While the story of the evening for the UFC may be that it is their first trip to Sweden, the story for the fighters is a different tale. Swedish-born Alexander Gustafsson will be headlining against Thiago Silva in an equally important fight for each of them. Gustafsson will be looking to not only score a victory in his native land, but to legitimize himself as a real contender, and potentially a true top ten opponent. But whereas Gustafsson looks to truly make a name for himself, Thiago Silva will be seeking redemption. This will be the Brazilian’s first fight since being suspended for one year after being caught swapping out urine in his drug testing for UFC 125. In an effort to clear his name, Silva will be stepping in for an injured Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and hopes to register his first victory since 2009.

In the co-main event on the evening, another story will be written as both Brian Stann and Alessio Sakara will try to keep from dropping two straight fights as the “All-American” recently lost by submission to Chael Sonnen while “Legionarius” was outpointed by Chris Wiedman last March. Dropping two straight fights in the UFC is dangerous as often times losing three straight is a one-way ticket out of the promotion.

And the stories will continue from there. After climbing high on the lightweight ladder, Dennis Siver will drop to featherweight and take on Diego Nunes, who is climbing his way back to the top. TUF finalist DaMarques Johnson will try to string a couple of wins together against John Maguire, who is looking to make his name known in his second UFC fight. Brad Pickett will try to get back on track against a fighter who is walking on thin ice, Damacio Page.  Also on the main card will be the promotional debut fight for Siyar Bahadurzada against Paulo Thiago.

The action in Sweden will take place starting at 3 p.m. ET on Fuel TV, with the undercard airing live on a Facebook stream at 12:30 p.m. ET.

The MMA Corner’s panel of Brian McKenna, Kyle Symes and Dale De Souza will break down the six main card bouts in this edition of the Round Table.

BW: Damacio Page (15-6) vs. Brad Pickett (20-6)

Symes: In a battle of slumping bantamweights, England’s Brad Pickett takes on Jackson’s Submission Fighting product Damacio Page. Although Page has certainly had a tougher time as of late then Pickett.

Page entered the UFC with a loss in his last bout in the WEC. He failed to impress in his UFC debut by being submitted with the same move twice by Brian Bowles.

Pickett meanwhile entered the promotion after beating the possible No.1 contender in the division, Ivan Menjivar.

The key to this fight for Page is to rush Pickett but don’t get too careless as the Englishman will no doubt look to counter. We’ve seen Pickett be unable to handle a series of quick attacks in both his bout with Menjivar and Renan Barao.

Pickett will no doubt look to take the fight to the mat where he will likely have an advantage. Page has been susceptible to the guillotine choke and Pickett has quite a few wins using that move.

If the choke isn’t there look for Pickett to use the ground game to score points and counter attack when the fight is on the feet.

Brad Pickett (Sherdog)

McKenna: One thing is clear for Damacio Page on this Saturday evening, and that is if he loses, it will be his third loss under the Zuffa banner, which is exactly where he doesn’t want to be.  Typically bad things happen to fighters who drop three straight, and something tells me that Page doesn’t want to go down that path.  But one major deceiving statistic with “The Angel of Death” is that he is 3-3 while fighting with the WEC and UFC, but he has fought four legitimate contenders.  He took down Scott Jorgensen, who fought for the bantamweight title at WEC 53. Page also lost to former bantamweight champion Brian Bowles twice, and once against Demetrious Johnson, who fought for the bantamweight title at UFC Live 6.  While he is only 1-3 in those scraps, can you really blame him?  The guy is better than advertised, it is just that he has had a gauntlet of opponents. This fight should be a good test to determine whether or not Page will be relevant again.

Looking to get back on the right track will be Brad Pickett, who also has had a rough go at it as of late.  A victory in his UFC debut at UFC 138 against Renan Barao would have been a great opportunity to introduce himself to those who didn’t follow the lighter weight classes, however he ended up opening the door and letting Barao walk through instead. He really needs this fight in order to get back and earn a name for himself. Fans will see a guy who resembles Mickey O’Neil from the movie Snatch make his way to the Octagon, but they should not fall trap into thinking that he is strictly a boxer as a result. Pickett does a great job with striking and counter-punching as Kyle mentioned, but to sleep on his ground game would be a bad decision as he has finished more fights by submission than by knockout.

The biggest thing that stands out to me in this fight is the time in between fights for these two.  “One Punch” lost in November, but Page’s last fight goes all the way back to when the UFC was still being broadcasted on Versus, in March of 2011.  The amount of ring rust that comes along with that is going to be too much for the New Mexican, as Pickett will earn another submission by choke, this time in the second round.

De Souza: Page is 2-3 in his last five, but has six KO wins and five submission wins. He is a fighter who, as Brian said, is better than advertised.

The same “better than advertised” label applies equally to Brad Pickett, who came off of a long layoff of almost a year and faced Renan Barao in his UFC debut. I concur with both Brian and Kyle in saying that although Pickett favors the stand-up. Ae owns six wins by many a form of KO, but fans of Pickett should not discount his submission game, which is actually responsible for the majority of wins on his record.

