Despite a lot of pressure to perform in front of his hometown fans tonight in Sweden, Alexander Gustafsson looked extremely composed as he comfortably outpointed Thiago Silva to claim a decision victory in the main event of ‘UFC On Fuel TV 2’.
Silva came rushing out of the gates at the start of the first round, but Gustafsson kept him at bay with a two-piece combination.
Silva was then made to pay when he came ducking in again and was caught with an uppercut that dropped him to the mat. Gustafsson pounced on him as the Swedish crowd went wild, but he couldn’t find the finish.
As Silva gets back to the feet a cut can be seen on his forehead and there’s more punishment to come as Gustafsson presses him back against the cage with a flurry of strikes forcing him to cover up.
Despite the hurtful blows Silva shows his toughness by pressing forward and attempting to get back into the fight, landing some leg kicks which start to leave red welts that stand out like a sore thumb on Gustafsson’s pale legs.
It’s in no way slowing down Gustafsson however and he continues to demonstrate an excellent sense of movement and range as he circles around Silva, landing the occasional punch or kick while never settling long enough to let the Brazilian wade in with potentially dangerous combinations of punches.
So that’s one round in the books for the hometown hero and he starts the second strongly too, dumping Silva to the mat with a trip.
He elects to have Silva stand back up though and they resume the striking battle with Gustafsson still doing a good job of establishing his range, flicking out punches or front kicks when Silva attempts to get in close.
Silva keeps stalking forward though and eventually finds some success with a right hook that catches Gustafsson and he looks to close the Swede up against the cage in order to unleash a flurry of strikes.
Gustafsson is alert to the danger though and fires off a couple of counter strikes before smartly circling out of danger and rides out the rest of the round fairly comfortably.
Onto the final round and Silva, who in addition to his forehead cut also has damage around his right eye, needs to makes something happen here if he wants to win this fight.
Gustafsson’s offensive output has slowed slightly, but he still looks light on his feet though and that makes it difficult for Silva to make headway as the minutes tick by.
The Brazilian tries to launch a final big assault at the end of the round, motioning for Gustafsson to come at him, but the Swede knows his strategy is working and stays out of range until the final bell sounds.
No surprises were to come from the judges here as they all saw the fight in favor of Gustafsson (30-27 x2, 29-28).
That pushes Gustafsson’s unbeaten run forward a notch to five fights and gives him the biggest win of his career to date.
With this kind of performance and that kind of run of form Gustafsson is clearly making a mark now and he’s sure to land a high profile fight next time out as he pushes himself firmly into the title mix at 205lbs.