UFC Fight Night 37 Results: Real Winners and Losers from Gustafsson vs. Manuwa
UFC Fight Night 37 came to us from London with a nine-fight card on Saturday afternoon.
Alexander Gustafsson squared off with Jimi Manuwa in the evening's main event. The Swede took Manuwa down early in the first round, and he tried working for submissions but was unable to find one. Manuwa survived the first with quality submission defense.
Early in the second round, Gustafsson got the finish. A knee followed by a slew of punches was enough to convince the referee to stop the violence. "The Mauler" now awaits the winner of Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira.
The co-main event failed to deliver. Melvin Guillard was gun-shy against Michael Johnson and allowed the lightweight to easily take a decision. The fight was supposed to be an all-out battle between two of the most exciting lightweights, but only one showed up to fight.
In other main card action, Brad Pickett made a successful flyweight debut over Neil Seery. Pickett will enter the title mix, but Seery impressed in a losing effort. Also, Gunnar Nelson returned to the Octagon in peak form with a first-round submission over Omari Akhmedov.
Capping off the five-fight preliminary card, Ilir Latifi submitted Cyrille Diabate in what will be the latter's final MMA bout.
From the first fight to the last, UFC Fight Night 37 delivered many talking points.
Here are the real winners and losers from the latest UFC card in London.
Winner: Louis Gaudinot
Louis Gaudinot entered UFC Fight Night 37 just outside of the Top 10, and his performance Saturday should see the talented flyweight jump up in the rankings this coming week.
All he needed was 1:13 to dispatch Phil Harris.
He locked in a tight guillotine choke, rolled into mount with it and forced the tap from Harris.
Gaudinot is now 2-1 in the flyweight division, with his lone loss coming to No. 8-ranked Tim Elliott by decision. If he can put together another performance like this one on Saturday, we will begin to talk about him being in the mix at 125.
This was the type of performance both he and the UFC needed in 2014. After many decisions, the UFC got an exciting finish to open the show, and Gaudinot got back on the winning track in memorable fashion.
Losers: Igor Araujo and Danny Mitchell
Igor Araujo and Danny Mitchell fought to a decision, and all in all it was an OK fight. However, the ending to the bout was interesting, to say the least.
On the ground, they tried to throw strikes that looked like a child's pitty-pat fight on the playground.
As Fox Sports' Damon Martin tweeted, "That exchange at the end of the fight reminded me of the battles I had with my older sister when I was like six."
That sums up the ending to the bout. When the most memorable moment is a slap fight, you should probably hang your head in shame.
Loser: Claudio Henrique Da Silva's Nether Regions
Poor Claudio Henrique da Silva.
In the second round of his fight against Brad Scott, he got pelted below the belt multiple times, and the referee was fine with it.
How the ref missed the low blows I do not know, but he let the fight continue without a stoppage to allow da Silva to recover from the illegal blows. Scott had an opportunity to pounce, but either due to sportsmanship or confusion he did not.
Da Silva will need an ice pack down his trunks for quite some time, but at least he got the win.
Winner: Luke Barnatt
Luke Barnatt defeated Mats Nilsson by TKO in the first round in front of a raucous crowd.
The win moved his overall record to 8-0 and 3-0 in the UFC. Coming off The Ultimate Fighter, he seemed to have good upside, and now he is realizing his potential. The UFC matchmaking has served him well thus far.
The 25-year-old has a well-rounded game. Barnatt is a quality addition to the middleweight division and a skilled Brit to have on the roster.
If he can continue to put on exciting bouts under the UFC banner, he will get more and more fans on his side. He is slowly inching his way up the middleweight ladder, but there is no need to throw him to the wolves just yet.
Saturday showed that The Ultimate Fighter is not done producing talented prospects.
Winners: Ilir Latifi and Cyrille Diabate
The last fight of the preliminary card gave us two winners, but for very different reasons.
Ilir Latifi is a winner because of his strong submission finish. He got a hold of Cyrille Diabate's neck and cranked until he got the tap.
Latifi's strength was on display in the choke. He sank it in early enough that sweat was no issue. Diabate had nowhere to go.
So why is Diabate a winner? He is leaving the sport on his own terms.
