The Swedish Mauler is back.
Two-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson will return to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 93. The announcement was made by the UFC on Thursday:
It’s been almost a year since we last saw Gustafsson inside the Octagon. The Swede has been out of action following a 6-month medical suspension handed out to him following his five round war with Daniel Cormier at UFC 182. That suspension ended on April 3 and since then, Gustafsson had been waiting for the UFC to call his number.
Gustafsson expressed his interest to fight on September 3 and in the undercard of the Andrei Arlovski-Josh Barnett duel in Hamburg. But with the Light Heavyweight champion and the top three contenders already booked to fight each other, the 4th ranked Gustafsson was left with no choice but to take a fight with a lesser ranked opponent.
Needing A Win
Like Gustafsson, his opponent Jan Blachowicz is in search of a victory. The former KSW Light Heavyweight champion used to be one of the UFC”s most highly touted foreign born recruits. But the Polish knockout artist has only been 2-2 inside the Octagon. Following back to back unanimous decision losses in 2015, Blachowicz returned to the winner’s circle with a win over Igor Pokrajac last April.
In facing Gustafsson, Blachowicz gets his biggest break in the UFC. A win over The Mauler would not only help him keep his spot on the roster, it will also break him into the UFC’s 205 rankings. Blachowicz is 19-5 with 5 KOs and 7 submissions. His biggest win so far is a 1st round KO of Ilir Latifi in 2014. Incidentally, Latifi is not only Gustafsson’s countryman, he is also a good friend and teammate.
Looking for Rematch
The fight though is more than just to avenge Latifi’s defeat. A victory by the 4th ranked Gustafsson could lead to a rematch with Jon Jones. It can be recalled that Gustafsson broke into the limelight with his epic UFC 165 title bout with Jones. Gus took Bones to the limit, only to lose by a controversial decision.
Jones will face Daniel Cormier for the undisputed 205 pound title at UFC 200 on July 9 while Glover Teixeira faces Anthony Johnson at UFC on Fox 20 two weeks later. The winner between Teixeira-Johnson should have the upperhand in the next title shot but if Gustafsson wins emphatically against Blachowicz, a rematch with either Jones and Cormier could be much more appealing.
Gustafsson opened the lines as a -550 favorite against Blachowicz’s +350.