Second-ranked light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson snapped a two-fight losing streak in the UFC Fight Night 93 co-main event on Saturday, defeating up-and-comer Jan Blachowicz by unanimous decision.
Heading into the fight, Blachowicz believed the key to defeating Gustafsson was pressure. His game plan was to take the fight to the Swede, and he employed that strategy in the octagon. Blachowicz’ right hand landed early and regularly. He opened up a cut under Gustafsson’s right eye with a left hook. After absorbing shots, Gustafsson decided to get the fight to the ground.
Late in the opening frame, Gustafsson secured a trip takedown and delivered a steady dose of short elbows. One caused a laceration on the forehead of Blachowicz.
Blachowicz landed a right hand followed by a combination to start the second frame. Gustafsson changed levels and put his Polish opponent on his back. From there, “The Mauler” mauled Blachowicz with elbows and hammer fists. Blachowicz was unable to get back to his feet and spent the remainder of the round being peppered with strikes.
The final framed looked a lot like the second round. Blachowicz came out aggressive, landing his right hand. After taking a kick to the body, Gustafsson took Blachowcz down and delivered more punches and elbows. After fifteen minutes, all three judges scored the fight unanimously for Gustafsson.
“I was surprised. I knew that he wanted to finish it in the first round,” said Gustafsson following the fight. “I knew that he’s a very powerful puncher. He’s a well-rounded guy, but I knew he wanted to finish me in the first couple of rounds. I knew he would come out hard, so I took the opportunity to take him down.”
It was a much needed victory for Gustafsson, who entered the fight having lost three of his last four outings. Back in the win column, Gustafsson set himself up for another run at the title.
“I have some things I have to work on. I have to improve everything all the time, but it was a great fight, a great opportunity fight,” he said.