UFC on Fuel 2 Results: Gustafsson Out Duels Silva; Is He a Title Contender Now?

April 14, 2012
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He’s been touted as the next great light heavyweight challenger.

But on Saturday in his home country of Sweden, Alexander Gustafsson was just the hometown boy looking to win in front of his fellow countrymen.

Facing Gustafsson was the ultra aggressive and powerful Thiago Silva, who was coming back from more than a year away from the sport after being suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for submitted a falsified urine test.

A long, rangy fighter at 6’4″, Gustafsson used his reach brilliantly throughout the 15-minute bout, but almost put Silva away early when the Brazilian tried as best he could to get inside.

Silva pushed forward with strikes only to be met by a perfectly timed uppercut courtesy of Alexander Gustafsson, and the Swede dropped his opponent to the mat with the punch.

There was nothing flashy about it, just a quick solid punch with precision timing.

“That’s one of my things, keep things basic,” Gustafsson said about the punch after the fight.

As rattled as he was, Silva was able to recover and battled back in the 2nd round where he landed his best punch of the fight, an overhand right that clocked Gustafsson on the jaw.

It only backed off Gustafsson for a moment however and for the remainder of the fight, his reach and especially his quickness were just too much for Silva to overcome.

When the fight ended it was clear that Gustafsson had won the fight, but as always fighters are their worst critics, and despite the elation of competing in front of his home country fans, he couldn’t help but point out his shortcomings in the match-up with Silva.

“I always train for a five round fight, but I’m progressing too, I’m learning too. This is my first decision fight, against a tough guy, so I want to learn too,” Gustafsson said after the win, his fifth in a row overall.

Spending a year away from the sport is never easy, and it’s not any easier when it’s an imposed year off from an athletic commission, but Thiago Silva still felt good just getting back in the cage again, albeit without the result he was hoping for.

“Alexander is a tough guy, I couldn’t find the distance, he deserved the victory,” said Silva.

Ever since his lone loss in the UFC to Phil Davis in 2010, Gustafsson has looked like a man on a mission, and has continued to look better and better with each performance.

At 25 years of age, Gustafsson is a star on the rise without a doubt, but still has some grooming to go before he can be considered a title contender. Look for 2013 to be the year of ‘The Mauler’ to fight for the UFC light heavyweight title if things continue down this path.

That sounds like a pretty good plan to Gustafsson as well.

“I just want to take the fight the UFC gives me,” said Gustafsson. “Just do what I love to do – fight.”


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  • phrankthetank

    I haven’t seen this fight yet but I do know this. I was picking silva to win until I saw the weigh in photos, he just didn’t look like himself.

    • Enfo

      That’s stupid. There was nothing wrong with Silvas “look” pre-fight. In the match he just got picked apart by a better fighter. Not at all a surprising victory for the Swede. Gustafsson is a VERY dangerous opponent, and one day he will fight for the title. Mark my words!

      • phrankthetank

        That’s stupid? Really? The guy’s always looked like a beast, he comes back after a year and looks like he’s lost considerable muscle mass and doesn’t look as lean as usual. How is it stupid for me to think he might not fare well?

      • mich1fan

        He might very well fight for the title one day, but i pray that its no time soon. He would get destroyed by jones or evans. Lets face it, the guys best win is over lil nog, who is not even ranked in top 10. Anyone who tries to say Silva is a good win is just ridiculous. Silva might be the most overrated fighter in mma. The guy hasn’t beaten anyone. his best win was over vera( someone who was cut but only got to come back cause silva tested for peds). NOT READY FOR TITLE SHOT

  • sb

    You mean his performance enhanced “self”?

    • phrankthetank

      I mean himself as in the build he’s had for every one of his fights, even when he didn’t fail a drug test.

      • saywhat

        Phrankie, usually, you’re correct … but Silva was always juicin ! Just like Overeem the last few years ….. they just cycled off in time before….for fights in the U.S. He’s probably finally stopped juicing now …. and we can finally see the real Silva…. surprised the other Thialgo hasn’t been busted yet

        • phrankthetank

          I’m just not attesting to speculation, he may well have been juicing… But he never tested positive. All I said was he didn’t have his usual physique.

