The first of the UFC’s four consecutive overseas events begins this weekend in Stockholm, Sweden with UFC Fight Night 109. Alexander Gustafsson, the Swedish fan-favorite, will battle Glover Teixeira in the main event. Gustafsson and Teixeira were scheduled to fight way back at UFC Fight Night 69 before Gustafsson had to withdraw due to an injury in training camp.
Gustafsson and Teixeira have both been within reach of the UFC light heavyweight championship before falling short when it mattered. The winner of this fight will likely earn a shot at the winner of the much anticipated Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones rematch. For the loser, they face a difficult path back to challenging for the title.
Height: 6’5″ (196cm)
Reach: 79.0″ (201cm)
Gym: Allstars Training Center
Alexander Gustafsson is a fan-favorite all across the world due to his involvement in entertaining title fights against Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Gustafsson pushed Jon Jones to the absolute limit at UFC 165 before losing a unanimous, but very close, decision.
Gustafsson will fight in front of his home fans in Sweden for the first time since he was demolished by Anthony Johnson in January 2015. Despite that, Gustafsson was able to challenge for the title against Daniel Cormier ten months later and lost a split decision in one of the best fights of 2015.
‘Gus’ returned for the first time since that day against Jan Blachowicz in September 2016 as an -700 betting favourite. Although being the largest favourite on the card, Gustafsson had some trouble on the feet against Blachowicz. ‘The Mauler’ was able to secure a victory by securing well-timed takedowns against Blachowicz and landing some heavy ground and pound.
Gustafsson is now out to prove that “he is the best guy out there” and a win here could see him get a rematch with Jon Jones if all goes right.
Height: 6’2″ (188cm)
Reach: 76.0″ (193cm)
Gym: American Top Team
Glover Teixeira was on the way to putting himself in line for another shot at Daniel Cormier and the light heavyweight championship before suffering a brutal knockout loss to Anthony Johnson in August 2016. Glover pathed his way to the #1 contender match against Johnson by knocking out Rashad Evans, Patrick Cummins and submitting Ovince St. Preux.
Teixeira took a six-month break before fighting Jared Cannonier at UFC 208. Glover was able to take down Cannonier and control him on the mat for the majority of the fight before winning an easy unanimous decision.
Let’s begin by saying that while the odds are heavy in Gustafsson’s favour, this fight is definitely not the best stylistic matchup for ‘The Mauler’. In fact, it’s amazing to see Teixeira so underrated by the bookmakers in this one.
Gustafsson is a long-range striker who likes to fight on the front foot behind his jab and long kicks to the body. Gustafsson struggles when an opponent moves forward with combinations because his footwork is almost amateurish at times when trying to evade an opponent. Gustafsson’s tendency to swap stances means that he is often unbalanced and because he stands tall when retreating, he is unable to sit down on his punches and throw counter strikes. This was the case against Blachowicz, who had success landing heavy punches when moving forward.
For Gus to win, he needs to push his jab into Glover’s face and make him worry about it all night long. Gustafsson also has a significant advantage in the clinch, in which ‘Gus’ is able to lock an opponent up with his long arms and unload with heavy knees and elbows.
‘Gus’ could be in for a difficult night in front of his local fans, again, if Teixeira chooses to push the pace. Teixeira will need to make Gustafsson fight off the back foot and not allow him to control the octagon. It’s quite a simple path to victory, especially for a fighter who is being booked as an +265 underdog.
This is an evenly matched fight but the odds don’t reflect that. In this case, we should always take the underdog – especially when there is this much value!
I recommend selecting Glover Teixeira to win as the best bet. This is the risk-averse strategy and more profitable long-term strategy.
Odds: +265 – Marathon
Alternatively, if you’re a risk-lover, you could take a shot at Glover Teixeira to win by KO/TKO.
Odds: +600 – PaddyPower
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Glover Teixeira
Glover Teixeira to Win
Sunday 28th May, 23:00 GMT
Odds: +265 – Marathon