Alexander Gustafsson announced his retirement in 2019 after the loss to Anthony Smith. Even though he had a good performance against Smith, the former number one light heavyweight title contender decided to retire from the sport.
After more than a year, Alexander Gustafsson made his much-anticipated octagon return on the main card of UFC Fight Island 3. He went up against the former UFC heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum in a heavyweight showdown. Unfortunately, Gustafsson lost the fight via armbar submission early in round 1.
It was the heavyweight debut of Alexander Gustafsson and he showed up in good shape. It was expected that Gustafsson will avoid taking the fight to the ground, where Werdum is a big threat. Gustafsson is a superior striker than Werdum. He has an excellent takedown defense. The odds were in the favor of Alexander Gustafsson going into the fight.
The Mauler was looking good when the fight started. He threw a few leg kicks, stopped a takedown by Werdum with ease, and landed some good shots on the ground. However, when the fight went to the ground, Gustafsson could not really do much. Now, we can't judge the future of Alexander Gustafsson in the heavyweight division from such a short fight against Fabricio Werdum. So what's next for the Mauler?
Who should Alexander Gustafsson fight next?
Alexander Gustafsson is likely to stay in the heavyweight division unless he decides to retire. Moving down to light heavyweight won't make much sense for Gustafsson. A win over Werdum could have easily catapulted Gustafsson in the heavyweight rankings. Despite the loss, Gustafsson is a big name in the division. And he needs a couple of big wins to get to the top of the heavyweight division.
Alexander Gustafsson vs Blagoy Ivanov will make sense since Ivanov is coming from two split decision losses. Alexander Gustafsson vs Shamil Abdurakhimov will be a great matchup too. Ranked no 12, Shamil Abdurakhimov was on a three-fight win streak until he lost to Curtis Blaydes in UFC 242.
But, the biggest fight for Gustafsson at the moment has to be Walt Harris who is coming from a loss to Alistair Overeem. Though Harris is ranked number 10 in the division Gustafsson is a big name in the division. So fans are not going to complain if UFC books this fight.
In the heavyweight division, you are one big knockout win away from getting the fans' attention. So it won't be wise to count out Alexander Gustafsson after the quick submission loss to Fabricio Werdum.Published 30 Jul 2020, 23:00 IST