Jimi Manuwa will continue his quest for UFC title contention at UFC 214. It was announced today by the promotion that the Brit will face Volkan Oezdemir on the July 29th card and, according to previous comments from Dana White, Manuwa will step in if either of the two headliners are forced to withdraw.
Manuwa comes into the bout in the best form of his career. The Londoner scored two successive knockouts against Ovince St. Preux and Corey Anderson in last two octagon outings to place himself in the conversation for a title bout once Jones and Cormier settle their differences in Anaheim.
Manuwa’s case has grayed slightly following Alexander Gustafsson’s fifth round knockout of Glover Teixera in Stockholm last weekend, though Manuwa will be hoping his performance at UFC 214 — be it against Oezdemir or as a late replacement for Jones or Cormier — will springboard his chances once again.
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The 14-1 Oezdemier, on the other hand, is seeking as swift a route to the top as possible. The Bosnian Bomber was also in action in Sweden last weekend, where he scored a knockout of his own against the highly-rated Misha Cirkunov inside the first 30 seconds of the bout.
White’s reluctance to trust Jon Jones to headline a card stems from several outside of the cage incidents Jones has been involved in, most notably the failed drug test which caused the fight to be pulled the last time these two men were set to face each other.
“I’ve said it a million times. I’m always worried about Jones,” White said earlier this year as quoted by sportsnet.ca. “I’m gonna put Manuwa on this card to make sure that in Anaheim we have a fight.”
Whether or not Manuwa ends up in the cage with either Cormier or Jones in July remains to be seen. A win over Oezdemir, however, would practically guarantee it would happen one day down the line.