In the past, Page has proven susceptible to submissions, but he has never been knocked out in his career. That has to immediately raise the question of whether Pickett can be the first.

It’s not going to be easy for Pickett to land a shot that hurts Page, and it’ll be even harder for Pickett to force a submission out of Page—who has tapped out four times and went unconscious in the fight with Bowles.

The best bet is to see this one going the distance. Expect a controversial decision, perhaps even a split, with Pickett narrowly claiming victory.

WW: DaMarques Johnson (15-9) vs. John Maguire (17-3)

McKenna: In his last five fights, The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 finalist DaMarques Johnson has gone 3-2, alternating wins and losses. While this is respectable, it isn’t likely what the Utah native has had in mind. Personally, even if he loses this fight, I don’t think his head is on the chopping block. Will Johnson ever work is way towards the welterweight title? Probably not, however the fact that he puts on exciting fights has to be worth something. In every one of his fights with the promotion, the fight has not gone to decision.

Still a relative unknown with the UFC, John Maguire will look to get his second victory with the promotion in as many tries. He dominated Justin Edwards in his UFC debut, but that doesn’t have an overly impressive feel behind it due to the fact that Edwards was just 1-1 in the UFC before the fight. If you look at who Maguire has faced over his career, you will find that he hasn’t faced any real stiff competition. The toughest name he’s squared off with was Tom Watson at BAMMA 1, which resulted in the second loss of his career. It is a little premature to call Maguire a can crusher at this point, but he doesn’t appear to fair well against good competition thus far.

One way or another, I don’t think we’ll have to rely on the judges in this one as it won’t go to decision. I am just not sold on Maguire, and have to take “Darkness” in this one.  Something tells me that he will want to end this one early, and will be able to get the TKO in the first round.

John Maguire (Sherdog)

De Souza: I should disagree with Brian on this one because I actually found myself impressed with what John Maguire was able to do in easily handling Justin Edwards at UFC 138 — in a bout that I don’t think saw anyone give Maguire much of a chance, no less. However, I’m going to have to give Brian some credit in saying that Maguire’s competition does leave a little bit to be desired. Had he been one of the four losses on Watson’s 15-4 record, I might be singing a different tune, but the facts are what they are. Also, in addition to the loss to “Kong” and Simeon Thoresen, the latter of whom also competes on this card, there’s only one other notable fight on his record aside from the Edwards win and that was his second-round win over Dean Amasinger in February of last year for the Ultimate Challenge MMA promotion.

That being said, Maguire is a fighter that deserves some credit of his own, despite being a new face in a UFC welterweight division, that honestly could use a bit of new blood. Currently riding on the strength of a six-fight win streak, “The One” describes himself as an “English traveler”, coins his style of fighting as “Gypsy Jiu-Jitsu”, of which he designates himself as the founder, and in the past, he has submitted guys that looked a bit more of a threat than what Edwards was made out to be before his go with Maguire. That makes the stylistic matchup quite obvious, but Maguire knows what happens on the feet with a finisher like DaMarques Johnson and has looked to improve on that aspect in order to implement his “Gypsy Jiu-Jitsu”.

In the past, it hasn’t taken a great striker to counteract Johnson’s strengths, but it has taken someone with solid takedowns and a stone-cold ground game to counteract what Johnson brings to the table. In other words, what Johnson felt in his losses to Matt Riddle, James Wilks, and Amir Sadollah — in terms of a punishing ground game that eventually produced a finish — is what he can expect from “The One” come Saturday night, and this time out, the result will be a late first-round submission win over Johnson in a fight that nobody should sleep on if they want to see two fighters that can put on a show when it comes time to throw down.

Symes: I have to go with Brian on this and pick DaMarques Johnson in this one. His time on The Ultimate Fighter really made him into a bigger star than he should be. He’s disappointed me since making it to the finals on the show because I was expecting much more from him.

Regardless of whether or not Johnson impresses me in this fight I think he still has enough skills to beat John Maguire. He won his UFC debut by decision but I don’t see him being able to grind one out against Johnson.

Training with Jeremy Horn has undoubtedly given Johnson some good ground skills and he’s proven that with a number of submission victories to his credit. Johnson also has some knockout power. We also got to see how much heart he has in his bout with Amir Sadollah; a bout he took on short notice and never gave up despite being outclassed.

Maybe it’s some personal feeling that I want the guy with more finishes to win but Johnson has proven he can handle any middle of the road welterweight.

FW: Diego Nunes (17-2) vs. Dennis Siver (19-8)

De Souza: Diego Nunes may be with Black House MMA these days after a fallout with longtime camp Nova Uniao, but the potential of this kid is no less now than it was when he was brought in to face Mike Brown at UFC 125. At the time of the Brown fight, one had to recognize Nunes from his 4-1 stint in the WEC, where he defeated Cole Province, Rafael Dias, Raphael Assuncao and Tyler Toner but dropped a unanimous decision to LC Davis at WEC 44. After the win over Brown, “The Gun” lost a unanimous decision to Kenny Florian, only to rebound at UFC 141 in a victory over Manny Gamburyan.

