By Jaime C. Feal
The UFCs first ever trip to Sweden was a success, with the show selling out in record time as soon as it was announced. The fans that filled the arena in Stockholm were treated to a main event headlined by Alexander Gustafsson, the national face of Swedish MMA, taking on Thiago Silva, the dangerous Brazilian banger. Also on the card, Brian Stann picked up a win by stopping Alessio Sakara, and Paulo Thiago suffered a surprising KO loss to UFC newcomer Siyar Bahadurzada. After a six week hiatus of not putting on an event, the UFC desperately needed a good show, and the fighters delivered with four stoppages in six fights.
Bantamweight Division (135 lbs.):
Brad “One Punch” Pickett vs. Damacio “The Angel of Death” Page
Page comes out wildly and misses with a big overhand right. Pickett is able to counter Page’s flurry with a takedown. Page lands an upkick then goes for an armbar from the button but Pickett escapes. Now standing, Page scores with punches and two nice knees. Pickett now gets taken down and is on his back. Page is in side control looking to pass. Pickett is able to get back up, then picks page up and takes him down. Now Pickett is in half guard working some ground and pound. Pickett lands a couple big shots but Page is hanging in there. Pickett continuing to work punches and elbows while controlling Page. Nice short right elbows by Pickett. Page again looks for an armbar from the bottom but Pickett stands up and backs away. Good left body kick by “The Angel of Death.” Flying knee attempt misses for Page and Pickett uses it to take him down. Page has a weak guillotine but Pickett is in side control, and Page soon abandons the choke. Pickett lands a couple big right hands on the fence as Page is getting up. Pickett hits another takedown to close the round. 10-9 Round for Pickett.
Page shoots for a takedown but misses badly as Pickett backs away. Page lands a couple light jabs, but Pickett presses forward and slams Damacio down. Page pops right back up and tries to knee Pickett. Big left hook by Pickett drops Page. Pickett punching with right hands and Page is in trouble. Now the pace slows as Pickett digs to the body with left hooks. Pickett has Page’s arm trapped in a cross-wrist and is wailing away with right hands on Page. Fight in danger of being stopped, now Pickett switches to a guillotine. Knee to the body by “One Punch.” Incredibly, Page reverses and gets on top. The bantamweights are resting against each other on the cage, Pickett on top now. The fighters are back standing, and Pickett destroys Page with a right uppercut that lands flush. Left hook follows and Page is hurt bad, shoots for a double leg out of instinct. Pickett takes his back, with both hooks in, and locks up a rear-naked choke for the tap.
Brad “One Punch” Pickett wins by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:05 of Round 2.
Welterweight Division (170 lbs.):
DaMarques “Darkness” Johnson vs. John “The One” Maguire
Inside leg kick to get things started for Johnson. Maguire catches Johnson off balance coming in and gets a nice takedown. “Darkness” goes on a crazy submission attempt spree off his back, starting with a triangle attempt. Then a switch to an omaplata, then a figure four leg lock, then back to an omaplata, then an armbar attempt which Maguire counters and winds on top. Back in guard, Maguire begins to work some light ground and pound. Maguire passes to half guard. Now in side control, Maguire lands some right elbows. The fighters scramble and Maguire goes for a front headlock, then transitions to the back of Johnson. Maguire has a body triangle and is looking for a choke but the round ends, not enough time. 10-9 round for Maguire.
Big left hand lands for Maguire. Johnson gets taken down but quickly reverses. Johnson is in the guard working elbows and short strikes. Now Johnson moves to side mount. Maguire moves to north-south then pushes away near the cage. The fighters clinch on the cage, Maguire gets a takedown, and lands in Johnson’s guard. Johnson is wrenching for a kimura. Maguire counters the kimura attempt by deftly moving to an armbar position, and after a brief struggle, secures the hold and locks it in for the tap.
John “The One” Maguire wins by submission (armbar) at 4:40 of Round 2.
Featherweight Division (145 lbs.):
Dennis Siver vs. Diego “The Gun” Nunes
Nunes begins by working his patented snapping leg kicks. Siver is trying to go high with his right leg kick. Not much happening for the first minute and a half, then Siver gets a takedown. Nunes gets up in a scramble and eats a body kick. Nunes with a counter right. Siver with a nice left head kick. Big left hook from Nunes, Siver answers with a one-two to the body and head. Nunes gets the Thai Plum and throws two knees to Siver’s body to close the frame. 10-9 Round for Siver.
