As John Gooden said as the show ended, could this night get any better for Alexander Gustafsson? The man steps into the cage in his hometown, thrills fans with an amazing performance against a very game Glover Teixeira before getting an absolutely savage knockout victory, and then proposes to his girl in his post-fight interview. And she said yes! Aww.
Back to the fight though. Gustafsson landed the lead uppercut with incredible success all night, and had Teixeira off balance for most of the first four rounds. Teixeira got his licks in, but his chin and heart is what kept him in the fight for as long as he could. Come the fifth round though, he just couldn’t stop the determined Swedish fighter. Gustafsson cracked him with three straight uppercuts and a brutal right hook that sent him slumping to the mat, no follow-up needed. It was gorgeous.
His habit of circling out with his hands down wasn’t gorgeous at all, but it didn’t cost him. Today at least.
Does this mean Gustafsson gets a third title shot? He arguably beat both Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier when he faced both men. He’s clearly on their level. On a personal note I’d love to see it because Gustafsson has been one of my favorite fighters since his pre-UFC days. But I’m not sure the majority of fans would be on board with that.
- How did Misha Cirkunov get slept like that? I know that punches behind the ear can turn your lights out, but that was a very short, seemingly harmless shot from Volkan Oezdemir. Nonetheless, the 205-pound division has a new contender, after just two fights in the UFC.
- Has Peter Sobotta’s striking game come a long way or what? I was shocked when he dropped Ben Saunders right away, but shook it off as a fluke. It wasn’t though, because he did the same thing again and again. Sobotta straight handled Saunders, a great standup fighter, on the feet and finished him with a picture-perfect knee to the jaw. He definitely opened my eyes to his potential, and I never expected that.
- Omari Akhmedov’s takedown game was on point and it led him to a decision win over prospect Abdul Razak Alhassan. It wasn’t a super exciting fight, but Akhmedov got the job done. One judge was clearly blind though, giving Alhassan two rounds. What?
- Oliver Enkamp is going to be a superstar someday. He’s young, flashy, and a lot of fun to watch. It just isn’t his time yet. Nordine Taleb was the perfect test for him – a solid, workmanlike fighter that’s solid everywhere. And Taleb proved to be too much for him in the end, fighting smart and taking the decision.
- Jack Hermansson was fired up to fight in Stockholm, and it showed. He dominated and stopped Alex Nicholson in two minutes. Good performance.
- Pedro Munhoz and Damian Stasiak…happened. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good. For a guy that was such a vaunted prospect though, Munhoz has been thoroughly underwhelming so far though. Even if he got the W.
- Chris Camozzi had nothing for Trevor Smith. He seemed entirely too content to lay on his back and not fight out of it, and it ended up costing him the fight. Not a good performance at all.
- Reza Madadi and Joaquim Silva engaged in a spirited, close fight that went in Silva’s favor, but barely. Madadi started well and probably won the first half of the fight, but Silva came back and took the second half. In the end, the judges leaned towards the Brazilian. Barely.
- Like the first fight of the night, one fighter looked to have a bout well in hand until he ate a solid shot and things changed. Nico Musoke was in control, but Bojan Velickovic continued to press, hit him on the button, gave him the stanky legs, and finished the fight.
- Darren Till looked pretty dominant over a game Jessin Ayari, dropping him a few times over the first two rounds. Ayari showed a lot of heart,but lost a one-sided decision.
- Marcin Held was in complete control of his fight with Damir Hadzovic for two rounds. He dominated his opponent on the feet and with some solid ground work, and looked really comfortable doing it. But one takedown attempt right away in the third and suddenly he found himself unconscious, courtesy of a perfectly-timed Hadzovic knee. Seven seconds and it was over. Just another example of how fights can flip upside down with one shot.
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