Alexander Gustafsson continued his ascension in the UFC light heavyweight division with a very impressive unanimous decision win over a game Thiago Silva in the main event of UFC on Fuel 2. The story of the fight was Gustafsson playing the outside game to perfection, mostly avoiding Silva's powerful striking while hurting Silva with his own standup. Gustafsson, who dropped Silva early and opened up a cut on his forehead, cruised through the three rounds and controlled the bout. Silva did land his right hook a couple of times, but it wasn't enough. The official scores were 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.
Silva jumped in for a punch early but was caught by a Gustafsson uppercut, which crumpled Silva to the mat. Gustafsson stayed calm and landed a couple of shots on the ground, then again against the cage once Silva got up. Silva recovered, but was already cut. Gustafsson used his range well, staying away from Thiago's power but landing jabs and leg kicks himself. Silva finally got inside and landed a nice counter right, but Alexander responded with another uppercut. Silva missed with a couple of looping overhand rights, and Gustafsson continued to land jabs. Silva landed some heavy leg kicks, hoping to slow the Swede down. The first round ended with the fighters moving around a lot.
Gustafsson opened the second stanza at range, landing shots while Silva missed. He tossed Silva to the floor and landed a couple of kicks, but let the black belt up. The Mauler mixed up his kicks, throwing to the head, body, and legs. He continued to trry and land the uppercut, while Silva responded with kicks of his own. Gustafsson put together a four-punch combination that backed Thiago up. Silva landed a nice counter right hand that backed off Gustafsson, and came right back with another one. Gustafsson was went back to his range game, throwing kicks. Silva covered up and tried to wade into the pocket to land the kill shot, but Gustafsson handled it well. Gustafsson landed a nice front kick at the end of the round.
Gustafsson continued to move around well in the final round, landing outside kicks while Silva looked unsuccessfully for a way in. They briefly clinched, but neither could get an advantage. Gustafsson landed his big uppercut, but Silva responded with his best weapon, a right hook. Silva complained of an eye poke, but the referee didn't step in. Gustafsson grew more confident as the fight progressed, and continued to do an excellent job of staying away from Silva's power while landing solid strikes of his own. The Mauler landed a lot more knees in the third as well. Silva landed the right and an uppercut late, but Gustafsson backed off long enough for the final horn to sound.
The 25-year-old Gustafsson entered the bout as one of the UFC's brightest light heavyweight prospects, and was on a four-fight winning streak. Silva hadn't competed in over 15 months due to a suspension for submitting a fake urine sample after his UFC 125 bout with Brandon Vera. He was looking for his first win in close to three years.