The UFC hasn’t been in the Nordics since the monumental event at the Tele2 Arena with over 30,000 fans. “It won’t be in 2016, but we will be back in 2017” says UFC’s James Elliott to MMAViking.com when asked about plans to return to Sweden or even a first event Finland. “The Scandinavian market is very important to us.” continues the new Vice President and General Manager for EMEA.
“Gunnar Nelson from Iceland, Alexander Gustafsson from Sweden, and Makwan Amirkhani from Finland are all huge stars for us” says Elliott about the big names in the Nordics that could be featured in a local event. While there isn’t any specific location or venue set, an event is on the calendar for a return following the last January 24, 2015 stadium event.
All three of the fighters will have fights this year, so wins and losses from these star fighters will have an impact on the location or featured status for an event. Gustafsson was a headliner for the UFC on Fox event in 2012 that lead the UFC to Sweden for the first time.
Mr. Finland has quickly become a household name in Finland for his spectacular fights in the UFC, including a 8 second Octagon debut. The charismatic wrestler will be going for four straight wins soon, and having the 27 year old in his home country going for a 5th win would be a huge story.
Nelson was ice again this Sunday beating #13 ranked UFC fighter Albert Tumenov, who will again look to crack the top 10 rankings.
Always a huge European draw is the Mauler that is coming off of a split decision loss versus Champion Daniel Cormier in one of the fights of the year. With a history with Jon Jones and Cormier, the light heavyweight could be back for a shot at a top 3 fighter with another win this fall.
There have been talks and discussions about a UFC in Helsinki for four years, with proposals from venues as recent as last year. The Octagon has been in Stockholm four times, with it’s debut in April of 2012 at Ericsson Globe Arena.