The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the biggest Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion in the world, returned to London on Saturday in a sold-out evening of excitement and brutality with Croydon resident Jimi ‘Posterboy’ Manuwa headlining the event.
Ranked fourth in the UFC Light Heavyweight division, Manuwa took on American Corey Anderson ranked seventh in a five-round fight, with Manuwa finishing the fight with a stunning knockout in the first round.
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The Croydon fighter, whose record now stands at 17 wins to two losses had been the focal point of the event, as the UFC look to create another British superstar, along with current UFC Middleweight Champion, Manchester-born, Michael Bisping.
After the fight, Manuwa challenged the winner of the clash between current champion Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson, saying: “It’s time for a title shot now”.
MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with a huge market in the USA and Japan. This was the fourth British event since 2016 as the UFC continues its campaign to break into the UK market.
The event also featured Bethnal Green-born, Brad ‘One-Punch’ Pickett, in the final fight of his long and illustrious career, which spanned 13 years.
Pickett, a UFC fan favourite, finished his career with a defeat, leaving the crowd and Pickett stunned and emotional.
Pickett was knocked out with 70 seconds of his career left and was on track to win the fight by judges’ decision. The crowd was devastated, jeering towards his opponent Marlon Vera who, in their eyes, had spoiled the party.
After the clash, an emotional Pickett was quick to thank the fans. “You guys mean the world to me,” he said. “Now it’s time to spend some time with my family.”
The event comes just after UFC announced another event in Glasgow as part of their attempt to expand MMA in the UK.
For the full results and fight card, visit www.UFC.com