Alexander Gustafsson: The Hottest Prospect in MMA?
At last weekend’s UFC 141 event, the rising prospect that is Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson racked up his forth-consecutive victory and in the process answered yet another question about his credentials at 205lbs with a first round TKO against the experienced Vladimir ‘The Janitor’ Matyushenko.
Certainly to many, ‘The Janitor’ is considered a gatekeeper within the division, albeit one with a solid wrestling base and dangerous hands. Once upon a time, ‘The Janitor’ was a former title challenger to Tito Ortiz, back in 2001. In recent time, he has only been on the losing side of things to high level competition such as Jon ‘Bones’ Jones and Antonio Rogerio ‘Little Nog’ Nogueira.
The Swedish fighter, Gustafsson came to prominence to this writer while in attendance at UFC 120. ‘The Mauler‘ zipped around the cage like a welterweight, demonstrating a stinging striking arsenal dropping his opponent, Cyrille Diabate twice in the first round before cranking a rear naked choke in the second to finish the fight. The performance was met with enthusiastic applause.
The only person to beat Gustafsson so far, remains Phil Davis from April 2010 though even this performance garnered praise from UFC commentator Joe Rogan in which he showed some good takedown defence against an elite level wrestler such as Davis.
Since this loss the Swede wisely incorporated training in San Diego at Alliance including training with the sole person to defeat him.
While 24-year-old Gustafsson’s light heavyweight march continues, he surely starts the year now in the top ten rankings of a highly competitive division. Dana White himself heaped praise on this latest showing in the post fight press conference declaring him “ready for the next level (of competition)”.
The UFC’s debut show in his home country is tentatively slated for April 14, 2012 and ‘The Mauler’ has understandably made his interest of competing on the card, crystal clear.
Gustafsson remains a rising prospect with some MMA journalists making comparisons, dubbing him a European Jon Jones. The prospect of a Jones and Gustafsson fights looks like a potentially mouth watering match-up some way down the line.
In the meantime an entertaining homeland bout against a name such as Forrest Griffin or Stephan Bonnar would intrigue and entertain, in this writer’s opinion.