AKA’s Kyle Kingsbury showed his durability to exit the first round still connect to his senses opposite Jimi Manuwa, long Britain’s top light heavyweight prospect. Despite fending off a guillotine for the first half of the round, Manuwa came with a vicious striking attack in reply, first with a left that staggered Kingsbury and dropping him again later in the round.
Extra knees and kicks only worsened a large haematoma above ‘Kingsbu’s left eye through the second, eventually causing the ringside doctor to call off the contest before the start of the third round. Manuwa extends his undefeated streak to 12.
UK fan favourite and TUF: Live graduate Andy Ogle dropped a split decision to Sweden’s Akira Corassani earlier in the evening. Both men, each making their UFC debuts, were cagey in the early going, though both found shots to drop the other in the first.
The featherweights found their range, by the second, leaping into the pocket to exchange on numerous occasions. However it was a Corassani right hand that dropped Ogle fractions after the bell that punctuated the period. And despite working strikes to the head of a turtled Corassani through much of the third, it was the Swede who took the split decision.
Great British hope Tom Watson fell to the smart gameplan of Las Vegas-based Brad Tavares in the evening’s third contest. It was the Ray Sefo-trained TUF alum who dictated the majority of both the stand-up and the ground work, taking Watson down with little trouble as the fight progressed, although the Brit was quick to find his feet in the early going.
Both men threw hard throughout, each having their own successes finding the other’s chin. Middleweight ‘Kong’ Watson, who entered wearing his trademark gorilla mask much to the delight of UK crowd, could not faze Tavares with his kick-based attack however, and ultimately dropped a split decision after three rounds.
A career spent largely training and fighting in the UK meant a deafening roar greeted Gunnar Nelson’s fight-winning, round-one rear naked choke over late-replacement DaMarques Johnson. The Renzo Gracie black belt and UFC debutant, who admitted “there’s always nerves for any fight,” survived early omoplata and toehold scares after taking the bout to the floor early in round one.
Outweighed by over 5lb even after agreeing on a 175lb catchweight, Icelander Nelson soon took his heavier opponent’s back, sinking in the rear naked choke with a little less than 90 seconds left in the round.
The evening’s opening bout was quick to silence to Capital FM Arena crowd, when America’s Robbie Peralta stopped Britain’s Jason Young at just 23 seconds of the opening round. A mid-flurry Peralta right hand sent the ATT product to the canvas where follow-up ground ‘n’ pound ended ‘Shotgun’s night.
Jimi Manuwa def. Kyle Kingsbury, TKO (Doctor Stoppage), 5:00, Rd 2
Akira Corassani def. Andy Ogle, Split Decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Brad Tavares def. Tom Watson, Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28), Rd 3
Gunnar Nelson def. DaMarques Johnson, Rear Naked Choke, 3:34, Rd 1
Robbie Peralta def. Jason Young, KO, 0:23, Rd 1