HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from UFC Stockholm

FRANK HYDEN MMATorch columnist

Jun 1, 2019; Stockholm, Sweden; Alexander Gustafsson (red gloves) fights Anthony Smith (blue gloves) at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Stockholm was this past weekend and it ended in shocking fashion. Let’s get to the rundown.

UFC Stockholm

BAD- Sung Bin Jo vs. Daniel Teymur

Teymur landed some good shots early but then everything just went to hell. Teymur came forward but Jo refused to engage. He wasn’t really doing much, so Teymur got the decision win.

GOOD- Damir Hadzovic vs. Christos Giagos

This was a close fight, but Giagos was able to land more takedowns and that likely won him the decision. The effort was there from both men so we got a solid fight. Good win for Giagos.

GOOD- Makwan Amirkhani submits Chris Fishgold

Fishgold had some good submission attempts in the first round but Amirkhani defended well. In the second round, Amirkhani locked in a tight D’Arce choke and Fishgold had to tap. It’s a shame Amirkhani took a little luster off this victory (in my eyes, at least) by having two fouls in less than two rounds. He had an eyepoke in the first round and a low blow in the second. I’d like to see fighters in general clean that stuff up. Anyway, good win for Amirkhani.

GOOD- Aleksandar Rakic stops Jimi Manuwa

Rakic plastered Manuwa with a beautiful headkick to stop the fight not quite fifty seconds into the first round. Great highlight reel finish and a good win for Rakic.

ROUNDTABLE: What is Alexander Gustafsson’s legacy?

GOOD- Anthony Smith submits Alexander Gustafsson

The first round started slowly, as most five round fights do (exactly why five round fights aren’t always a great thing) but it picked up a bit in the second. Gustafsson started landing more shots in the third round and hurt Smith. However, Smith came firing back in the fourth round, getting Gustafsson to the ground and locking in the submission for the tap.

First, this is a big win for Smith. He was in Gustafsson’s home country fighting against a really tough fighter. Second, this was a devastating loss for Gustafsson. So much so that he retired in the cage following this loss.

He explained later that his three losses in title fights weighed on him but he thought that a good performance and win over Smith here would have set him back on the comeback trail and pushed him forward. Losing this fight meant that it was over for him. He said he feels like he doesn’t have it in him anymore.

Good for him for realizing this. If he doesn’t want to fight or feels he can’t do it the way he wants to, then don’t fight. You can get seriously hurt if you’re not fully committed. Obviously, we’ll have to wait to see if he’s serious about this retirement as he’s only thirty-two years old. I think it’s likely he returns a year or two from now with renewed vigor and passion, but we’ll see. If this is truly his final fight, he leaves a good legacy behind. He had some good wins and damn near beat UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

It’s crazy to think about how things could have played out so differently for Gustafsson if he had won that first fight against Jones. I hope that doesn’t weigh on him too much, though I’m sure it does.

As for Smith, this is a tremendous performance from him. He’s a major player in the light heavyweight division and he seems to be getting better with each fight. I’m sure confidence plays a role, though I’m not sure how much, and this win will only further add to that. His loss against Jon Jones showed that he can hang with the best and he’s now beaten one of the top contenders. If he rematches Jones, it’s not impossible for him to pull off the upset.

I mean, we just saw Andy Ruiz pull off a major upset as he stopped Anthony Joshua to win a handful of heavyweight boxing championships this past weekend. And we routinely see upsets in MMA.

Yeah, defeating Jon Jones would be a big upset for Smith  but it’s possible. I certainly wouldn’t pick against Jones in that fight but you never know what could happen in the cage. This win shows that it’s very much a possibility that if Smith fights Jones again, he could win. I’m saying there’s a shot.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier set for UFC 242

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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