Gustafsson, Stann shine in Sweden at UFC on Fuel TV 2

Published on April 15 at 1:02 a.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

The hometown kid returned home Saturday and stole the show in front of his fellow countrymen in Stockholm, Sweden. Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson defeated the always-dangerous Thiago Silva by unanimous decision in the main event at UFC on Fuel TV 2, hooking up his backers as a decided minus-250 favorite.

In doing so, Gustafsson improved to 6-1 in the UFC (14-1 overall) and solidified his status as a top-10 fighter in the light heavyweight division.

The 6’5” Swede used his reach masterfully against Silva, who struggled to get inside and close the distance throughout the fight. Gustafsson floored Silva with a big right-hand uppercut early in the first round and nearly finished things fast.

With Silva struggling to recover, Gustafsson landed a barrage of punches that opened a cut on Sliva’s forehead. But the Brazilian wouldn’t go away and got back to his feet. Nevertheless, Round 1 was all Gustafsson.

In the second round, however, Silva connected with the best punch of the fight. An overhand right backed Gustafsson up and it momentarily appeared as if the momentum of the bout had shifted.

That wasn’t the case, though. Gustafsson quickly went back to work, peppering away at Silva’s face with jabs, uppercuts and the occasional front kick. By the third round, a small hematoma began to develop on Silva’s forehead.

Silva kept pressing forward nonetheless and he was throwing haymakers to the finish. But in his first fight in more than a year following a suspension, Silva didn’t have enough for Gustafsson, who has won five in a row since suffering his only career loss to Phil Davis at UFC 112.

In the co-main event, ‘The All-American’ Brian Stann beat Alessio Sakara with a first-round knockout at the 2:26 mark. Stann, who was coming off a loss to Chael Sonnen, cashed tickets as an enormous minus-400 ‘chalk.’

Stann got the better of the stand-up exchanges and dropped Sakara thanks to a pair of big knees to the face. Stann finished the bout in ground-and-pound fashion. The former Marine now owns a 4-1 record since dropping down to the middleweight division.

Dennis Siver pulled one of the biggest upsets in his debut in the featherweight division. The German kickboxer defeated Diego Nunes via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) as a plus-170 underdog (risk $100 to win $170). Siver has now won eight of his last 10 fights.

On deck this coming weekend, the promotion will make its return to Atlanta for the first time since UFC 88. Rashad Evans is hoping for the same results he enjoyed at that event when he put Chuck Liddell to sleep with a vicious left hook in the main event.

This time around, Evans will square off against light heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones for the belt he used to own. The former Michigan St. wrestler is a plus-400 underdog against Jones, who has become a superstar while dominating in each of his 10 career Octagon appearances.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

–The favorites won eight of the 12 fights on Saturday’s card.

–The location and date for the rematch between Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva could be in jeopardy because the United Nations has scheduled a conference in Rio from June 20-22. The plan was to have UFC 147 on June 23 at an 80,000-seat soccer stadium in Rio.

–B.J. Penn was in Stockholm and for now he’s sticking to the retirement plans he announced following a hard-fought loss to Nick Diaz at UFC 137. If ‘The Prodigy’ is indeed finished, his career record will be 16-8-2. Penn held both the lightweight and welterweight titles, won a trilogy with Matt Hughes, won more lightweight fights (10) than anyone in history and is the only fighter in UFC history to face seven different champions.

–With the status of Alistair Overeem in doubt for UFC 146, there has been speculation that perhaps Mark Hunt might be a candidate to face Junior dos Santos for the heavyweight title. But Dana White shot down that notion at Saturday’s post-fight presser. White insisted that Hunt, who is riding a three-fight winning streak, will face a top-five fighter if he beats Stefan Struve.

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