At UFC Stockholm, one of Sweden’s’ own will return home – hoping to get back on the right track, in front of his home crowd. Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson (18-5-0) will take on Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (31-14-0) in the main event this Saturday at UFC Fight Night On ESPN + 11.
A post shared by Alex The Mauler Gustafsson (@alexthemauler) on Apr 1, 2019 at 12:42pm PDT
Gustafsson’s most recent bout was against light heavyweight king/Champ Jon “Bones” Jones. “The Mauler” not only fell short (for the second time against Jones) in a disappointing performance but the fight, in general, fell extremely short of the battle that first title fight between the two provided.
Now with Gustafsson back on home soil he’ll look to display and repeat one of his most complete striking performances, since his last fight (and win) in Sweden against Glover Teixeira and with his home crowd behind him, “The Mauler” has gone 2-1 when fighting in his backyard.
A post shared by Alex The Mauler Gustafsson (@alexthemauler) on May 10, 2019 at 8:43am PDT
In front of Gustafsson is no small feat and one of the few new faces to make an impact and shake-up the light heavyweight division in a long long time. Anthony “Lionheart” Smith has found a home at LHW, after a stint at middleweight. Since his move to LHW, he is 3-1, with wins against Rashad Evans, Shogun Rua, and Volkan Oezdemir. He is also headlining a fight card for his 4th consecutive time, making “Lionheart” no stranger to the big stage. It’s his fighting style, heart, and ability to finish that’s made Smith a fan-favorite. “Lionheart” has finished 29 of his 31 career victories and all 3 of his victories at LHW have been finishes.
A post shared by Anthony "Lionheart" Smith (@lionheartasmith) on May 31, 2019 at 6:42am PDT
Gustafsson, who has long been a constant amongst the top tier of the division’s elite, has only suffered defeat to the hands of 4 men (Phil Davis, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones x2). A list that – I’m sure – Anthony Smith would like to add his name too.
When both men enter the Ericsson Globe on June 1st, they’ll have their focus set on each other. Gustafsson has his eyes set on keeping himself atop the rankings and in arms reach of a title opportunity, while Anthony Smith is looking to rid the division of the old and make his claim for another shot at the title, himself. While Smith has the utmost respect for Gustafsson he’s been quoted this week saying, “ He (Gustafsson) can be broken. I don’t say that as a way of disrespecting him. I have no beef with Alex, but if we’re being honest and talking about X’s and O’s, he can be broken”.
Gustafsson vs. Smith is scheduled for 25 minutes but when you have the caliber of finishers that “The Mauler” and “Lionheart” present– don’t blink Sweden because someone’s lights could go out any second now.
A post shared by Anthony "Lionheart" Smith (@lionheartasmith) on May 30, 2019 at 8:11am PDT
Be sure to catch all the action from UFC Stockholm exclusively on ESPN+, this Saturday!