Alexander Gustafsson owns an 8-2 record in the UFC. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Alexander Gustafsson must clear one more hurdle to get what he wants most: another shot at Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones.
Gustafsson will tangle with the resurgent Anthony Johnson in the UFC on Fox 14 main event on Saturday at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, with the winner likely moving on to face Jones for the 205-pound championship.
The 28-year-old Gustafsson has rattled off seven victories in eight appearances, a contentious unanimous decision loss to Jones at UFC 165 the lone misstep. He last competed at a UFC Fight Night event in March, when he put away the previously unbeaten Jimi Manuwa with a second-round knee strike and follow-up punches. Johnson, meanwhile, will carry an eight-fight winning streak into the cage. The 30-year-old Blackzilians representative last fought at UFC on Fox 12 in July, when he wiped out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira with punches in just 44 seconds.
Sherdog.com touched base with a number of professional fighters, trainers and MMA personalities to gauge their opinions on the UFC on Fox 14 headliner:
Related » UFC on Fox 14 Preview
Cody Gibson: Johnson has turned his career around and emerged as a legit light heavyweight. Gustafsson obviously proved how good he is in his title fight and looked great his next time out. I could see Johnson landing a fight-ending shot, but I don’t see him winning a technical striking battle against Gustafsson. I’m going to say Gustafsson wins by decision.
Vitor Vianna: Gustafsson wins by unanimous decision. He moves better in the cage and has better boxing. A.J. can’t touch him.
Robert Drysdale: Alex wins by decision.
Danillo Villefort: I bet all my chips on my homeboy A.J. by brutal KO.
Joe Duarte: I’ve got to go with “The Mauler” in this one. It’s going to be a scrap.
Alan Jouban: This is an exciting fight right here. Both men are clawing away at getting that next title shot and both men have been on a tear, finding new stardom at this point of their careers. However, I think the “rumbling” hits a wall here and won’t be able to deal with the reach and boxing of Gustafsson. He might try to use his underrated wrestling to take him down, but if Alexander is able to stuff his attempts, I believe he may get picked apart on the feet. It will be a closely contested fight.
Mike Ciesnolevicz: Although I still think Gustafsson got robbed against Jon Jones and should be champ right now, I am picking “Rumble” Johnson with the upset here. He has looked great lately beating Nogueira and Andrei Arlovski and scoring a one-sided beatdown over Phil Davis. He has a lot of momentum going right now. “Rumble” wins by TKO.
Lou Neglia: I like Johnson to win, but they’re both definitely talented fighters.
Michael Guymon: This is a really tough matchup for both fighters, but I see Alexander pulling this off with his footwork and striking.
Ricardo Liborio: Gustafsson wins by decision in a very entertaining fight.
J.J. Ambrose: I give the slight edge to Gustafsson since it is a five-round fight. Johnson is dangerous early with his power and athleticism, and I think he will have to finish Gustafsson early to win this fight. That being said, I’m taking Gustafsson via decision. He should be able to use his reach and avoid the takedowns to win the decision.
Igor Araujo: Johnson is a tough dude, but after Gustafsson’s fight against Jones, I don’t see anybody other than Jones beating him. I have Gustafsson winning by decision.
Jeff Hougland: Should be a fun fight to watch. I think Gustafson is the more well-rounded fighter, but “Rumble” has that nasty power and has looked really good. I think Gustafsson will be ahead the first two rounds and then “Rumble” will catch him and TKO him in the third.
Ray Elbe: Jones, Davis and Johnson: What do the three of these guys have in common? After UFC on Fox 14, they will all have a win over Alexander Gustafsson. Johnson wins via KO.
Mitch Clarke: Gustafsson wins by decision, using more angles and tighter footwork.
Colton Smith: With the momentum Johnson has coming into this fight, I believe stylistically he can overwhelm the Swede in a way no one else in the light heavyweight division can. The win will set up a title fight with Jones. As I stated before, styles make fights, and that fight won’t bode well for Johnson.
Nam Phan: Gustafsson will win.
Kyle Kingsbury: Gustafsson defends the takedowns and outstrikes “Rumble” -- I think.
THE FINAL TALLYPros Picking Gustafsson: 12
Pros Picking Johnson: 6