The Great Debate: Anderson vs Manuwa

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Hello fight fans, it’s that time again. This week defending champ Zak Katine takes on Keith Shillan in our Great Debate segment. They will debating the Corey Anderson (HM) vs Jimi Manuwa (#7) fight this Saturday in London. Our two participants have very different writing styles, just as our fighters have very different styles. Let’s hear what they have to say.

Why Corey Anderson will win: (Written by Keith)

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Zak has been the Great Debate champion for a few weeks now, but it is my turn to hold the title. I have been waiting on the sidelines to get my chance, and now I get the perfect matchup to win the crown. This is the closest striker vs grappler matchup we have had in a really long time.

I know everything that Zak is going to say about Manuwa (or should say). Manuwa is the better athlete. He is the much better striker with serious power. He likes to dig hooks to the body, and his best weapon is his powerful leg kicks. With all those skills, he gets another boost by the hometown crowd on his side.

All that said, I actually expect Anderson to win; fairly easily. Anderson is simply a bad matchup for Manuwa. Anderson is 27 years old, Manuwa is 37. Anderson should be just entering his prime, and Manuwa could be entering the end. Manuwa is known for his explosive moments. However at 37 years old, guys get slow quickly. If father time has caught up to him at the slightest bit, many of his skills won’t be effective.

I doubt that Manuwa will kick much (which might be his best weapon), because he will be scared of Anderson’s takedown game. That would make Manuwa’s striking very limited. Anderson is a pretty underrated striker himself. He doesn’t have much power, but he is a good volume striker. He works behind a nice jab, and will land his cross often. He uses this to get to the clinch or drop down on his opponent’s legs. Inside the clinch, he works good knees and uppercuts, and also has nice trips.

I saved the best part of Anderson’s game to the end. He is very good at closing the distance with his double or single leg takedowns. He is also good at transition between different angles to get the takedowns, similar to his teammate Frankie Edgar. So even if your stuff his initial takedown attempt, he cuts a corner and still gets the takedown. Manuwa has never faced a wrestler at Anderson’s level, who also has a strong gas tank to aid his pressuring attack.

The only thing I am worried about is Manuwa landing the perfect shot. He has never been a high volume striker. He usually is very patient, waiting and plotting to land the power shot. Anderson’s chin has been an issue in the past as Mauricio Rua, Tom Lawler, and Gian Villante have all dropped him with a strike. However, I expect the NCAA wrestler and Ultimate Fighter Season 19 winner to out grapple Manuwa and land shots while on top.

Prediction: Anderson by late 3rd round TKO from ground and pound.

Why Jimi Manuwa Beats Corey Anderson: (Written by Zak)

I am not sold on Corey Anderson. He is a good wrestler, but his stand up is mediocre. This is a classic matchup of striker vs grappler; and I think the striker is the better fighter of the two.

Manuwa is a killer with 16 wins (15 of them finishes) his only 2 losses were to Alexander Gustafason and Anthony Johnson. They are two of the elite light heavyweights. Corey Anderson is 10-2 with losses coming against Shogun Rua and Gian Villante. He was also hurt in a fight with Tom Lawler, although he did come out on top. Manuwa has the more impressive resume here.

Manuwa has not only fought stiffer competition, but he is older. I think this is actually an advantage for him as he has much more experience. If Manuwa can stuff some of Anderson’s takedowns, which I think he can, he will pick Anderson apart. This makes for a long night for Anderson. On the feet, Anderson doesn’t pose much of a threat for Manuwa, the superior striker.

I see Manuwa stuffing some takedowns in round 1, then starting to unload on Anderson towards the end of the round. In the second round, Manuwa will come out aggressive smelling blood and finish it off propelling him into the top 5 of the LHW division.

Prediction: Manuwa by 2nd round KO/TKO

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