Opening up the main card of UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2 in Anaheim, California on Saturday was a light heavyweight showdown between British slugger Jimi Manuwa and rising star Volkan Oezdemir. Manuwa was widely expected to be the next man to fight for gold at 205lbs, but would first have to dispatch of Oezdemir, who had the opportunity to jump into the title picture with a win.
While Manuwa was originally inserted on the UFC 214 card as an insurance policy should Jon Jones be removed for some reason, this fight had an allure all its own. Rarely had light heavyweight had any bright spots in recent memory (and the UFC lost one with the departure of Nikita Krylov); in Volkan Oezdemir, they had a potential injection of fresh blood. Manuwa represented a good test for the newcomer, and could easily be granted the next title shot with a strong performance, as only Alexander Gustafsson is really in the conversation regarding 205lb title shots.
Oezdemir opened the action with a leg kick; a quick exchange and the pair clinched. Manuwa muscled his opponent to the fence. Oezdemir then landed an uppercut followed by a left behind the ear in the clinch, pushed his opponent off and attacked! Volkan Oezdemir chased after a backpedaling Manuwa, catching him again, shoving him to the ground, and following up with hammer fists! The ref was quickly on the scene, and after, Manuwa grappled with the official, unaware of what had happened. His head bouncing off the canvas didn’t help, but either way, Manuwa was knocked senseless.
After the bout, “No Time” asked for the winner of the main event.
Volkan Oezdemir def. Jimi Manuwa by knockout, Round 1, 0:42