Alexander Gustafsson showed once again he could swim in the deep waters of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division.
Gustafsson dispatched Glover Teixeira with a volley of uppercuts and a right hook in the fifth round of their UFC Fight Night 109 “Gustafsson vs. Teixeira” headliner on Sunday at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. Teixeira (26-6) bit the dust 67 seconds into Round 5, the crowd roaring its approval for its beloved Swede.
It was never competitive. Gustafsson (18-4) picked apart the former Shooto Americas champion from the outside, smashing him with power punches and standing elbows. Teixeira was rocked on more than one occasion and fought on despite being battered and bloodied. The right uppercut was the weapon of choice for Gustafsson, who routinely snapped back his counterpart’s head with the punch. Early in the fifth round, he fired off three of them in succession. All three landed and had Teixeira on unsteady footing. A clean right hook from “The Mauler” sent the Brazilian crashing to the canvas.
Gustafsson has won nine of his last 12 fights and figures to be a prime candidate to face the winner of the forthcoming Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier rematch for the light heavyweight crown.
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Oezdemir Shocks Cirkunov in 28 Seconds
Volkan Oezdemir staked his claim as a legitimate contender at 205 pounds, as he disposed of the highly regarded Misha Cirkunov with first-round punches in their light heavyweight co-main event. Oezdemir (14-1) finished it 28 seconds into Round 1.
Cirkunov (13-3) moved forward behind his heavy hands and walked into a sniper shot. Oezdemir circled off the fence and clipped the Latvian behind the ear with a short right hand. Cirkunov fell to the canvas face down and defenseless, as his 27-year-old counterpart blasted him with punches until it was over.
Oezdemir will carry a four-fight winning streak into his next bout.
Sobotta Knee Folds Saunders
Peter Sobotta chopped down American Top Team’s Ben Saunders with a knee strike to the head in the second round of their welterweight showcase. Saunders (21-8-2) met his end 2:29 into Round 2, his modest two-fight winning streak having run its course.
Sobotta (17-5-1) had “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 6 graduate reeling with stinging left hands in the first round and picked up where he left off in the second. There, the Brazlian jiu-jitsu black belt dazed Saunders with a straight left and later dropped him to his knees with another. Sobotta was relentless in his pursuit of the finish, tracked down “Killa B” and unleashed a knee strike to the chin that sent him to the canvas and prompted the stoppage.
The 30-year-old Sobotta owns a 9-1 mark across his past 10 outings.
Akhmedov Upsets Unbeaten Alhassan
Omari Akhmedov cooled some of the heat surrounding Abdul Razak Alhassan, as he took a split decision from the Legacy Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA veteran in a three-round feature at 170 pounds. Scores were 30-27 (Mans Nilsson) and 30-27 (Andy Roberts) for Akhmedov, 29-28 for Alhassan (Jorgen Segerlind).
Alhassan (7-1) had his moments on the feet but saw his efforts short-circuited by repeated takedowns from the Russian grappler. Akhmedov (16-5) withstood the judo black belt’s ferocious punching power -- Alhassan had stopped all seven of his previous opponents in less than 90 seconds -- and struck for multiple takedowns in all three rounds, moving to a mounted crucifix in the second and full mount in the third.
Akhmedov, 29, has won four of his past six fights.
Taleb Outpoints Prospect Enkamp
Nordine Taleb won for the fifth time in seven outings, as he earned a three-round unanimous decision over promising Swedish prospect Oliver Enkamp in a welterweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it for Taleb (12-5): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
A short-notice replacement for the injured Emil Weber Meek, Enkamp (7-1) held his own against a seasoned veteran under less-than-ideal circumstances. He surprised Taleb with a takedown in the first round and kept the Firas Zahabi protégé off-balance with a variety of kicks. However, Enkamp struggled to stay upright over the final 10 minutes. Taleb countered with short left hooks and worked into top position in the second and third rounds, neutralizing the Superior Challenge alum with positional control and ground-and-pound. Experience prevailed.
Surging Hermansson Routs Nicholson
Former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Jack Hermansson took out Alex Nicholson with ground-and-pound in the first round of their featured clash at 185 pounds. Nicholson (7-4) succumbed to punches and elbows 2:00 into Round 1.
Hermansson (15-3) struck for a takedown, climbed to full mount and flattened out the American Top Team Orlando rep. Nicholson shifted and squirmed but could not intelligently defend himself from the sustained barrage that followed. Hermansson dropped unanswered punches and a few elbows until referee Bobby Rehman had seen enough.
The 28-year-old Hermansson has won 10 of his last 11 bouts.