UFC 141 Fight Card Primer: Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Alexander Gustafsson

UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem will feature action in the Light Heavyweight division as veteran Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5; 7-3 UFC) faces Alexander Gustafsson (12-1; 4-1 UFC). This 205 pound fight is the second on the PPV card. The USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings currently have Matyushenko as the #18 ranked Light Heavyweight in the world and Gustafsson a few spots above him at #13. The PPV card begins Friday night at the later start time of 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.

Matyushenko vs. Gustafsson is the classic example of old veteran gatekeeper vs. new guard up and comer. The Janitor has been rather comfortable in that role since coming back to the UFC, vanquishing the hopes of men like Jason Brilz. In fact, the only fighter he has let get past him is Jon Jones, and that obviously turned out quite well for Bones. The question for this fight then is which way will the 24 year old Gustafsson go? Will he establish himself as a new name alongside those like Jones, Evans, and Machida in the division's upper ranks? Or will he fall back and have to regroup?

How do these two stack up?

Matyushenko: 40 years old | 6'1" | 74" reach
Gustafsson: 24 years old | 6'5" | 76.5" reach

What have these two done recently?

Matyushenko: W - Jason Brilz (KO) | W - Alexandre Ferreira (TKO) | L - Jon Jones (TKO)
Gustafsson: W - Matt Hamill (TKO) | W - James Te Huna (Sub) | W - Cyrille Diabate (Sub)

How did these two get here?

Vladimir Matyushenko is about as old school as you get. The 40 year old fighter has been around the sport for years and fought many of the best all over the world, including a UFC Light Heavyweight title shot years ago against Tito Ortiz. It's a testament to his dedication that he remains a top 20 fighter in this stacked division. Honestly, the Janitor is never going to win a world title, never move too much further up than where he is now - but he's the kind of veteran that makes the sport great, and it's good to see him not simply still competing, but still winning.

Gustafsson is only 4-1 in the UFC, but he has already picked up a lot of hype. That hype train gained momentum in his last fight - a destruction of Matt Hamill that sent Hamill into retirement. This is his shot at a coming out party. The Swedish fighter is in some ways reminiscent of champion Jon Jones - a lanky fighter who is young and explosive and dangerous in all aspects of the game. I'm very excited to see what his future holds, and this fight is a big step on that path.

Why should you care?

Because you want to know if Gustafsson has the skills to pass this test. If he puts Matyushenko away impressively, welcome a new name to the Light Heavyweight title hunt.

More UFC 141 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.

SBN coverage of UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem

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