31-Year-Old UFC Light Heavyweight 17-4-0
July 19, 2018 Alexander Gustafsson News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Gustafsson is in jeopardy of having to withdraw from UFC 227 following the news that Volkan Oezdemir will not fight due to an undisclosed injury, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
News broke early Thursday indicating that Oezdemir would have to miss the August 4 fight as a result of an injury. Consequently, Gustafsson has been left without an opponent for the fight under three weeks away. Per the report, UFC has been actively seeking to schedule a replacement fighter to square off against Gustafsson, but given the small window of notice there's no guarantee Gustafsson will find his match in time. It doesn't help is chances that four current light heavyweight fighters are set for the main and co-main events at UFC Hamburg this Sunday, while fellow 205er Ilir Latifi is also battling an undisclosed injury.
Alexander Gustafsson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisGustafsson last fought in May 2017 when he picked up his second-straight victory with a KO victory over Glover Teixeira. He's been on the shelf since then due to November shoulder surgery, but now armed with a new UFC contract, is ready to make another run at the UFC 205-pound belt. The belt will soon become more attainable than it's ever been over the course of Gustafsson's career, as Jon Jones is tied up in another PED suspension, while current champion Daniel Cormier has publicly stated that he does not intend to fight past the age of 40. Additionally, Cormier is currently chasing the heavyweight belt, and it's unclear if he'll ever return to 205. This paves the way for Gustafsson, who will be taller and longer than any light heavyweight fighter not named Jon Jones. Despite the long layoff, he should enter as a sizable betting favorite over Oezdemir, who has just four UFC fights to his name. Oezdemir went on an improbable three-fight winning streak to open his UFC career, but lost handily to Cormier his last time out. That matchup showed that Oezdemir has several levels to climb before he's ready for "elite" MMA competition -- a category that Gustafsson certainly falls into.
Fantasy AnalysisThe promotion had originally been targeting a matchup between Gustafsson and Luke Rockhold for the event, but with Rockhold having recently suffered a leg injury that rendered him unable to train, the UFC will begin exploring other options. With Jon Jones suspended and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier tied up in another fight (along with the other top four contenders in the division), it's unclear what direction the promotion will take. UFC 227 is scheduled to take place at the Staples Center, where a bantamweight title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt is expected to headline the card.
Fantasy AnalysisGustafsson has been out since November of 2017 after having to undergo shoulder surgery, and while there were rumors circulating about the fighter retiring, the signing of a new contract puts that all to rest. The question now is what is next for Gustafsson, as even if he is fully recovered from the shoulder injury, his weight division is fairly shallow at the moment, which could lead to some difficulty in finding his next opponent.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's expected that Gustafsson will be on the shelf for a few months at the bare minimum, and he likely won't be back in action until the spring of 2018, following his rehab and recovery. During his latest fight in May, Gustafsson defeated Glover Teixeira via KO (punch) at UFC Fight Night 109 in Stockholm, which marked his second consecutive victory.
Fantasy AnalysisThis fight was all about Gustafsson's movement on the outside and his uppercut. He landed with the punch liberally throughout the fight, in the final round, he used it to finish the fight. Teixeira stayed in the fight as long as he could, but he struggled to catch Gustafsson with punches throughout the contest. It appears that the Swedish fighter has made improvements and might do better in a rematch against Daniel Cormier or Jon Jones. He has now won back-to-back fights since falling to Cormier in 2016. For the first time in his career, Gustafsson won a bout that went into the "championship rounds."
Fantasy AnalysisThe bout is expected to be a competitive match as Gustafsson currently ranks as the No. 2 light heavyweight fighter in the world while Teixeira comes into the fight ranked as the No. 3 light heavyweight fighter. The Swedish native, Gustafsson boasts a 17-4 record with 59 percent of his wins coming via TKO. Meanwhile, Brazilian native Glover Teixeira owns a slightly better record at 26-5 over 31 fights. However, Teixeira has dropped tow of his last four which could be something to keep an eye on as the fight inches closer.
