UFC Fight Night: A closer look at Manuwa vs. Rakic

This weekend in UFC Stockholm, Swedish fans are being treated to a card stacked with important matchups in the light heavyweight division.

One man, who may need a win more than anybody, is the UK’s own Jimi Manuwa. One of the best fighters these shores have produced, Manuwa takes to the octagon once again against Aleksandr Rakic.

Manuwa, who only started training in his late twenties, has arguably overachieved in the sport, given his late start in the game. After putting together an 11-0 record, he signed with the UFC. He then won his first three fights before everything went disastrously wrong in a headline bout in his home town.

The man who headlines this weekend, Alexander Gustaffson, knocked Manuwa out within two minutes of the first round. It was a devastating defeat, but Manuwa returned with an excellent performance against Jan Blachowicz.

Unfortunately for the Brit, in his next outing, he was once again the victim of a knockout in a defeat against Anthony Johnson. It was after this defeat that he would emerge as a real threat in the division, with two one-punch knockout victories against Ovince St. Preux and Corey Anderson. His knockout power made him a real danger to the division’s elite.

Manuwa had a title shot almost in the bag. At UFC 214, he fought on the undercard of the Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones rematch, and was ready to step in to fight for the world title if one of the two men was unable to make it to the Octagon.

However, Manuwa was met with the cruel reality of the sport once again. In just forty-two seconds, Volkan Oezdemir ended the Briton’s title campaign. This would end up being the beginning of a slide for the Brit, as after two very good fights, he was sadly the loser on both occasions — once on points in a rematch with Jan Blachowicz, and once via stoppage to Thiago Santos.

It goes without saying that if Manuwa still has ambitions of making it to the pinnacle of the sport, he absolutely must win this weekend, as it will be almost impossible to bounce back from four defeats on the spin.

The man who will be looking to inflict what would be a devastating defeat to Manuwa is the Austrian Aleksandr Rakic. A veteran of over forty kick boxing bouts before his transition to MMA, Rakic certainly comes in as a real threat.

With his only career defeat coming on his debut, he has been unstoppable since then. After amassing a 9-1 record, he signed with the UFC. All three of his fights in the promotion have gone his way and he’ll be looking for a career best victory this Saturday in Stockholm.

In a big light heavyweight fight this weekend, one of the best fighters in British MMA history will be looking to relaunch his charge towards a world title, whilst another fighter intends on announcing himself on the big stage. Two men who are both renowned for their striking are set to put on a war which should set Stockholm alight.

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