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UFC Stockholm: Gustafsson vs Smith - Jun 1 🇸🇪


Who wins and how?   

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On Saturday 1st June, Anthony Joshua is fighting someone in New York. Maybe. Or maybe not now Jarrell Miller’s pissed dirty. Before that though, that evening the Octagon is in Stockholm, Sweden with this...


Alexander Gustafsson vs Anthony Smith 

Jimi Manuwa vs Aleksandar Rakic

Makwan Amirkhani vs Chris Fishgold

Damir Hadzovic vs Christos Giagos 

Daniel Teymur vs Sung Bin Jo


Sergey Khandozhko vs Rostem Akman

Lina Lansberg vs Tonya Evinger

Stevie Ray vs Leonardo Santos

Nick Hein vs Frank Camacho 

Bea Malecki vs Eduarda Santana

Devin Clark vs Darko Stosic 

Joel Alvarez vs Danilo Belluardo 


Might be another fight or two added yet. I like the look of this actually. Kind of reminds me of the London card in March. Similar kind of card and really solid throughout. 



Alexander Gustafsson vs Anthony Smith should be a really entertaining fight. I like this pairing. They’re both in the same position really, having both just had their arses kicked by Jon Jones in their last fights. Before that though, they were both on good form. It’s a bit of a weird one though because even with a big win here, neither man is likely getting another crack at Jones anytime soon. Especially Gus with him being 0-2 to Bones already. It’s just a fun fight for the sake of a fun fight really, but I’m good with it. I’m interested to see how Smith looks here. He just went 5 rounds with Jones which not many expected him to do going in. This fight should tell us where he really stands in the division. If he beats Gus, it’ll keep him right in that title shot convo. And Gus is 1-1 in UFC fights in Sweden. Got KO’d by Rumble the first time in 2015 but smashed up Glover when he returned to home soil 2 years later. He’s had one of the worst nights and one of the best nights of his career at home in Sweden. If he’s not 100% on for this it could be another bad night. 



Jimi Manuwa vs Aleksandar Rakic is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** for Stockholm. Love this matchmaking. Manuwa is a banger. He’s been criticised in the past but I think he’s done well for himself considering how late he got into the sport. Not everyone’s going to be a champion or even a contender. He’s consistently in exciting fights though and that’s good enough for me. He’s lost his last 3 but his last 2 fights were fantastic. He dragged a great fight out of Jan Blachowicz (who’s not been known for having overly exciting fights) on last year’s London show. And his video game style slobberknocker with Thiago Santos in December would easily rank in my Top 10 fights of 2018. Maybe even Top 5. I loved it that much. So he needs to win this but with him being fun to watch and being a good name for the UK and Euro cards, I can’t see them sacking him even with a 4th consecutive defeat here. He’s in with a real prospect in Rakic though. I’ve been quite high on Rakic for a while. I’ve been highlighting his fights in these opening posts and complaining about them burying his fights down on Fight Pass and stuff for ages now. I think he’s got bags and bags of potential. He’s Austrian, only 27 years old, trains at ATT, he’s 6’5” and he’s 11-1 with 9 finishes. His lone defeat was in his pro debut. He’s 3-0 so far in the UFC and stopped Devin Clark on the 231 prelims in December. I’m glad he’s getting a main card spot against a name here. I don’t think he’s ready for a top contender or anything, but it’s definitely time to see him tested a bit. Manuwa will bring it as well so it’ll be interesting to see how Rakic responds. Love this fight. 



Lina Länsberg vs Tonya Evinger is just there really but a main card spot isn’t surprising as Länsberg is Swedish. I quite like Länsberg. Seems cool. Sadly I think she got to the UFC a bit late. She’s 37 now and after a career of 48 Kickboxing fights and 7 MMA fights, she already had a lot of miles on her when she first set foot inside the Octagon. Then it didn’t help that she was fed to Cyborg right off the bat. Rough going. She’s 8-4 overall in MMA now and comes in off a points loss to Yana Kunitskaya. Evinger is a MMA vet, she was around in the early days of women’s MMA. She’s 19-7-1 now and has fought most of the names from the early era to the current crop. From Gina Carano to Julie Kedzie to Sara McMann. In her last 2 she survived into the 3rd round against Cyborg but took a serious beating, then she was battered in a round by the younger and rising Aspen Ladd. 