Fantasy AnalysisGustafsson, coming off a bounceback victory over Jan Blachowicz, will get an opportunity to fight in front of his hometown crowd in Stockholm. A striker by trade, Gustafsson will need to place an emphasis on takedown defense, which has never been a problem for him in the past. "The Mauler" has defended takedowns at a rate of 86 percent in his professional career, and in fights against Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones, he allowed just two takedowns combined. Gustafsson, 30, will be seven years younger than the Brazilian he's welcoming to town, and will likely open as the betting favorite.
Fantasy AnalysisGustaffson bowed out of his last scheduled fight due to a nagging back injury but adjusted his training regimen and looks to be back to full strength. While he and Teixeira are two of the best light heavyweights in the world, the former is 2-2 in his last four fights while the latter is 4-1 in his last five.
Fantasy AnalysisIn his place, Ryan Bader will fill in as a replacement to face Nogueira. It remains unclear what type of injury Gustafsson is dealing with.
Fantasy AnalysisGustafsson recently rebounded from a two-fight skid to defeat Jan Blachowicz by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 93. He'll now get the chance to the face 40-year old Minotouro Nogueira, who is in a similar situation. Nogueira however, showed he still has the chops to force a first-round knockout despite his age, and could prove to be a challenge for Gustafsson.
Fantasy AnalysisThe Mauler certainly got popped a few more times than he would have liked early in the bout in his first fight in 11 months, but as soon as he turned to his wrestling game, the tide changed. Gustafsson was able to score a takedown whenever he wanted, finishing with four total over the course of the bout. He ended up with 10:45 worth of control time and a 139-55 advantage in terms of total strikes, although the vast majority of those came from top position. Gustafsson has proven time and time again that he can take a beating, so a few early shots from Blachowicz weren't going to impact him in the least. With Rumble Johnson set to fight Daniel Cormier for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and with Jon Jones MIA, there aren't a ton of options that make sense for the Big Swede. A fight against Ryan Bader, who was also victorious on Saturday, probably makes the most sense. There is a massive gap between the top four contenders in the light heavyweight division (not including Jones) and everyone else.
Fantasy AnalysisAlthough Gustafsson has lost three of his last four, that stat comes with an asterisk. The losses came against current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier, former champion Jon Jones, and top title contender Anthony Johnson. Other than those three fights, The Mauler has mopped the floor with just about every other opponent that he has faced. Sooner or later, Gustafsson is going to have to beat one of the top guys if he wants to stay in title contention, but Blachowicz doesn't posses anywhere near the ability of any of those fighters. It should be an easy night for the big Swede.
Fantasy AnalysisGustafsson is coming off back-to-back losses, but they have been against some of the top fighters in the division in Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson. He'll get a chance to start a new winning streak against an unranked opponent in a fight where he should enter as a big favorite.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's hard to see how Gustafsson got the call from one of the judges, but despite the loss, he deserves all the credit in the world. He took everything Cormier could throw at him and ate it. He is as tough as nails and the amount of punishment that Gustafsson can absorb is remarkable. It looked like Gustafsson had a chance for a stoppage win after landing a huge knee late in the third round, but DC somehow recovered very quickly and was able to last until the bell rang. The Swede even landed a couple of takedowns on the former Olympian. Gustafsson has now come up short in both of his attempts to win the light heavyweight title, but he took both Cormier and former champion Jon Jones to the brink. If nothing else, Gustafsson has proven that he is right up there with the very best in the world at 205 pounds.
Fantasy AnalysisJon Jones' legal troubles have thrusted Gustafsson right back into the title picture. The Swede was brutally knocked out by Anthony Johnson in his last fight, but the UFC brass still decided that Gustafsson was the best option for Cormier's first title defense. Gustafsson will have to use his size and length if he wants to prevail on Saturday.
Fantasy AnalysisOutside of Cormier, no one benefited from the meltdown of Jon Jones more than Gustafsson. He was brutally knocked out by Anthony Johnson in his last bout, but he still gets his second title shot in 22 months. Gustafsson will almost certainly follow the game plan of Jones, who defeated Cormier by using his length to his advantage and landing a ton of knees.
Fantasy AnalysisThe date and venue is still to be determined. Despite the fact he was brutally knocked out by Anthony Johnson in his last bout, Gustafsson still gets the call. Ryan Bader was really the only other option but DC v. Gustafsson would clearly make for a higher profile fight. Gustafsson, of course, gave former champion Jon Jones his greatest challenge back at UFC 165 in September 2013.