Alexander Gustafsson looked phenomenal taking on Thiago Silva in tonight's UFC On Fuel TV 2 main event and winning a decision. He was simply too fast, too slick and utilized too many weapons for Silva to ever get on track. I feel comfortable saying that Gustafsson is a huge part of the future of the sport of mixed martial arts.
It looked like Gustafsson would get the finish in the first round, opening up with big shots that dropped Silva and then kept him pinned against the cage eating big shots. Silva was able to gut through it though, but staying upright didn't mean things got much better. Silva would try to stalk but, other than one right hand, Gustafsson was able to pick him apart with surprisingly quick punching combinations. Silva's leg kicks weren't enough to offset the uppercuts and hooks of Gustafsson.
I'm not sure what will be next for Alexander, but he needs to keep moving up the ladder. He is a special talent who is displaying phenomenal growth each time we see him in the cage. He is tightening up his defense and showing increased combination awareness. Even his footwork was on point throughout the bout. I can't wait to see what's next.
- Before I get to the rest of the fights, Mike Goldberg's constant "just like Jon Jones!" comparisons with Gustafsson were very obnoxious. No fighter can just be something unique anymore with these people. Jones is like Ali, Gustafsson is like Jones, Aldo is like Tyson, Lytle is like Gatti. Just let people establish their own identities. Gustafsson is actually a better combination striker than Jones, that's something neat to focus on. Jones is much better at improvisational striking and changing the dynamics of a fight mid-action. That's stuff that should be the story, not "how much like Jones is Gustafsson."
- Brian Stann knocked out Alessio Sakara in what I thought was a really weird fight. Sakara kept bending at the waist and basically begging to be kneed in the face until he fell down. Stann tried to follow with big ground and pound but couldn't put Sakara away. It wasn't until he landed a short shot about a minute later in the guard that Sakara went out.
- I'm sure Stann winning by knockout will have people yelling that I'm wrong that Stann's power is overrated. My point was never "he has no power" it's that people act like his power is better than it is. He didn't get the finish on the opening flurry despite having Sakara (notorious for a weak chin) rocked, he did get the finish shortly thereafter. He has power, but I maintain that he does not have rare power for 185. He does have much more power at 185 than he did at 205. He's also a phenomenal guy and it's really hard to dislike him.
- My worries about Siyar Bahadurzada were based around how wide and wild he is when striking. As Paulo Thiago came rushing in wildly he forced Siyar to stick to short punches which led to the short right hand that put Thiago to sleep. He was done no favors by the way his face smashed into the mat though. Siyar is a super violent individual but I don't know that I think he's going to run through a whole lot of welterweights. I kind of hope I'm wrong though.
- Brad Pickett looked fantastic against Damacio Page. Page came out aggressive as always and did what he could to make things hard on Pickett and creating a great fight as a result. Pickett's patience and ability to pick his shots allowed him to get inside the wild punches of Page and hurt him with uppercuts and hooks. Pickett was able to drop Page at one point and a short time later get the submission and prove that he belongs in the talk of future title contenders.
- John Maguire wasn't exactly blowing me away against DaMarques Johnson. Johnson finally got sloppy on the bottom looking for a kimura despite not being in position and it led to Maguire beautifully transitioning to an armbar for the win. Classic Georges St. Pierre armbarring Matt Hughes style.
- Diego Nunes has to learn that offensive output matters. He's very tricky defensively, he's hard to get momentum against, but he is too patient. He doesn't open up very often and it lets people outpoint him like what happened against Dennis Siver tonight and what almost happens in a lot of his other fights. When he does open up, it's usually with low percentage things like spinning kicks.
- Dennis Siver isn't going to win any titles at 145, but if he can comfortably make the cut going forward he's going to cause a lot of problems for people in the division. He's very strong and quite capable of hurting anyone with his striking.