Prior to the bout, he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts, per MMA Junkie. While Diabate was never a contender in the division, he provided several quality outings with his crisp striking. He was a serviceable fighter who could provide entertainment for all of us.
Nothing but well wishes for "The Snake" in his future endeavors.
Winner: Gunnar Nelson
Gunnar Nelson returned to the UFC in emphatic fashion.
He came through with a flawless dominant performance. He got Omari Akhmedov on the mat, passed his guard, did damage with elbows and eventually got the choke.
This was an important win, not just because he was returning from a long layoff, but because he was returning from a knee injury and a car crash. He overcame a lot to return to action, and he looked in top form Saturday.
Nelson's ground game is what put him on the map. He continued to show just how good he is on the canvas.
Losers: Flyweight Contenders
Flyweights, meet Brad Pickett.
He made a successful debut at 125 pounds, and he will soon be right in the mix at flyweight. This is bad news for fellow contenders who were hoping to get a title shot later this year or in early 2015.
The performance from "One Punch" was not as dominating as many expected, but he put in the work and got the victory. That will thrust him up the flyweight rankings.
Why? He brings in three key qualities: He's exciting, has some name value and defeated Demetrious Johnson.
Those three factors will make him a solid choice for a title shot with just one win over a top-tier flyweight. That is not the news many in the division wanted to hear.
Pickett's inclusion in the division makes it a tougher road to the gold. He will have his eyes set on a rematch with Johnson, and the champion would surely like to exact a little revenge for one of his two career losses.
Loser: Melvin Guillard
In the future, someone will pen a lengthy article titled "The Curious Case of Melvin Guillard."
He is a supremely talented fighter with rare athletic gifts, but he has never been able to put it all together to become a legitimate threat in the lightweight division.
Guillard was content to lie back against Michael Johnson and play the role of a counterstriker who was up big on the scorecards. The problem was that nothing in the fight should have given him that sort of feeling. He may not have won the fight otherwise, but his game plan certainly handed the win to Johnson on a silver platter.
The longtime UFC vet tumbles back down the lightweight ladder once more.
Credit goes to Johnson for taking the fight to Guillard and winning the fight, but "The Young Assassin" just never put forth the effort that showed he wanted to win the fight. He was passive from bell to bell.
It was frustrating to watch—just like the majority of his career.
Winner: Alexander Gustafsson
Some might call the No. 1-ranked light heavyweight a loser for even being on a UFC Fight Pass card, but he has bigger goals ahead of him. That is why he is a winner at UFC Fight Night 37.
Gustafsson came through in a big way with his second-round TKO win. He put a stamp on the fight and a stamp on his resume for being the next in line for the title.
The win over Jimi Manuwa puts him in the driver's seat for the next title shot at 205 pounds. As he mentioned in both the post-fight interview and on Twitter, he wants the title shot, and that is what he will most likely get. "I want my title shot," Gustafsson tweeted. "Whenever you want!"
If Jon Jones gets past Glover Teixeira later this year, we will get to see one of the most anticipated title rematches in recent memory.
Their battle in 2013 was the Fight of the Year. Gustafsson's defeat of Manuwa is the first piece of the puzzle to making the second bout happen.
The Swede picked up the win to put himself in the catbird seat. Fight Pass or not, that makes him a winner.
When he challenges for the title, it will be on pay-per-view, and the fact he was put on this card will long be forgotten. Gustafsson is headed for bigger and better things.
Winner: UFC Fight Pass Subscribers
The UFC's online network has received its share of negative reactions on social media, but it is hard to say that the subscribers of the service are not winners.
For just $9.99, we have gotten two enjoyable fight cards. No, they were not lined top to bottom with the sport's top stars, but no one expected that. That would be a pipe dream. However, we did get fun fights.
The stream is stable and in good quality. Each live stream, the first from Macao and this one from London, has been impeccable.
Is there a better way to spend a weekend morning and afternoon? I can't think of one.
Subscribers of the service are fight fans. The UFC gives us fights. It is as simple as that. It is a win. $9.99 is not a high price to pay for the action we have gotten just eight days into the first month of the service. In fact, it seems like a steal.
UFC Fight Pass subscribers have to feel like winners after a second successful event on the service.