Alexander Gustafsson Faces Jimi Manuwa at UFC London in March

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Alexander Gustafsson Faces Jimi Manuwa at UFC London in March
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Alexander Gustafsson Faces Jimi Manuwa at UFC London in March

Jimi Manuwa will take a big step up in competition, filling in for the injured Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to fight Alexander Gustafsson at UFC London, company officials announced on Tuesday.

Gustafsson and Manuwa will headline the March 8 card, which takes place at the British capital's O2 Arena.

“He's undefeated and he's a nasty striker,” UFC president Dana White said of Manuwa on a Tuesday conference call with select media members.

Gustafsson's original opponent, Nogueira, as reported by MMAWeekly.com, had to bow out of the contest due to a nagging back injury. As a result, the Brazilian fighter is forced to sit on the sidelines until May 2014. Nogueira's withdrawal from the fight is the second time involving Gustafsson, the first being an April 2012 match that never materialized due to Nogueira being hurt.

Gustafsson is coming off the most important fight of his career, a loss to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 165 last September. The match-up was heavily contested, giving many the indication that Gustafsson had done enough to win a decision, but the unanimous nod from the judges went to Jones.

Manuwa is undefeated in his MMA career at 14-0, his last three wins coming in the Octagon. The English fighter's last contest showed him winning a TKO over Ryan Jimmo, who suffered a leg injury in their fight and couldn't continue.

The opportunity to fight Gustafsson is one Manuwa said he's been waiting on for a long time.

“Gustafsson is a big test for me, but that’s what I’m in the UFC for,” Manuwa said in a statement. “He’s coming off an incredibly close loss to Jon Jones, but I feel I have the power to stop him. This is what I’ve been training so hard for and I can’t wait until March 8 in London.”

No other fights for the UFC London card have been announced at this time. MMAWeekly.com will update the fight card as more information becomes available.

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