Jimi Manuwa was beaten on his London homecoming by Jan Blachowicz at UFC London in a gruelling light heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena.
It was the biggest win of Blachowicz’s career and meant the Pole gained revenge over the man who defeated him in front of his own home fans in Krakow three years ago.
All three judges saw it the battle in Blachowicz’s favour and Manuwa was condemned to the first consecutive defeats of his MMA career.
The local Londoner Manuwa came out to a raucous reception, and started the first round full of confidence, firing off kicks and combinations at will.
The Brit pushed Blachowicz backwards and went to work on the Pole’s head and legs, utilising a huge number of well-placed kicks.
Blachowicz returned the favour with a few of his own slices, but Manuwa was surging forward at every opportunity.
Błachowicz goes big and Manuwa hits the deck in round one!
The bloodied Brit is taking some BIG punches
BT Sport 2 HD pic.twitter.com/fVXi4Ycrep
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) March 17, 2018
Manuwa’s agression was turned against him though in a second, as a backwards moving Blachowicz dropped him with two quick-fire counters that sent the Brit crashing to the canvas.
Blood poured from Manuwa’s nose and with the local hero battling to keep Blachowicz at bay, a cageside Alexander Gustafsson rose from his seat to offer encouragement.
Manuwa regained his composure before the end of the round with his team-mate Gustafsson screaming instructions, but as the second round started, there was blood was streaming from his nose.
It was an obvious distraction for Manuwa, as he breathed heavily through his mouthguard and Blachowicz tried to target the sore point with jabs and high kicks.
A pinpoint high kick from Manuwa struck Blachowicz’s neck and drew the crowd to it’s feet, but the bell arrived as the underdog scrambled to see off the pressure.
The action slightly slowed down in the third round and a close-range head kicked seemed to rock Blachowicz ever so slightly, before Manuwa tried to connect with his trademark left hook.
UFC London Main Card Results
Alexander Volkov def. Fabricio Werdum – TKO (Punches, R4)
Jan Blachowicz def. Jimi Manuwa – UD
Tom Duquesnoy def. Terrion Ware – UD
Leon Edwards def. Peter Sobotta – TKO (Punches, R3)
But, Blachowicz stuck to his game plan superbly and allowed Manuwa to come forward, before slipping and countering with his own shots.
With 30 seconds on the clock, Blachowicz scored a beautiful takedown to close out the round and hand himself his third victory in a row.
In the main event, Alexander Volkov stopped a lethargic Fabricio Werdum in the fourth round to earn the biggest win of his career.