By Lance LeVan
This UFC Fight Night is being held in Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday, January 24.
(#1) Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson (16-2-0) vs. (#3) Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (18-4-0).
This is going to be a five round light heavyweight (205lbs) fight. This is a fight between two fighters who are at the top of their division and are on the brink of getting a title shot with the champ, Jon “Bones” Jones. Both of these guys are explosive and they both have excellent submissions. Gustafsson is a boxer with a very long reach, both with his kicks and punches. He is a purple belt in BJJ. Johnson is a former collegiate wrestling champion. He also enjoys standing up and trading punches with his opponents. Both guys have experience with grappling, but don’t expect this fight to go to the ground very often. I think these warriors will be putting on a striking clinic for the entire duration. They are pretty evenly matched on paper. Gustafsson is 7-1 in his past eight bouts. The only loss that Gustafsson has in the past four years was to the champion in September of 2013. And it was an extremely close fight. Johnson is riding an eight fight win streak coming into this match. This is an extremely tough match to try and predict. At this level of competition, one punch could end either fighters evening early. In the end, I have to come down on the side with Gustafsson. I think his striking will be the deciding factor. Even though Johnson is on a roll…and I think he has a better ground-game, I don’t think he will be able to weather Gustafsson’s barrage of punches and kicks. My prediction: Gustafsson wins by TKO in the 4th round.
(#9) Dan “Hendo” Henderson (30-12-0) vs. (#8) Gegard Mousasi (35-5-2)
This is a three round middleweight (185 lbs) fight. Mousasi is an up-and-coming fighter in this division. He has only fought four times in the Octagon, but he has fought for several other organizations, including Strikeforce. He is a boxer/kick boxer and a first-degree black belt in Judo. His opponent, Hendo, needs no introductions. Hendo is a former Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler, a NCAA Division 1 wrestler, and has been fighting in the UFC since 1998. Hendo has also fought in several other organizations such as Strikeforce and Pride. Neither of these fighters have a stellar record recently. Both of them have been fighting for a long time. I wonder if Dana and the UFC are going to suggest that they start thinking about “retirement”? Mousasi likes to keep the fight standing with strikes. Hendo likes to brawl but is just as comfortable playing the ground game. This is another tough fight to try and predict. When it is all said and done, I have to go with the UFC experience on this one. Hendo will be more comfortable and laid back since he has been in this arena so many times before. I think that this is his last run for the title and he is motivated to try and get there. I wonder if it matters that Mousasi is 15 years younger than Hendo? From what I know about these two fighters, neither of them is going to let this go to a decision. They both are going to be looking to end this fight and not let it go the judges’ cards. This one might have a chance at “Fight of the Night” honors. My prediction: Henderson wins via TKO in the 2nd round.
(#5) Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis (13-2-0, 1 NC) vs. (#7) Ryan “Darth” Bader (19-4-0)
This is a three round light heavyweight (205 lbs) fight. Both of these brawlers are in line for their title shot in the near future. They both want the belt and can almost taste it. Both of these fighters are former NCAA Division 1 wrestlers. Both have purple belts in BJJ. I know that both of them like to strike and like to knock their opponents out, but I would truly like to see this fight go to the ground and see which one has the better ground-game. They’re are almost identical, on paper. I have watched both of them fight, and if I have to put my money on one of these warriors, it will have to be on Davis. His striking and takedowns have been impressive. In this prediction, I have to go with the ranking and what I have seen in the previous fights. My prediction: Davis wins via unanimous decision.