I’ve been gone for a minute but I’m back now and I’m ready to dig deep into one of the more anticipated fights of the year. Alexander Gustafsson battles Glover Teixeira right in his backyard, Stockholm, Sweden. While both men have been on the cusp of winning UFC gold, both are still very dangerous fighters with interesting tools in their arsenal. Both are strikers with more than enough capability to switch things up and fight in all different phases of the game. But which one has what it takes to get the W this weekend?
Like his current foe, Alexander Gustafsson has only lost to the best of the best of the division. Two close battles and a poor performance against Anthony Johnson have been the only losses to sully his record in the last few years and while you would think it would deter Swedish mixed martial artist from taking a step back, he has instead ramped things up. Alexander Gustafsson looks like a man on a mission and seems poised to put on the performance of his career against Teixeira. While he may be a striker at heart, in recent years we’ve seen Gustafsson turn into an all around mixed martial artist complete with takedowns.
Gustafsson is tenacious with his wrestling. Once he decides he wants to put you down and he’s in on your hips, you can rest assured that his man is going for a ride. But nonetheless, it’s his striking that’s going to do a great deal of the work in this fight as always. He has slick movement, an educated jab, and a variety of kicking techniques in his arsenal. The front kick and knees will be his best friends in this fight and should be used, to maintain his distance as well as his jab. Once he senses Teixeira wants to rush into the pocket for a left hook or takedown, uppercuts will likely go flying towards his foe’s chin to put the lights out or at least deter a follow up.
Glover Teixeira like Gustafsson before him felt the wrath of Anthony Johnson’s power last August, suffering a devastating knockout in the process. That said, Teixeira has since come back with a victory over tough prospect Jared Cannonier at UFC 208 this past February. While he has been getting the job done with his fists as of late, Teixeira’s last bout once again showcased his underrated grappling attack. He is proficient at securing a single leg and transitioning to a double leg takedown if his first attempt is stuffed. Once on the ground, Teixeira will either land ground and pound or search for a submission, most often a guillotine choke.
But just like his opponent, Glover Teixeira is a striker at heart and as such he plays aggressive counter striker looking for his opportunity to catch an opponent with crushing punches. He gets in his opponent’s faces, forces them to commit, then slips their punches with bobbing and weaving head movement. Once he slips past their strikes Teixeira returns fire with a left or right hook to either the body or the head. If he can pressure Gustafsson against the cage then you can bet that some helacious hooks will be coming his way.
This could decide the next challenger for the UFC light heavyweight title. Will Alexander Gustafsson get another crack? Can Glover Teixeira prove he still has something left kin the tank?
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