Second-ranked light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson faces third ranked Glover Teixeira in the main event of UFC Fight Night 109 in Stockholm, Sweden. It will be the third time Gustafsson has headlined an event in his Swedish hometown.
“The Mauler” is 3-1 in his fights in front of his hometown crowd. There’s added pressure competing in front of your countrymen and even more fighting in your hometown. Gustafsson admitted to the pressure, but uses it at motivation.
“I’m very excited for the fight, for the event,” he told MMAViking.com. “It’s a good match-up.”
Teixeira is a veteran in the game, but at 37 years old there are questions of whether he’s out of his prime. Gustafsson can’t afford to let those thoughts interfere with preparing for the crafty knockout artist.
“Teixeira is a very tough opponent. He’s rounded. He hits hard. He’s been in the game for a long time. He was Chuck Liddell’s sparring partner back in the day, so he’s been in the game for a long time. He’s a very experienced guy,” he said.
“He’s going go come in hard. He knows that he has good hands and good power in them. He’s going to come in hard trying to knock me out, try to finish me.”
The bout is essentially a top contender match. Light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier puts his title on the line against Anthony Johnson in a rematch at UFC 210 on April 8 in New York. The winner between Gustafsson and Teixeira will clearly establish themselves as next in line, at least if and until Jon Jones returns, but Gustafsson isn’t looking that far ahead.
“I hope that I get a third chance at the title, but you don’t know. We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I don’t look at that right now. I just focus on Glover Teixeira.”
The Swede predicts a win on May 28, but doesn’t know if he’ll be able to finish his durable opponent.
“If I get the finish, I’ll take it. Other than that, I’ll get the decision.”