A lot’s at stake at UFC Fight Night 37, as former title contender Alexander Gustafsson steps back into the octagon for a chance to earn his second title shot.
Gustafsson is best known for sharing the octagon with pound-for-pound kingpin Jon Jones in the greatest light heavyweight title bout in UFC history at UFC 165. A great MMA boxer who boasts illustrious footwork and a superb chin, Gustafsson proved he belonged with the best at 205 that night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Immediately after Bruce Buffer announced a unanimous decision victory for the champ, people all around the world were clamoring for an immediate rematch. Even UFC President Dana White – not known for granting immediate rematches too often –was chomping at the bit to get these two back into the cage together.
“You wait and see how the fight goes,” he said at the post-fight press conference. “But, yeah, who doesn’t want to see this rematch?”
Getting them back into the octagon proved more difficult than need be, as Jones refused to take the fight.
Wanting to cash in on the rivalry, the UFC elected to ink the Swede against the light heavyweight version of the Nogueira twins. The road to the rematch was set.
There was just one problem – Antonio Rogerio Nogueira pulled out of the fight.
Now the Swede faces Jimi Manuwa Saturday, and that dude eats MMA boxing for breakfast and great footwork for lunch. He skips dinner because he’s too busy knocking dudes out.
Gustafsson likely won’t fret. He’ll keep the fight standing as long as he feels comfortable – which should last about two minutes into the second round.
Even if Gustafsson loses here, he’ll likely rebound with a string of Ws to earn another title shot before his UFC career ends. By that point, though, his American counterpart will probably be well into his career as a heavyweight.
So, you probably think I’m wrong on this one, right? Comment below or tweet at @kristian_ibarra to let me know.