On Saturday, March 8, the UFC hosted UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa from the O2 Arena in London.

In the night’s main event, former light heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson looked to earn another crack at current champion Jon Jones when he took on undefeated Englishman, Jimi Manuwa. Gustafsson had been out of action since a controversial decision loss to Jones at UFC 165 in September. The lanky Swede saw a six-fight winning streak snapped with the defeat. The 34-year-old Manuwa, meanwhile, looked to continue his ascension up the 205-pound ladder. All 14 of Manuwa’s career wins had come by stoppage, including his last three inside the Octagon.

The co-main event featured a lightweight clash between hard-hitting Melvin Guillard and Ultimate Fighter runner-up Michael Johnson. Guillard was aiming to put his no-contest against Ross Pearson in October in his rear-view mirror, while Johnson was trying to extend his current winning streak to three after besting Joe Lauzon and Gleison Tibau in the second half of last year.

Also on the main card, England’s Brad Pickett moved to flyweight to welcome Neil Seery to the promotion and grappling ace Gunnar Nelson met Omari Akhmedov.

The entire event streamed live via the promotion’s digital network, UFC Fight Pass. The preliminary card kicked off at 12:55 p.m. ET, with the main card following at 3 p.m. ET.

Gustafsson turns out the lights on Manuwa

Former UFC title challenger Alexander Gustafsson got back in the win column, stopping England’s Jimi Manuwa with a violent, second-round TKO.

Manuwa scored with a jab to open the bout, but Gustafsson fired back with a punch-kick combination. Manuwa moved forward and Gustafsson ducked under for a takedown. The lanky Swede worked from the half guard, attacking the left arm of Manuwa. Manuwa did not panic and recovered his guard before powering back to his feet. The Brit scored with a big knee late in the frame.

In the second stanza, the pair opened up on the feet. Manuwa just missed with a big overhand right that allowed Gustafsson to lock on the clinch. Gustafsson delivered a massive knee flush to Manuwa’s chin that put the Brit on rubber legs. A follow-up uppercut and straight right sent Manuwa crashing to the mat.

Johnson outworks Guillard

Lightweight Michael Johnson continued his march up the 155-pound ladder, earning a unanimous decision nod over former Blackzilians teammate Melvin Guillard.

Johnson quickly took the center of the cage and fired off multiple kicks. Guillard scored with a counter knee, but Johnson continued to move forward. The pressure of Johnson kept Guillard with his back to the cage, but neither fighter really opened up. Guillard scored with an uppercut that stunned Johnson and forced him to shoot. Guillard used a whizzer to keep upright and delivered a knee as the round closed.

The forward advance of Johnson slowed a bit in round two. Both fighters looked to land counter strikes, which slowed the pace and prompted boos from the London crowd. Late in the round, Johnson pinned Guillard against the fence and unleashed a big combination. Guillard ate three straight left hands and a knee that buckled his knees for a moment, but Johnson did not find a finish.

In the final frame, Guillard pushed the action. A wild flurry allowed Johnson to get in on a takedown and plant Guillard on the canvas. It was short-lived as Guillard worked back to his feet. Johnson’s pressure returned late in the fight, unloading on Guillard with left hands along the fence.

Pickett edges Seery in entertaining affair

In his flyweight debut, England’s Brad Pickett used his wrestling to overcome the boxing prowess of Ireland’s Neil Seery and earn a unanimous decision victory.

The pair exchanged early with both fighters landing solid shots. Seery accidentally poked Pickett in the eye and the fight was interrupted briefly. When the action resumed, Pickett scored a takedown along the cage. Pickett passed to half guard and attacked with an arm-triangle choke, but Seery managed to escape. The Irishman worked back to his feet as the round came to a close.

In the second round, Pickett pressed forward, but it was Seery getting the better of the stand-up exchanges. Seery scored with counter left hooks every time Pickett moved into the pocket. Pickett worked hard for a takedown and scored a big one with two minutes left in the round. Seery tried to get back to his feet, but could not do so before the round ended.

The punching exchanges in round three again swung in favor of Seery. He repeatedly delivered a counter cross-hook combination that forced Pickett to take the fight to the mat once again. Pickett worked to pass to side control, but Seery did a good job to retain half guard and get back to his feet. Pickett took Seery for one final ride to seal the fight on the scorecards.

Nelson chokes out Akhmedov

Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson kept his record unblemished, submitting Russian welterweight Omari Akhmedov by first-round guillotine choke.

Nelson stalked Akhmedov to begin the contest. The Icelandic fighter delivered a left hand that stunned Akhmedov and Nelson put him on the ground. Nelson quickly moved to the mount and dropped elbows from the top position. Akhmedov bled from a big cut under his left eye and he allowed Nelson to latch onto his neck. Nelson pulled guard and forced the Russian to tap to the guillotine.

Preliminary Card Summary

Sweden’s Ilir Latifi picked up his first UFC win, defeating Frenchman Cyrille Diabate with a first-round submission. In the light heavyweight battle, Latifi earned a takedown and immediately began working for a choke. Diabate tried to get back to his feet, but Latifi bullied him against the cage and wrenched hard on his neck. The pressure was too much for Diabate who was forced to tap.

British middleweight Luke Barnatt kept his perfect record intact with a first-round TKO over Swedish newcomer Mats Nilsson. Barnatt used his range well to kick off the bout, landing jab after jab on Nilsson’s right eye. Late in the opening round, Barnatt landed a left head kick that hurt Nilsson. The Brit flurried along the cage and referee was forced to halt the bout.

Brazilian Claudio Henrique da Silva was successful in his promotional debut, edging out TUF: Smashes runner-up Brad Scott on the scorecards. Silva controlled the first round, scoring a takedown and preventing Scott from mounting much offense. The middle stanza saw Scott keep the fight upright and land heavy shots. Silva bounced back in the final frame, again bringing the fight to the mat and earning the decision win.

TUF alum Igor Araujo used strong top control to best Octagon newcomer Danny Mitchell by unanimous decision. The Brazilian welterweight was able to keep his British foe on his back for most of the contest, and nearly ended the contest with a triangle choke in the third round.

Flyweight Louis Gaudinot got back in the win column, submitting England’s Phil Harris by first-round guillotine choke. Harris worked hard for a takedown in the opening minute of the fight, but left his neck exposed and Gaudinot quickly locked on the fight-finishing submission.

FULL RESULTS
Alexander Gustafsson def. Jimi Manuwa by TKO (knee and punches). Round 2, 1:18
Michael Johnson def. Melvin Guillard by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Brad Pickett def. Neil Seery by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Gunnar Nelson def. Omari Akhmedov by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 4:36
Ilir Latifi def. Cyrille Diabate by submission (neck crank). Round 1, 3:02
Luke Barnatt def. Mats Nilsson by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:24
Claudio Henrique da Silva def. Brad Scott by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Igor Araujo def. Danny Mitchell by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Louis Gaudinot def. Phil Harris by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 1:13