  • T Spoon

    Gustafsson should get a title shot after another 2 or 3 wins. He is looking like the best up-and-comer right now. Gustafsson is like Jones in some ways, both young, tough, and getting better with every fight. I think this fight with Jones will happen, just not yet. Without a doubt, Gustafsson will be the UFC LHW Champion, its just a matter of time.

    • saywhat

      Rashad and Phil Davis and Bones might have something to say about that

  • D-rail

    Another 2 or 3 fights? Who else is there left to beat that’s worthy of a title shot? The UFC rankings are way off, they have Gustafsson at #9 right under Bader who got beat by TITO….WTF??? And I doubt Shogun could beat this kid, so the 2-3 fight comment is just plain dumb.

    • mich1fan

      What the hell are you talking about. Your the one who is way off. Come on your going to say he should get a title shot for beating Silva. Silva is the most overrated fighter ever. Look at his resume, HE HAS BEATEN NO ONE. If you get a title shot for beating lil nog and silva, then the UFC is in trouble, and needs to have a talent evaluation. He should be at least 3 fights away, maybe Bader next, then machida, then shogun, and then he’ll deserve it. If he fought the winner of rashad and jones, he would get outclassed big time.

    • phrankthetank

      He’s got at least one more, maybe 2 before a shot. The lineup is too long right now.

      • brianhussey

        Yes… one or two sounds right. It all depends on what stories come from other LHWs. AND most important, who his next fight is. If it is ShoGun…Then no (he wont get shot)..if it is a losing Rashad Evans after this fight…then yes (he might get shot)! Then again, it really too all depends on his performance as well. And if he does not perform well against Rua and Rashad, he would need one more top 5 or top 3 guy.

    • saywhat

      Bader is better now than when he lost to Tito IMO

    • T Spoon

      your one pathetic loser. I hope your not as ignorant as your comment.

  • trevor

    I agree this kid needs a few (2-3) fights before a title shot. His resume doesn’t do much for putting him near the top.

    • phrankthetank

      It all depends who has the belt. If jones beats evans and Henderson, he’s beaten every Other contender. If Evans or Henderson has the belt, the list gets longer.

      • mich1fan

        Just because jones has beaten everyone doesn’t mean someone who doesn’t deserve a title shot should get one. I would rather start seein some guys get rematches before someone who doesn’t deserve it goes in there and gets man handled.

        • saywhat

          I’m with Mich on this !

        • saywhat

          If Shogun gets back on a win streak, he deserves a rematch before Gustaffson gets a shot

          • phrankthetank

            If shogun wins his next fight that’s 2 in a row, not enough of a streak to get another shot in my opinion

          • brianhussey

            He beat Forrest (I love Forrest BTW)!!!! Nuf Said…no title shot just yet!

        • phrankthetank

          Rematches are hard to come by unless you have a close fight. He blew out bader, he blew out shogun, and rashad showed davis he isnt ready yet. I’m not saying those guys don’t deserve another chance, but history shows that it isn’t likely to happen when there’s a fresh contender working his way up. If Gustafsson wins his next fight, the calls for a title shot are going to start rolling in.

  • D-rail

    Then Machida should be next in line.

  • MaritalArtist

    I don’t think he’s ready for a title shot yet, but I also don’t think he that far off. He is 1-2 fights away, really. I mean, if he beats any of these 3 fighters, his next fight should he for the belt: shogun, machida, bader. If jones loses, he should fight Gustafsson. If Evans loses, he should fight Gustafsson. Hell these guys have fought everyone else.

  • BizzleZX10R

    Gustafsson needs some more fights before being thrown to the wolves. Griffin,Franklin,Bader,Wanderlei,Davis (Again) Would be worthy opponents. Not saying he can’t beat Shogun,i just don’t think he should be tested for him quite yet. Gustafsson vs Henderson would for #1 Contender would make more sense but,again..is kind of too soon imo.