In the main event on the evening Stockholm’s own superstar Alex the Mauler Gustafsson looks to cement his status as one of the best light heavyweight fighters in the world. Win over Brazilian Thiago Silva would probably send young Swede straight to the title fight against the champion Jon Jones.

Betting odds by

Alexander Gustafsson 1.48 (-210)

Thiago Silva 2.5 (+150)

Alexander “the Mauler” Gustafsson (13-1), Sweden

Basic info:  Hometown hero Alex “Gusse” Gustafsson is a 25 year old fighter who has been fighting professionally since 2007.  Before switching over to MMA in 2006 Gustaffsson had trained boxing for almost a decade already. Gustafsson is one of the biggest light heavyweights at 196 cm tall with a 194 cm reach and weighs over 100 kilos when he steps into the Octagon.

Career: Gustafsson fought his pre-UFC career mainly in the Nordic promotions in his homeland Sweden and neighbouring Finland. The Mauler made his UFC debut with a bang when he knocked out American Jared Hamman in 41 seconds. In his second fight came his only loss to date when he was submitted by Phil Davis who now serves as his main training partner while training in the US. Since the loss Gustafsson has racked up four consecutive wins and all by finish: Diabate, Te Huna, Hamill and lastly Vladdy “the Janitor” Matyushenko at the UFC 141. Gustafsson has gone full rounds just once in his career.

Strengths and Weaknesses:  Now that Gustafsson’s both offensive and defensive grappling has improved a ton thanks to his training at the Alliance with Phil Davis, Brandon Vera and others, it’s really hard to find weaknesses in his game. His strengths are easy to spot: technical boxing and heavy hands, excellent use of long reach, good footwork and distance control which makes him very hard to hit, tight takedown defence and a solid ground game. Gustafsson has also high fight IQ: he patiently follows the game plan but aggressively goes for the kill when his opponent is hurt.

Keys to Victory: Stick‘n’move like in the Hamill and Matyushenko fights. Control the distance with stiff jabs and use lateral movement to get out of harm’s way when the Brazilian bulldozes forward. Silva will go for takedowns from the clinch so keep pummeling for underhooks and break free whenever possible. Counter with heavy right hands if Silva gets reckless with his striking.

Viking Heritage – Alexander Gustafsson Highlight

Thiago Silva(14-2), Brazil

Basic info:  Thiago Silva is a member of the American Top Team and fights out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 29 year Brazilian came to MMA from Brazilian jiu-jitsu in which he a BJJ black belt from Jorge Patino. Silva is a midsized fighter for the light heavyweight division: 185 cm tall and reach of 191 cm.

Career: Before fighting for the UFC Silva fought all but one of his nine fights in Brazil. He won all of those bouts and came into the UFC with a perfect record of 9-0. In the UFC Silva started with a blast as he run through mid-level fighters in his four fights. The up-n-comer was then matched up with top contender Lyoto Machida who knocked him out on the last second of the first round. After the loss Silva bounced back with a win over Keith Jardine but then lost a very close decision to Jardine’s teammate Rashad Evans. In his latest UFC bout in January of 2011 Silva manhandled Brandon Vera with heavy Ground and Pound but the victory was overturned when Silva failed the post-fight drug test. He was then suspended for a year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Strengths and Weaknesses: Silva’s best qualities are his well-rounded skills combined with his heavy hands and killer instinct. He is a natural born fighter who likes to overwhelm his opponents with flurry of strikes on the feet. On the ground he uses his solid BJJ skills mainly to get dominant position where he can throw heavy leather on his foe. His biggest weaknesses are mediocre footwork combined with sloppy head movement which leads him to trouble when matched up with a sniper like Machida.

Keys to Victory: Closing the distance is absolutely vital. Duck under Gustafsson’s straight punches and punish his body. Cover up and throw heavy leg kicks when the Swede steps in. Clinch and tie up as much as possible. In the clinch dirty box with upper cuts and elbows while looking for openings for takedowns. Take the fight to the ground every time there’s a chance for it.

Thiago Silva Highlight