UFC Fight Night 109 is live this Saturday May 28th in the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden.
We see perennial top contender and Sweden’s own Alexander Gustafsson take on the Brazilian Glover Teixeira. Both fighters have come against a string of tough opponents in recent years fighting nothing but the very best among the 205 pound division.
Lets take a closer look at the two men in the main event and what they have been doing over their past few fights.
The mauler has had one of the most unique career paths of any man within the 205 pound division. Surely of the most skilled fighters to have never touched the championship gold in the UFC. He is also a man probably more known for his narrowly fought losses in the cage rather than his wins. So far coming up short against the elite of the elite and giving what most people think is Jon Jones most difficult test in the octagon.
Shogun Rua, Jimi Manuwa & Jan Blachowicz
Jon Jones, Anthony Johnson, Daniel Cormier
Alexander Gustafsson is a large rangy fighter who utilises his amateur boxing pedigree in every single one of his UFC fights. However since his one sided loss to Phil Davies back in 2010 “The Mauler” went on a mission to bring his wrestling chops up to the level of his striking even training with former opponent Phil Davies on regular occasion after his defeat. Its this hunger to improve which keeps Gustafsson near the top of the division. Being the first man to take down Jon Jones you can certainly assume he has more than enough wrestling ability to surprise Glover and I’m sure he will attempt it throughout the course of the potential 25 minute fight this weekend.
Alexander Gustafsson keys to victory
The Mauler does a brilliant job of mixing his strikes from the very first bell utilising his long stiff jab and constant lateral footwork he keeps his opponents on the end of his range and sets them up for heavier straight right hands and almost bolo-like uppercuts in close quarters. Facing a shorter fighter with a similar frame to Daniel Cormier will open up this uppercut on the shorter Glover who uses a crouched posture.
While Gustafsson obvious weapon has always been his slick boxing and will likely continue to be his preferred choice of damaging his opponents he has begun to use more and more of his kicks and knees. Putting these physical advantages to use is absolutely essential in the highest level of MMA and Gus has range in his punches he has even more with his kicks. Standing 6’10” Gus can deliver knees to the solar plexus of Glover and like his uppercut it will be effective because of the Brazilian’s crouched posture.
- Utilise lateral footwork
- Stay long with straight punches
- Be patient and do not engage in a brawl
- Mix in takedowns
I feel Glover is a forever underrated fighter amongst some of the more obvious giants at 205 pounds. While he came up short in his title challenge against Jon Jones he is certainly one of the very best fighters in the division. Glover racked up 3 consecutive wins after his loss to Jon Jones and was looking to make it a 4th until he met his quick demise at the hands of a hellacious “Rumble” uppercut. Known for his knockouts Glover generates massive power in looping hooks and 2 punch combinations. He will attack the body without prejudice with a fluidity that can only be executed through years of sparring and fighting.
Glover Teixeira keys to victory
Glover like Gus has a effective stand up game however he utilises his offence in an entirely different manner. While Gus pot shots and throws 4 and 5 strike combinations from range Glover will stalk you towards the cage with a peek-a-boo like boxing stance and throw devastating one-two and two-three combinations.
I feel Glovers striking ability and string of devastating knockouts has a lot of people forgetting about his ground game.
A 2nd degree black belt and long time BJJ practitioner Glover possesses one of the most effective offensive wrestling games of any Jujitsu expert outside of USA.
Able to thwart the vast majority of take down attempts from both Jon Jones and Ryan Bader in their respective fights. He was however held down by Phil Davies and controlled for the vast majority of their contest however this could be contributed to Glover essentially training in his garage and coming up severely unprepared to match Phil Davies relentless chain wrestling.
When Glover attempts take downs he does not discriminate his approach, attacking with single legs, high crotch and double leg take downs. He will look to engage in a grappling affair in almost every bout he takes and usually does so after being tagged on the feet or if his striking is not hitting the mark. Against a similar framed striker to Gus in Ovince St.Preux Glover was getting hit with hard kicks to the midsection and clipped with awkward punches at range. Glover showed his creativity and smarts by recognising OSP was spamming this effective body kick and capitalised by catching the kick and transitioning to a hard fought single leg. From there Glover shows a relentless guard passing game and when on the mat Glovers lack of speed is negated and he can utilise his huge power in aggressive ground & pound. After opening up his opponents with strikes Glover likes to press into mount and often side control looking to finish with either arm triangle or rear naked chokes.
Who takes it?
I think the odds don’t truly reflect the competitive nature of this fight with Gustafsson at 1.30 / +320 and Glover at 3.60 / -260 I think the bookies are underestimating Glovers finishing ability. Look for Gus to establish range early and Glover to use constant forward pressure. There are a couple of red lights for both of these fighters that need to be looked for in during the fight. Gustafsson has always had good lateral movement and is in perpetual motion though against Jan Blachowicz, in Gustaffsons latest bout, he had the nasty habit of exiting his combinations with his hands down and ended up getting clipped far too much for my liking. He must make sure this doesn’t happen against a powerful counter puncher like Glover.
Glover has always shown impressive durability during his fights but in his 30th professional fight he was starched by Rumble Johnson and whilst there’s nothing embarrassing about that it certainly wont help your chin and recovery at 37 years old. Teixeira won his latest bout against a surprisingly game Jared Cannonier but showed subtle signs of his age and possible ramifications of his knockout loss to Johnson as his head would regularly free on the centre line when getting tagged with combinations. He absolutely must ensure this doesn’t happen against a precise combination puncher like Gustafsson.
In order for glover to come out on top he needs to keep the pressure with his power punches but absolutely must use his jab to set up his more powerful hooks. This is going to be difficult against Gus because not only is he outmatched in the speed department but the range as well. He must cut the cage and pin Gustafsson against it looking to unload two and three punch combinations and threaten the takedown.
Those the juiced odds may not seem appealing Gutafsson wins by late TKO.
Gutafsson by decision is currently is hovering around 3.40 / +240 and knockout is around 2.10 / +110.
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