UFC Fight Night 37: 5 Reasons to Watch

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2014

UFC Fight Night 37: 5 Reasons to Watch

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    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

    The UFC's return to the United Kingdom is quickly drawing near, as UFC Fight Night 37 comes to you live Saturday. Exclusively on Fight Pass, this card hosts 10 fights with local talent and big stars which should make this a fun one.

    Former UFC Light Heavyweight Championship contender Alexander Gustafsson headlines opposite hard-hitting Jimi Manuwa in a matchup of Sweden vs. the UK. Both are considered top light heavyweights in the world, though this is Manuwa's first big step up into the limelight.

    If you have Fight Pass, this represents the second week in a row that the UFC has put on an exclusive card like this. So, here are five reasons to tune in to this fight card.

Title Shot No. 2 or Rise of a Star?

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Gustafsson gave Jon Jones the closest fight of his career. In fact, he came extremely close to ripping Jones's title away from him.

    Now, he's on the road back to the title. The Swede has shown great improvement in his wrestling which complements his already polished boxing ability.

    However, he has no easy task in beating UK power striker Manuwa. He is 3-0, earning three TKOs without actually having to earn the actual knockout. By that, I mean he forced the doctor to stop his bout against Kyle Kingsbury, had Cyrille Diabate quit on the stool and forced an injury on Ryan Jimmo.

    He's a scary striker, so Gustafsson must proceed with caution and use his length well. Will Gustafsson elevate himself back into the title picture, or will Manuwa be shot into stardom with a win over this tough opponent?

The Return of Gunnar

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    When it comes to prospects in the sport of MMA, none have garnered as much interest or intrigue than Gunnar Nelson in the UFC. The welterweight prodigy is a guy that most people have pegged as a future contender.

    However, injuries and other reasons have kept Nelson to just two Octagon outings since his debut in September 2012. That has kept fans eagerly awaiting his breakout since his only wins have come over DaMarques Johnson and Jorge Santiago.

    His striking is underrated, but his jiu-jitsu skills are the crowning piece of his arsenal. He takes on a sambo guy in Omari Akhmedov who is powerful and looks to knock heads off of shoulders.

    A win for Nelson would send him to the next level. Fans who love good, technical fighters should tune in to watch this Icelandic prospect.

Raucous UK Crowd

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    We always here about how crazy and fun the Brazilian crowds are, but when it comes to a cool crowd, the UK always makes the fights more interesting.

    The crowd is educated and attentive. They will call out for knees when a fighter is in position and let fighters know when they are not being entertained.

    Crowds can make fights more exciting. Since that's the case, expect some excitement this weekend.

Pickett's Charge at Flyweight Begins

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    Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    To say Brad Pickett has a nice run at bantamweight would be an understatement. The guy was consistently top 10 and fought the best the division had to offer.

    He now starts a new journey at 125.

    How the weight cut affects Pickett will really show in the fight, as Pickett is usually a high-volume striker with a solid ground game. A successful weight cut could make him a contender at 125.

    Just take a look at Pickett's resume. He has a win over now-champ Demetrious Johnson, a blistering knockout of Yves Jabouin and a hard-fought win over Mike Easton.

    If he can translate well down to 125, he makes a suddenly deep division all the more deep.

Interesting Undercard Newcomers

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    Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    These Fight Pass cards feature a ton of newcomers who are looking to strike it big in the UFC. This card is no different.

    There are four men making their UFC debuts on this card—three of which are on the prelims. The only one on the main card, Neil Seery, is an interesting prospect and former Cage Warriors champion, but he is being thrown to the lions against Pickett.

    As for the three men on the undercard, all of them are intriguing fighters that have a bright future. Those men are British submission fighter Danny Mitchell, Brazilian grappler Claudio Henrique and Swedish prospect Mats Nilsson.

    Mitchell takes on Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Igor Araujo in a tough matchup. Most of Mitchell's work is done on the ground, but it will be tough against a more experienced guy like Araujo. Mitchell is a good prospect with a tough first draw.

    Henrique is a UK-based Brazilian on a big winning streak. He most recently won at Super Fight League, where he outgrappled Xavier Foupa-Pokam to a decision. He is an interesting prospect in a middleweight division needing a little more depth.

    Nilsson is one of Sweden's best prospects, but he gets a tough draw in Luke Barnatt. Barnatt is a striker with great length and height which will be tough for Nilsson to figure out. He has been in the cage with guys like Tor Troeng and Tom Speer, the latter of whom Nilsson has beat.

    These prospects were good signings and will get a chance to prove themselves Saturday.