You have to feel sorry for Jimi Manuwa and Volkan Oezdemir; both are excellent fighters who have worked their way to the top of the sport of mixed martial arts, yet their fight at UFC 214 has gone completely under the radar.
They are set to open the main card on the night and the light heavyweight fight between the two is set to be explosive. Nonetheless, most fans only want to discuss one light heavyweight fight at the moment and that is the bout between Jon ‘Bones’ Jones and Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier.
What fight fans are forgetting though is that the winner of this interesting match-up could be the next man to fight for the title. Who they’ll be fighting however, won’t be clear until after the main event at UFC 214.
Jimi Manuwa’s form
Poster Boy Jimi Manuwa is coming off the back of two very impressive wins. At UFC Fight Night 107 he knocked out the always dangerous Corey Anderson in the first round. Prior to that he completely outclassed Ovince St. Preux with a second round KO.
His last defeat came all the way back in 2015 against Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson. Since that loss he has looked like a different fighter and the English man will be hoping to prove that against the very formidable Volkan Oezdemir.
Volkan Oezdemir’s form
Swizz fighter, Oezdemir, has only lost once in his MMA career and he is unbeaten in his UFC career thus far. In his two bouts inside the octagon, Oezdemir has knocked out Misha Cirkunov and got a decision victory over Ovince St. Preux.
His last loss came in 2014 against Kelly Anundson when he was submitted in the second round. He will have to show more fight intelligence than he did that night if he is to defeat Jimi Manuwa.
Manuwa is one of the brightest fighters out there and he will try to dictate the pace of this bout, so Oezdemir will have to counteract that with an aggressive offence.
In the lead up to this fight, Jimi Manuwa made his feelings towards light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier clear. In an interview with MMA-Panelen, he said: “F**k Daniel Cormier. He’s a f**king fat wrestler and I don’t really give a s**t what he says. Everyone says he’s a nice guy but I don’t really like him. He seems to me like a bully and I don’t like bullies.
“He’s got the belt, he’s a great fighter and everything. I respect him for that but as a person I don’t really like him. I don’t like his attitude towards other fighters. He kind of looks down on people and stuff. So I don’t really respect him and I don’t believe he will get out of round two with me” he added.
Many believe that Manuwa should be more focussed on his own match-up, rather than mouthing off against Cormier. It will be interesting to see whether or not he has his eyes on the game when he faces off against Oezdemir on July 29th.
When facing elite fighters, you have to be completely focussed on the task ahead. Jimi Manuwa comments to the press prior to the fight suggest that he is looking past his opponent and onto the next bout.
That is why we are backing Oezdemir at a price 6/4. We think he is the more focussed fighter and we envisage him getting the win here.