The UFC returns to Sweden, with their poster boy Alexander Gustafsson headlining the event. It’s been over two years since the last time the UFC held an event in Sweden, as Gustafsson headlined against Anthony Johnson. Heading into the bout, Gustafsson was favored and with a victory was all but guaranteed a rematch against Jon Jones. Instead, Johnson silenced the crowd with a devastating first round TKO. It was as if the UFC had held a funeral, as no one saw that result happening.
However, Gustafsson returns to his native land and will be looking to exorcise the demons against Glover Teixeira. A former title challenger, as well as victim of Anthony Johnson’s power, Teixeira will also be looking to exorcise some demons. At 37 years of age, in a thin division, this is an excellent opportunity for Teixeira to get him in contender status.
Co-Headlining the event is another pair of Light Heavyweights, as young guns Misha Cirkunov and Volkan Oezdemir lock horns in a pivotal battle. In only one fight in the UFC, Oezdemir is the 5th ranked Light Heavyweight. A victory over Ovince St. Preux earned him the ranking, but this definitely speaks to the shallowness of the once coveted division. Meanwhile, Cirkunov has been on tear, winning four fights in the UFC. He’s finished all his opponents and one has to wonder how Oezdemir is ranked higher?
Anyways, let’s get to the predictions!
UFC Fight Night 109 Main Card on FOX Sports 1 (1 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Glover Teixeira – This should be an excellent contest, as two former title challengers will lock horns in the main event. While Gustafsson is being seen as the moderate favorite here, I see this more as a pick em. I know Gustafsson is the better technical striker and has the length to keep distance and pick apart Teixeira…but I just don’t see it going that way. Teixeira is an excellent boxer with legit power in his hands and like Cormier and Blachowicz did, I can see him stalking down Gustafsson. The real threat though and it’s crazy to say, is Gustafsson’s grappling. He’s got one of the best takedown defenses in all of mixed martial arts and he’s in my books, a superior grappler. I mean, how many other fighters can say they’ve taken both Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier down…none.
Once Gustafsson feels the power, he will attempt to put Teixeira on his back. It’s possible he does it with ease, but I’m seeing Teixeira time an uppercut that puts Gustafsson into la la land. So with that, I got the upset in Teixeira via second-round knockout.
205 lbs.: Misha Cirkunov vs. Volkan Oezdemir – While credit is due to Oezdemir for defeating the likes of Ovince St. Preux on short notice, I can’t help but to notice his next best victory is absolutely no one. Cirkunov is a legit Light Heavyweight contender and a threat to whoever holds the belt. He’s got superior grappling and his striking is coming into it’s own. With four UFC victories, all by stoppages, Cirkunov is a victory away from a huge named fight. My guess is against Shogun Rua, and yes I’m planning ahead because he’s going to submit a tired Oezdemir in the second round.
170 lbs.: Ben Saunders vs. Peter Sobotta – While Sobotta is a solid grappler, he’s no Ben Saunders. I mean, Saunders arguably has one of the most dangerous guards in all of mixed martial arts. Oh, and he’s also a solid striker. So pick your poison Sobotta…. My guess is that he’s going to take Saunders down and realize this was a mistake as he’s taking out while locked up in a triangle choke.
170 lbs.: Omari Akhmedov vs. Abdul Razak Alhassan – I’ve seen Razak Alhassan a few times and it’s hard to access his skills when he’s devastatingly knocking everyone out in less than a minute. And while I’d normally just go with the veteran here, the vicious knockout wave just seems to have so much momentum. So with that, I have Razak Alhassan via first round knockout.
170 lbs.: Oliver Enkamp vs. Nordine Taleb – Enkamp is a very brave man to put his undefeated record on the line in a short notice fight against Taleb. A welterweight who is huge for the weight class and excels at using his ever so apparent strength advantage to grapple his foes to the mat. I expect Taleb to wear down the young replacement and eventually submit him.
185 lbs.: Jack Hermansson vs. Alex Nicholson – Honestly, I want to go with Hermansson here as he’s the hometown fighter and favorite in this bout. But…I’ve seen Nicholson fight a few times. He’s an erratic and chaotic striker, but good lord does he have a chin. The dude can take it and he’s got some lethal power in his hands. In a fight I expect to be contested mainly on the feet, I’ll go with the guy that has a chin, tons of power and is going to be there all fight. So with that, I got Nicholson via TKO.
UFC Fight Night 109 Prelims on FOX Sports 1 (11 a.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Pedro Munhoz vs. Damian Stasiak – Expect Munhoz to wrap caution tape around the octagon, as this fight is going to be a beatdown worthy of being called a crime. No disrespect to Stasiak, but this is one of those cases in which he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. So with that, I got Munhoz via first round submission.
185 lbs.: Chris Camozzi vs. Trevor Smith – Tough fight to call here. Camozzi is the better striker, while Smith is the better grappler. Camozzi probably has one of the worst takedown defenses in the UFC, which probably will be an issue. However, Camozzi is such an active fighter on the feet and the ground, that I believe he could steal a round from his back. I mean, Smith has solid top control, but nothing special in the ground and pound department. So with that, I got Camozzi via decision.
155 lbs.: Joaquim Silva vs. Reza Madadi – I’ve seen Silva fight a couple of times and while he’s got potential, he lacks cardio. He seems like a all or nothing first round fighter, which I don’t see working against someone as gritty and tough as Madadi. In fact, I believe that whatever early storm Silva delivers, Madadi will weather it and turn the tides late. Madadi’s an excellent grappler and I foresee a heavy dosage of takedowns in the later rounds to seal a unanimous decision.
170 lbs.: Nico Musoke vs. Bojan Velickovic – Where in the world has Nico Musoke been? It’s almost as if he was the one who Anthony Johnson knocked out that evening, as he hasn’t fought since that last Sweden event over two years ago. However, if he’s still half the fighter he was, he should easily edge this out via decision.
UFC Fight Night 109 Prelims on Fight Pass (9:30 a.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Jessin Ayari vs. Darren Till – It’s been awhile since Till last fought and boy was I excited about his potential rise in the Welterweight division. He’s got such dynamic striking and it only makes me salivate thinking about a potential future fight against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. It’s a bit wishful thinking though, as Till hasn’t even come close to putting in the work Thompson has. The buildup starts here though, as Till is going to win this via a highlight reel knockout.
155 lbs.: Damir Hadzovic vs. Marcin Held – The former Bellator superstar Marcin Held has had a rough go of it thus far in short UFC tenure. First they debuted him against Diego Sanchez, in which he was decisively defeated. Then, they pair him against Joe Lauzon, who had TKO’d Sanchez prior to his debut fight against him. However, Held won the fight, just not in the eyes of the incompetent judges, Anyways, Held is not facing a UFC Legend here, so expect a vintage submission.