The learning curve is about to get steeper for Alexander Gustafsson.
The 25-year-old known as “The Mauler” locks horns with Thiago Silva in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 2 at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm on Saturday. The majority of participants in Sherdog.com’s MMA Pick ‘Em fantasy game like Gustafsson to continue his rise through the light heavyweight ranks, as 64 percent have chosen the Swede to get the win in front of his home fans.
Gustafsson has only been beaten once in six UFC appearances, a first-round submission loss to Phil Davis at UFC 112. Since then he has reeled off four straight victories, most recently stopping Vladimir Matyushenko via first-round TKO at UFC 141.
Silva returns to action for the first time since facing Brandon Vera at UFC 125, a unanimous decision victory that was later changed to a no contest by the Nevada Athletic Commission. The American Top Team representative’s only two losses inside the Octagon have come at the hands of former light heavyweight champions Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans.
In the evening’s co-main event, an overwhelming 93 percent of players like Brian Stann to knock off fellow striker Alessio Sakara in a middleweight scrap. Stann lost to Chael Sonnen by arm-triangle choke at UFC 136, ending a three-fight winning streak for the Jackson’s MMA product.
Sakara, who made his first UFC appearance in 2005, has finished nine of his 15 victories by knockout or technical knockout. He dropped a unanimous decision to Chris Weidman in his last bout more than a year ago.
Other Pick ‘Em trends for the UFC on Fuel TV 2 Main Card include:
A solid 79 percent of users like Paulo Thiago to top UFC newcomer Siyar Bahadurzada at welterweight. Thiago defeated David Mitchell in his last outing at UFC 134, while Bahadurzada has won his last six contests fighting for various promotions.
In the closest margin on the main card, 54 percent of pickers believe Diego Nunes will spoil Dennis Siver’s featherweight debut. Nunes is 2-1 in the UFC, with wins over Mike Thomas Brown and Manny Gamburyan. Siver’s final lightweight bout came at UFC 137, where he was submitted in the second round by Donald Cerrone.
A large majority of players (70 percent) have sided with DaMarques Johnson in his welterweight showdown with John Maguire. The American scored a first-round knockout of Clay Harvison this past November, while the Englishman Maguire had a successful UFC debut, earning a unanimous decision over Justin Edwards at UFC 138.
Not many participants expect Damacio Page’s return to the cage to be pleasant, as 89 percent have chosen Brad Pickett to defeat the former WEC competitor in a bantamweight tussle. A four-time WEC veteran, Pickett fell to Renan Pegado in his UFC debut. Page, meanwhile, has lost to Demetrious Johnson and Brian Bowles in his last two outings.