The world of MMA breeds new opportunities around each corner. Fighters are constantly signing with new promotions, which leads to fighters making their debut. Trying to stay at the top of the MMA world, the UFC is always attempting to acquire the new top prospect. This Saturday at UFC on Fuel TV 5, there will be three fighters making their official debut with the promotion.

Hailing from Iceland, Gunnar Nelson comes in to face DaMarques Johnson. Originally, Nelson was to fight Pascal Krauss; however, the Nelson’s opponent was changed to Johnson after Krauss suffered a training injury. Somewhere in between Krauss and Johnson was a rumor of Nelson fighting Rich Attonito, which quite frankly had to have Nelson’s head spinning at one point. But in the injury riddled world of MMA, “Gunni” has to simply power through. He holds a professional record of 9-0-1 and holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu, which has carried over to his mixed martial arts career, where he has six victories by submission.

Light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa will enter the cage with a perfect record of 11-0. Born in Nigeria, Manuwa is the former UCMMA light heavyweight champion and successfully defended the title five times. One thing’s for sure, and that is that the “Poster Boy” is more than willing to stand and bang. Of those 11 victories, ten have come by knockout. It is well known that Englishmen like to throw the leather, and that is one ideal that Manuwa has swallowed up in his time spent training in England.

BAMMA middleweight champion Tom “Kong” Watson has the most experience of the three newcomers with a record of 15-4. While he is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, Watson is the lone newcomer who has a loss on his record. However, not only does he have more wins than both Nelson and Manuwa, he has a better history of opponents. Kong has defeated Pride veteran Murilo “Ninja” Rua, UFC veteran Matt Horwich and current UFC fighter John Maguire among others.

When you look at their respective matchups, these three fighters have a solid chance of exiting the Octagon with a victory on Saturday night. Nelson is taking on Johnson, who is riding a two-fight losing streak and has gone 4-5 in his time in the UFC. Kyle Kingsbury will take on Manuwa. Not to compare “Poster Boy” to Glover Teixeira, but Kingsbury has been exposed to strikers like Manuwa.

Even though he has the hardest matchup ahead of him, Watson has the potential to make the most noise in his career with the UFC. As previously highlighted, he has definitely faced the toughest competition of the three fighters. Not only that, but Watson has felt the agony of defeat in his career. Often times, athletes who only win tend to have their dominance go to their head and they may not train as hard as they had in the past. The losses that Kong has had in his career have humbled him to the point where he has gotten back into the gym to train harder for the next fight.

While all three guys have the chance to enter the promotion with a bang, look for one to stand out further than the rest as their UFC fights are scheduled down the road. And that one will be Tom Watson.

Photo: Jimi Manuwa (top) rains punches (Mark Obstfeld/Sherdog)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.