As is often the case, UFC offered a show that left much to be desired when it comes to star power but managed to over achieve in the cage.
The Sunday afternoon show from Stockholm, Sweden was headlined by a potentially pivotal light heavyweight bout between Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira. Potentially because we won’t know the importance of this fight for the division until after champion Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones go at it on July 29. Gustafsson’s previous loss to Cormier and Teixeira’s loss to Jones could have ruled them out of contention if their respective former opponent wins in July. Gustafsson’s previous loss to Jones works more in his favor as it is considered one of the great fights in UFC history and Jones’ greatest challenge in the cage.
Gustafsson had the crowd firmly in his corner in his home country and looked in great shape for the fight. There was some good back and forth early on with both men getting shots in from close range. Midway through the first frame, Gustafsson began to take over, peppering his opponent with low kicks and jabs. An errant eye poke from Gustafsson on Teixeira nearly ended the fight prematurely but Teixeira chose to fight on when pressured by referee Marc Goddard. Shortly after the action was restarted, Gustafsson landed a big uppercut that stunned the Brazilian.
The second round saw Teixeira go into head-hunting mode as he may have been affected by the previous eye poke. Gustafsson kept his distance effectively and soon landed a flurry that knocked Teixeira down but not out.
Gustafsson rocked Teixeira again in the third, scoring a knockdown and followed up with punches on the ground and nearly got the finish early on but once again, Teixeira weathered the storm. The action slowed down slightly in the fourth round, but Gustafsson soundly won the round landing several clean uppercuts in the process.
Despite being up on the scorecards, Gustafsson did not take his foot off the gas pedal for the final round. He landed a series of three consecutive uppercuts that put Teixeira on wobbly legs, but this time he finished the job with a devastating right hook that put Teixeira on his back and the fight was stopped. It was a truly memorable fight and a performance from Gustafsson that should put the entire division on notice.
If his night wasn’t good enough already, Gustafsson proposed to his girlfriend and mother of his child after the fight and got a “yes” much to the delightment of the crowd.
In the co-main event position was another light heavyweight fight between Misha Cirkunov, who has been knocking on the door of the top of the division and Volkan Oezdemir, who upset Ovince Saint Preux in February. Heavy hitter Cirkunov came out at the bell guns blazing but got countered behind the ear by an Oezdemir right hand that put the Canadian down and out in 28 seconds.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Other results from this afternoon’s show from Stockholm:
Peter Sobotta def. Ben Saunders via second-round TKO (2:29)
Omari Akhmedov def.Adbul Razak Alhassan via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Nordine Taleb def. Oliver Enkamp via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
Jack Hermansson def. Alex Nicholson via first-round TKO (2:00)
Pedro Munhoz def. Damian Stasiak via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Trevor Smith def. Chris Camozzi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26 x2)
Joaquim Silva def. Reza Madadi via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Bojan Velickovic def. Nico Musoke via third-round TKO (4:37)
Darren Till def. Jessin Ayari via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-27)
Damir Hadzovic def. Marcin Held via third-round KO (0:07)
-Cat Zingano gave a rather scathing review to UFC’s Athlete Retreat last weekend. Her main point of contention is a disconnect between the messages being given to fighters at the event and the reality of how little most mid-tier and below UFC fighters are making. “The one thing that I worried about was the content of the seminar,” Zingano told MMA Fighting. “It was hard to watch because I was like, do these people believe what they’re saying, and they just don’t know? Or are they aware, and it’s a show? I want to say that every single one of us at least, I don’t know how many times that weekend, were looking at each other rolling our eyes.”
-UFC announced a Sept. 2 show from Rotterdam, The Netherlands that will be headlined by Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 5/28: Germaine de Randamie says she doesn’t want to fight Cyborg, Roy Nelson-Bellator (w/Henry’s Analysis)