UFC on Fuel 2 is in the books and the card delivered. Nine finishes and two other entertaining decisions should have Dana White and company very pleased with their first trip to Sweden. The Stockholm crowd was very enthusiastic and added a lot to the show, and it's always fun to see hometown guys soak in the adulation of the fans after they've won their bout. There were no judging errors, no referee mistakes (other than a couple of semi-quick standups in the first few preliminary bouts) and best of all, there was no controversy. I can't think of many better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Alexander Gustafsson: Picking up a huge win over a tough opponent in your home country has to feel very good for The Mauler. He has now established himself as a top-tier light heavyweight and main eventer, and will definitely get another big bout fairly soon. His improvement since joining Alliance MMA has been incredible, and it's great to see a big man using his size and length so well.
Brian Stann: It was vital for Stann to rebound from his UFC 136 mauling by Chael Sonnen with a good performance, and he definitely did just that. The win might have come over an opponent that isn't held in the highest esteem by fans, but it will definitely give Stann the momentum he needs to get another big fight in the UFC middleweight division.
Dennis Siver: One featherweight win over Diego Nunes probably has Siver closer to a title shot than he ever was at 155. Featherweight is not a deep division and while he didn't exactly look like a threat to Jose Aldo's title, he can give a lot of 145ers a tough challenge. I'd expect a bout with another top-five fighter in his next outing.
Siyar Bahadurzada: Now that's a hell of a way to introduce yourself to UFC fans. Siyar's got bricks for fists and personality for days, and he'll be a very nice addition to the 170 pound division. As Brent said in his piece, I'm not sure if Bahadurzada will be a title threat due to his shortcomings on the ground, but it's going to be fun to watch him try to climb the ladder.
Brad Pickett: Pickett got blasted by Renan Barao at UFC 138, and it's clear that he's not a central figure in the title chase at this moment. Still though, that win over Damacio Page was extremely beneficial for his career and pretty entertaining too. I'm sure the 50k bonus didn't hurt either.
Scandinavian MMA: The attendance and gate figures aren't out yet (EDIT - The card drew 15,428 fans and a 2.3 million dollar gate, which are just excellent numbers), but it is pretty obvious that the first event in Sweden was a slam dunk. Swedish fighters went just 2-3 on the card (one losing to a Norwegian, which has to hurt), but all of them looked like UFC-caliber fighters and it's clear that the fans are interested in the sport. I have a feeling the UFC will be returning there, perhaps to Norway, as soon as possible.
Losers after the jump!
Thiago Silva: After his debacle following UFC 125, Silva was going to come back against either Brandon Vera or Igor Pokrajac, both very winnable fights for him. Instead, he took a main event bout with a legit prospect and lost. While he looked good at times, he just couldn't deal with Gustafsson's length. Silva has gone almost three years without a win and is 1-3 (1 NC) in his last five bouts. All against top competition to be sure, but Silva desperately needs a win to turn his fortunes around.
Paulo Thiago: He went from the most popular fighter at UFC 134 to flat on his face and unconscious in the center of Stockholm in just a few months. Sam The Eagle will always be a popular fighter due to his real career as a BOPE officer and his honorable disposition, but Siyar Bahadurzada just set Paulo's MMA career back in a major way.
Diego Nunes: It's unlikely that he'd want to face off with former teammate Jose Aldo anyway, but any hope of a title shot just took a huge hit with that loss to Siver. He's a lot of fun to watch and I actually thought he won the bout, but he needs to stop being so flashy and pull the trigger on some things that will help him win fights a little more. It's unclear where he'll go from here, but the word "stagnate" has to come to mind.
Papy Abedi: He's now 0-2 in the UFC, and he was submitted in the first round both times. That's not good. It also looked like he just gave up after he got dropped by James Head, who didn't exactly have his choke fully secured before Abedi tapped. He might get another bout in the UFC, but the holes in his game are pretty clear now.