The featherweights engage in another kicking battle, with Nunes getting the slight edge. Not much action happening, Siver gets Nunes down for an instant but Nunes pops right back up. Front kick for Siver. Good leg kick from Siver. Nunes misses a hook and Siver lands a head kick. Nice spinning back kick to the body by Siver. A big left hook lands for Siver after the fighters disengage from the clinch. 10-9 round for Siver.
The fighters begin engaging in a entertaining strike battle, both picking their times to throw hard shots. “The Gun” doing good work in the clinch with knees, but then Siver ducks under and lands a nice hook. Frenetic pace to start Round 3. Good right leg kick by Nunes. Just over two minutes to go in the fight. Siver swinging wildly with hooks in the clinch while Nunes works knees to the body. Siver is cut under his left eye, not sure what caught him. Nice lead left hook by Nunes. Siver starting to pour blood from under his eye. The fighters jockey for position on the cage. On the disengage, they beginning to throw wildly, with Siver again throwing hooks and Nunes knees. 10-9 Round for Nunes.
The Judges score the fight 29-28, 29-28, and 29-28 for the winner by unanimous decision, Dennis Siver.
Welterweight Division (170 lbs.):
Paulo Thiago vs. Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada
Both fighters pawing with the jab, looking to find their range. Neither fighter looking to come forward initially, but when Thiago steps in, Bahadurzada clips him with a short right that Paulo walks right in to. Thiago is out cold, falling flat on his face, as Bahadurzada mercifully walks away.
Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada wins by KO at 0:42 of Round 1.
Middleweight Division (185 lbs.):
Brian “All American” Stann vs. Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara
Stann starts with a lead right leg kick. And another. Sakara is stationary while Stann is bouncing around on his feet. Stann goes to the right leg kick again and lands, but Sakara counters with a nice left hook. Stann and Sakara begin trading on the inside with hooks and “All-American” lands a couple solid shots. Two big knees from the clinch rock Sakara. Stann pounces and tries to connect with punches but slips. He pops right back up and again clinch-knees Sakara twice. “Legionarius” is hurt and on his back, Stann is postured up in guard, unloading with punches looking for the finish. Sakara is covering his head and Stann is beginning to slow down with punches, now settles in guard. Sakara is trying to hold Stann’s arms and the fighters are struggling over wrist control. Stann is looking for space to throw more punches. Out of nowhere, Stann nails Sakara with two short lefts from closed guard which briefly turn out the lights. Stann graciously holds back from throwing more punches as the ref rushes in to stop the fight. Great stoppage by both the ref and fighter. Sakara snapped back into consciousness almost instantaneously, but Stann could have crushed him bad.
Brian “All American” Stann wins by KO at 2:26 of Round 1.
Light Heavyweight Division (205 lbs.):
Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson vs. Thiago Silva
Silva quickly takes the center of the Octagon and begins throwing punches. Gustafsson steps away and creates space. Good right uppercut by Gustafsson puts Silva down. “The Mauler” follows up with hammerfists but Silva gets up. Gustafsson moving in and out, not getting hit. Silva finally lands a right hand, gets met with a three punch combo in response by Alexander. Silva is already cut under his eye. Gustafsson side-stepping and pedaling on the outside, using his superior footwork and speed. Silva lands a good leg kick. Gustafsson with a straight right and head kick. 10-9 round for Gustafsson.
Gustafsson throws Silva down but does not want to play the ground game with him. Back standing, “The Mauler” again darting in an out, controlling the distance a la Jon Jones or Machida. Good uppercuts to the body by Gustafsson. Silva finally backs Gustafsson up with a hard right hand. Silva senses his opportunity and throws wildly with his hands, but doesn’t land. Gustafsson regains his wits and goes back to playing the distance game. Gustafsson not landing much other than kicks, but Silva not landing much at all. 10-9 round for Gustafsson.
Silva looks the worse for wear and Gustafsson doesn’t have a mark on his face as we begin the final round. Gustafsson counting to feint and move from side-to-side. Silva still can’t find an opening to throw bombs. Gustafsson simply refusing to play his game tonight. Silva finally finds his range with a left, but Gustafsson fires back with a big uppercut, kick, and knee. Silva still coming forward but not finding opening to throw punches, Gustafsson is too evasive. Gustafsson starts throwing volume punches and a couple knees, and Silva tries to step up the intensity in the final minute. He cannot find Gustafsson, however, as “The Mauler” dances his way to a decision victory to the delight of his hometown crowd. 10-9 Round for Gustafsson.
The judges score the fight 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for the winner by unanimous decision, Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson.