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Former title challenger Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson will now face Jimi "The Posterboy" Manuwa when the UFC visits London in March.

The bout was announced on BT Sport's "Beyond the Octagon" on UK television by Gareth A. Davies, but the rumour was doing the usual Twitter rounds days before.

The Swedish light heavyweight was originally scheduled to face Antônio Rogério Nogueira, but the Brazilian pulled out through injury. British favourite Manuwa now takes his place in what will be the biggest fight of his career in front of his home fans.

The Posterboy has only fought three times in the Octagon, with two bouts ending in unusual circumstances. Both Ryan Jimmo and Cyrille Diabate suffered in fight injuries and Manuwa was awarded the victories. In his debut against Kyle Kingsbury, however, Manuwa displayed his accurate and powerful striking, which he was renowned for in the UK.

Manuwa explained during his appearance on BT Sport, "I got the call about three days ago from my manager, and he put the fight to me.”

“I spoke to my coaches and everything, and we decided to accept the fight, so I’d like to confirm the rumours are all true, and I’ll be kicking off the first of six fights in Europe next year in my hometown of London."

Gustafsson, though, will be by far the most skilled opponent he has come across. The Mauler is already the heavy favourite, and most, if not all, expect him to come through the bout unscathed and be next in line for another shot at Jon Jones.

UFC Fight Night in London is scheduled for March 8 and will also feature the rematch between Ross Pearson and Melvin Guillard after their first bout ended in a no contest due to a knee to a downed opponent from Guillard.