Makwan Amirkhani vs Chris Fishgold could be a cracker. Amirkhani was a guy who burst on the scene a few years ago and looked like a legit potential breakout superstar. Seriously. That sounds funny now because he’s become a bit of a forgotten man but he really exploded through the Octagon doors on the Sweden show back in 2015. He stopped Andy Ogle that night with a flying knee in just 8 fucking seconds! Then he cut a promo post-fight that made him look like the most likeable and charismatic man in MMA. For 5 minutes at least. Everyone was talking about 2 things coming out of that show. Rumble KOing Gus in his backyard and Amirkhani spectacular debut. People were buzzing. It fizzled out for whatever reason though. He’s gone 3-1 since then. So not bad. But he’s had a lot of time out injured which really halted his momentum. He’s 14-3 overall now and coming off a win over Jason Knight in May. Hopefully he can stay healthy now and put some wins together. Fishgold is 26 from Liverpool and was the Cage Warriors featherweight champion. He’s 18-2-1 and a strong grappler. Lost his UFC debut but bounced back with a submission over Daniel Teymur in February putting himself back on track. Good fight this. Fishgold is the more consistent and is going to be a tough nut to crack but Amirkhani can grapple too and brings that wild and unpredictable element to it. 



Stevie Ray vs Leonardo Santos is another potentially really good fight. Ray is a former lightweight champ in both Cage Warriors and BAMMA. He’s 22-8 and has beat the likes of Joe Lauzon and Ross Pearson in the UFC. I like Ray. He can grapple and strike and he’s tough and scrappy. Santos was the TUF Brazil 2 winner as a welterweight. He’s 16-3-1 now, a 4th degree BJJ black-belt and his biggest scalp to date is his TKO win over Kevin Lee back in 2015. He’s gone unbeaten in his last 11 fights but he’s been inactive since October 2016 for whatever reason. Guess injuries. He’s 39 now so the clock is ticking. 



Nick Hein vs Luigi Vendramini isn’t exactly getting me giddy. It’s the Nick Hein factor. There was a profile piece on him a few years ago on Beyond The Octagon and he seemed a proper nice guy but his fights are just so lifeless to me. They nearly always go to the scorecards and nothing memorable ever really happens. He never climbs up the card but he wins enough that he’ll probably stick around forever trading dull, nothing happening decisions on the prelims forever. He’s pretty much become instant skip material for me and there aren’t many on the roster I can say that about. I might tune into this one though to see what Vendramini is about. He’s Italian, 23 years old, 8-1 with 8 finishes. 



Bea Malecki vs Eduarda Santana I’m going in blind on really. Not really familiar with either woman. Bea Malecki was on the Whittaker vs Gastelum season of TUF last year but lost early on the show. She’s 2-0 as a pro and does nothing to dispel the stereotype that Swedish women are hot...



She’s up against Brazilian Eduarda Santana. She’s 3-0 and her nickname is ‘Cowboyzinha’ because she trains under Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira. If she fights anything like him we’re in for a treat. 



Daniel Teymur vs Sung Bin Jo could be very interesting. I hope it ends up televised. Teymur is decent but hasn’t cut it in the UFC, I rate his brother David more. Daniel has had a bit of a disaster run in the UFC. Came in undefeated at 6-0, but has gone 0-3 in the UFC. Another loss here and he’ll probably be sent packing. It’s Sung Bin Jo’s debut I’m drawn in by here though. He’s Korean, 26 years old, perfect MMA record of 9-0 with 9 finishes. He’s already got 3 titles in less than 10 fights. Granted, all promotions I’ve never heard of but still, it sounds like good start to any career doesn’t it? From what I read he’s more of a striker, with some Muay Thai and Taekwondo experience. I’m intrigued. 



Damir Hadzovic vs Christos Giagos isn’t a fight I’m counting the days to. Could be alright. Hadzovic is an entertaining fighter to watch usually. Aggressive little fucker. Nicknamed the ‘Bosnian Bomber’, wins over Polo Reyes, Nick Hein and Marcin Held in the UFC. Giagos beat Mizuto Hirota in his most recent outing. He’s lost nearly every time he’s fought anyone of proper substance though. 16-7 overall record. 


UFC Stockholm then. 

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In stark contrast to the Russia card, this is an event that I'd take the time to watch from start to finish. Plenty of interesting matchups on the card, and enough names to keep me interested as well.

