Jan Blachowicz evened the score with Jimi Manuwa at UFC Fight Night 127 on Saturday in London.
Manuwa and Blachowicz had faced each other once before. That was three years ago on the Polish fighter’s home turf in Krakow, where Manuwa won via a unanimous decision.
It was a different story this time around, as Blachowicz flipped the script in Manuwa’s hometown.
Manuwa started strong, immediately pressuring Blachowicz, launching a head kick straight away before lobbing his heavy right hand at the Polish fighter. The British light heavyweight kept pressing, landing a couple hard body kicks and leg kicks early in the round, trying to open up a shot for his powerful right hand.
Though Manuwa landed a few heavy blows, Blachowicz weathered his onslaughts, frequently negating his attacks by putting Manuwa on the fence and peppering him with short uppercuts.
Late in the opening frame, Blachowicz started to find more of a rhythm, doing damage with his uppercut and landing combinations off of his jab. He eventually dropped Manuwa late in the first round, stealing away the early momentum that Manuwa had built.
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The second round saw each man finding his range, but it was a close frame. Blachowicz landed more frequently with his combinations off the jab, but Manuwa, despite a bloodied nose, was finding a home for more of his power shots, making it a tough one to score. Manuwa, however, landed a staggering head kick late in the frame that the Pole somehow withstood and kept fighting.
Blachowicz found a low gear in round three, churning away at Manuwa, amping up his jab and punch combinations. While it looked as if he might walk away with the final round merely by outworking Manuwa on the feet, Blachowicz left nothing to chance, driving the Brit into the canvas in the final 30 seconds with a perfectly timed double-leg takedown.
Though he couldn’t do much with the position once they hit the mat, Blachowicz kept control until the final horn, earning a unanimous nod from the judges.
It was Blachowicz's third consecutive victory, likely launching him up the light heavyweight rankings, while Manuwa suffered the first back-to-back defeat of his 10-year career.