Over the last three days, news of the UFC signing three separate top European prospects to schedule for the upcoming event in Nottingham, U.K. has been trickling in. On Tuesday, U.K.-based Fighters Only Magazine reported that Icelandic submission wizard Gunnar Nelson was picked up by the promotion and targeted to debut in UFC on Fuel TV 5 in Nottingham. It was later revealed that the UFC had also signed two British up and comers, Tom Watson and Jimi Manuwa, with the express purpose of loading the card with talent from the home side of The Pond.
UFC on Fuel TV 5 will take place on September 29 and is headlined by heavyweights Stefan Struve and Stipe Miocic. The card already features many home-grown British fighters including Brad Pickett, Dan Hardy, Jason Young, Che Mills and Paul Sass. While only three bouts have been listed on UFC.com, the presence of all the fighters listed on the Nottingham card is virtually assured.
After the jump is a full breakdown on Nelson, Watson and Manuwa for those who don’t know the credentials of the latest additions to the UFC roster.
Gunnar Nelson– With a professional record of 9-0-1, the Icelandic welterweight has only once seen the score cards in his professional debut, a draw against John Oleson. Known for his stellar submission game, Nelson has tapped six of his opponents, all within the confines of the first round. He also has two wins via TKO, also in the first round. The one fighter who lost to Nelson that made it to the second round, Iran Mascarenhas, was greeted with a KO for his trouble.
At 23 years old, Nelson has also managed to make himself something of a legendary figure on the grappling circuit. In the same year that he received his black belt under Renzo Gracie, 2009, Nelson also took home a silver in the Mundials brown belt category, gold in the Gi portion of the Pan American Championship, gold and silver in the open-class, No-Gi portion of the Pan-Ams and fourth place in the absolute category of the ADCC.
Tom “Kong” Watson– At 15-4 and 29 years old, middlweight Tom Watson has been around for a long time waiting for the UFC nod. Watson debuted in 2006, starting touch and go with his career. But in 2008, the Southampton native hit his stride, winning 11 of his last 12. During that streak, his only loss was to UFC veteran Jesse Taylor. Watson has also gone on to defend the BAMMA middleweight title thrice in a row against Jack Marshman, Murilo Rua and Alex Reid.
Jimi Manuwa– 32 year old, undefeated light heavyweight prospect Jimi Manuwa started a little older than most, but has run rough-shod over the competition since 2008. Minuwa has never tasted defeat or seen the judges’ score cards in 11 fights. Of those 11 fighters, only two ever made it to the second round. His latest conquest, Antony Rea, failed to answer the round two bell after a brutal first frame.
Manuwa is best known for having hands that do visible damage every time they touch his opponents.