Got to think that a loss for Gustafsson here will signal the end of his push for a title any time soon. This could be the difference between him staying "in the mix" or being relegated to gatekeeper status.


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The European cards are a strange brew. The English shows now seem to have an core established bunch of names on them that appeal, this Swedish card has the same feel. The Russian show just feels like an M-1 card dressed up by the UFC. It doesn't help that Russian names are pretty hard to differenciate, it makes sense to the Russians.

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I liked the Russian card in its original form to be fair. Overeem vs Volkov was a good main event and there were a bunch of really intriguing debuts on there. Then the main event got ruined and a few of the debuting fighters fell out and my interest took a big hit. Still a few things I’m looking forward to on there but it’s not the best. 

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This is just days away now. Prelims start at the handy time of 4pm on Saturday afternoon on BT Sport 3. 

Really like this card but it just goes to show how the relentless schedule these days makes you lose track of what’s coming up. This is a strong card, IMO, but it’s been lost in the shuffle big time. 

Good stuff here though, and serves as a nice sort of a lead-in to Joshua vs Ruiz in the early hours. 👍 

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Ah jeez, that's a real blow to this card. I was looking forward to that fight, I must say. Hopefully it's something minor and they can rebook it on another upcoming show. 

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Just read that Gusty lost and subsequently retired. 

On paper, his career doesn't seem that impressive. His best wins are over Glover Teixeira and an undersized and fading Shogun Rua. He also went 0-4 against the the Light Heavyweight division's elite, and two of those losses came via stoppage. 

However, if he sticks to his retirement, it will be his fight against Cormier and his first loss against Jones that people will foremost associate him with. To date, no one else has been competitive with Jon Jones over 25 minutes. To this day, a copious amount of fans believe that Gusty won that fight (although MMA reporters almost definitively scored it for Jones). It was the same for his fight with DC. Despite being defeated, he ran Cormier very close over the 25 minutes, and had him in a lot of trouble in the third round. Very few have given Cormier those sort of issues. 

Ultimately, Gusty will be remembered as a nearly man. Someone who fell short against the best. But as nearly men go, he was pretty damn good. 

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Yeah, a mild surprise him retiring but maybe it shouldn’t be. He’s only 32 but at this point he’s 0-2 to Jon Jones, he’s came up short in his 3 title shots, he’s had a bunch of injuries over the years and now this loss to Smith. It’s a lot to come back from and, with a young family at home, his priorities probably changed a lot over the last couple of years. As good as he was, I actually hope he stays retired. Like you say, when I think of Gus it’ll be the wars with Jones (first fight) and Cormier that come to mind. And then the great performance against Glover and seeing him live against Manuwa in London in 2014. Fair play to Smith though. Gus retiring will be the talking point now but this was a hell of a way to bounce back off the Jones defeat for Smith. 

The co-main is what’ll stick with me off this show though. Rakic fucking flatlined Manuwa with a headkick in under a minute. And I’m not exaggerating one bit when I say there was a spell of about a minute where I legit thought we might’ve witnessed the first Octagon death. Real scary knockout. He was sitting up during the post-fight Buffer announcement but Christ it was a bad one. Hopefully he’ll be OK. 

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That was a great win for Smith, easily the biggest win of his career. It was a crucial fight for both men, and Smith ended up being the one to get his career back on track. I thought he won the 1st and 2nd, Gusty took the third and then obviously Smith, with that take down in the 4th, never looked back. He said he had a broken hand after it as well so I expect he'll take the rest of the year off, especially with the amount of miles he has on the clock, the man deserves a rest. 

Manuwa looked to be dead, as Wand says. He didn't move for fucking ages, and when he did stand up I swear that man could have been an alien descended from space for all he knew about where he was. Rakic is a killer. 

I hear there were a couple of good finishes on the prelims, but I only saw the main card fights as well as Lansberg's win and another prelim fight featuring two men I've never seen before and I can't remember their names. One of them seemed to be Russian and the other one had more body hair than a bear. 

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That's them! Good man Wand. If I had been thinking, I could have scrolled back to the top of the page for your bout listings, but it totally slipped my mind. A decent fight it was too. Santos, and Camacho were meant to have great stoppage wins that I haven't watched yet, and Amirkhani had a lovely submission finish over Fishgold. A bit of a warm up show for next weekend really. 

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