Saturday’s UFC Fight Night from London can be summed up with two words: One Punch.
The One Punch theme presented itself early in the night when, in the third preliminary bout of the night, Marc Diakiese delivered a stunning single blow that knocked out Teemu Packalen cold just 30 seconds into their bout. A straight right hand the jaw sent Packalen teetering to the mat and no follow up was needed. The “Bonecrusher” improved to 12-0 with his three most recent wins being under the UFC banner.
Another One Punch was the final fight for Brad “One Punch” Pickett, who retired as promised following an entertaining back and forth fight with late notice replacement Marlon Vera. Pickett was ahead on the judges’ scorecards when the fight was stopped after a head kick from Vera put Pickett on his back. Vera followed up with two hammer fists on the ground and the fight was stopped with just over a minute remaining. Pickett protested the stoppage and likely would have won the fight had he held on for that final minute, but the reality is he was not defending the strikes on the ground after already being knocked down with a head kick so the stoppage was just.
The final and probably most devastating One Punch of the night belonged to main event winner Jimi Manuwa who lived up the hype he developed after knocking out Ovince Saint-Preux last year by making short work of grinder Corey Anderson. Manuwa landed just six strikes in the entirety of the three-minute fight and the last one was a crushing left hook that had Anderson on wobbly knees and then falling stiffly to the mat. Again, the fight was stopped without the need for follow-up strikes. Manuwa was quick to call out the winner of next month’s UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson.
In a game of inches, one punch or kick is all it takes to create a new contender or end a career.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Yesterday’s show was a fun one, with some good finishes on both the main card and the prelims. Manuwa’s knockout really impressed me as I thought his win over OSP was, while not exactly a fluke, not something he could duplicate consistently against other top light heavyweights. If Anthony Johnson beats Daniel Cormier next month, a fight between he and Manuwa would be a natural and an easy sell with two scary knockout artists going at it. It seems early for Manuwa to be getting a title shot, but Light Heavyweight is a shallow division right now so Manuwa has to be part of the conversation.
I thought the Pickett stoppage was a good one even though he bounced right back up when the fight was stopped. He took two clean shots on the ground that probably woke him back up after the head kick and further punishment would only harm Pickett as he moves to retirement.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Performance bonuses from yesterday’s show went to Jimi Manuwa, Gunnar Nelson, Marlon Vera, and Marc Diakiese for their stoppage victories.
-Despite criticism towards the star power of the main event, the event drew 15,761 fans to the O2 Arena in London with a gate of $2.02 million.
-Jimi Manuwa said at the post-fight press conference that he’s not interested in fighting Jon Jones because “he’s been banned for steroids,” and is focused on getting a title shot against either Daniel Cormier or Anthony Johnson.
-Jacare Souza told reporters in Brazil that he’d be content to retire from fighting if he “gets full of it” and doesn’t get what he feels is a deserved title shot. “I can teach. I have this leverage,” he said. “And I’m sure, I’ll have a lot of students. Do the math, 400 students training with me.”
-World Series of Fighting held an event last night in Verona, New York. Main card results saw Bekbulat Magomedov defeat Donavon Frelow by unanimous decision to win the vacant WSOF Bantamweight Championship, Andre Harrison defeat Lance Palmer by unanimous decision to become Featherweight Champion, and Blagoy Ivanov retain his heavyweight championship over Shawn Jordan by first round TKO.
-Cynthia Calvillo vs. Pearl Gonzalez has been added to UFC 210 on April 8 from Buffalo.
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(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)