Nunes has fought at 145 pounds his whole career and acquired five wins by a form of KO with six submission wins, but Dennis Siver is making his debut at that weight on Saturday night. Siver has fought as high as welterweight and as low as lightweight in previous years, but with his muscle and the size he’s had on most opponents, it never crossed anyone’s mind that he might ever need to drop to 145. We all knew that he has always been touted as the lightweight division’s most dangerous kickboxer and we knew his submission game was underrated, but a move to featherweight was out of the question until now.

Dennis Siver (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Now, Siver returns to Sweden for the first time since 2004 to face Nunes, and it’s expected that Siver’s strengths will be heightened by the weight cut. However, history has shown that fighters can have a rough cut and even rougher performances after the cut, even if they make weight. Aside from that, Siver’s coming off of a loss to Donald Cerrone in which he got rocked before Cerrone submitted him. Aimilar aggression is what Siver should expect from Nunes.

Regardless of the camp Nunes trains out of, one can expect him to show fear for Siver’s kickboxing, Nunes will turn in an emphatic performance and register a victory—one by way of TKO due to an unrelenting flurry of strikes—over the kickboxer Siver.

Symes: Been credited as one of, if not the best kickboxer in the lightweight division, Siver will make his featherweight debut. Normally fighters debuting at a new weight class tend to get a “warm up” bout of sorts but that will not be the case when Siver steps into the Octagon against Nunes.

We last saw Siver being submitted by Donald Cerrone at UFC 137. One glance at the record may indicate that Siver had some grappling issues but that’s not the case as he was completely rocked by a strike from Cerrone and was likely dizzy while trying to defend the choke.

Nunes meanwhile rebounded in an action packed bout with Manvel Gamburyan at UFC 141. Nunes is 2-1 in his last three fights with the loss coming to former featherweight and lightweight title contender Kenny Florian. In the bout, Nunes was controlled by the much bigger Florian, a problem he may run into again with the stocky Siver.

If this wasn’t Siver’s featherweight debut I’d be more inclined to take him as he’s shown to have finally started tapping into the potential we all knew he had. Like Dale said, the weight cut will likely play a factor in this and for that I’m more willing to place my prediction in Nunes being able to pull out a win.

McKenna:Just as Kyle said, I too am surprised that Dennis Siver’s first fight at 145-pounds is against such a high quality opponent in Diego Nunes. The German was making a big name for himself in his second stint with the UFC after he took down George Sotiropoulos at UFC 127.  He was on his way towards the top of the busy lightweight division until that loss to Cerrone, which knocked him down the ladder and knocked him out of the weight class. But as both Dale and Kyle have alluded, I too am interested in how the kickboxer will perform at featherweight. Siver appears to be one big, walking ball of muscle, and his first trip down to 145-pounds may not be as enjoyable as to be expected.

Another reason that the weight cut will not necessarily be fun is that the man opposing Siver is a fighter who has been at featherweight for quite some time. On top of all of that, Nunes is a quality opponent and even though he was indeed overwhelmed by the bigger Kenny Florian, he looked good in spots in that fight. Being that Nunes will be taking on a second fighter who recently dropped from lightweight will be good for him, as he knows what to expect while taking on a bigger fighter.

A combination of Siver having to drop a weight class mixed in with the fact that “The Gun” is a top featherweight with a lot of experience at 145-pounds will give him the edge in this fight. The shorter this fight lasts, the better the chance that Siver has at winning this fight, but I don’t see Siver winning this fight if it goes to decision, and that is exactly where I see this fight going. Nunes will win the fight by decision, and climb closer to a potential chance at a title shot.

WW: Siyar Bahadurzada (20-4-1) vs. Paulo Thiago (14-3)

McKenna: Looking to make his long-awaited UFC debut, Siyar Bahadurzada will enter the Octagon having recently vacated his Shooto light heavyweight, 183-pound, championship.  He won the title back in 2007 and successfully defended it twice and is currently riding a six-fight winning streak.  A lot of people in the world of MMA are really excited for this debut, as they think that he could be the next big thing in the welterweight division.  With the division as up in the air as it has ever been, now would be a great time to throw your name in the mix with a victory this Saturday night, which is exactly what “The Great” will do.

But looking to spoil the party will be veteran Paulo Thiago, who launched himself right into the thick of things with an explosive victory over Josh Koscheck in his promotional debut back in 2009. Even though Thiago holds quality victories over Mike Swick, Jacob Volkmann and Koscheck, he laid an egg against Martin Kampmann, Diego Sanchez and Jon Fitch. To me, this is a fight where the Brazilian will look to re-establish himself and start his climb back up the welterweight ladder. The victory over David Mitchell at UFC 134 was nice, a victory on Saturday would be a great way to take the hype away from Bahadurzada, and get it back on him.

This is definitely a fight worth looking forward to, and it will likely end with Thiago’s hand held in the air. While “The Great” will is definitely no stranger to MMA, there is nothing like stepping into the Octagon. The fact that Thiago has been doing this for quite some time will give him the necessary edge in this fight, as the Brazilian gets the decision victory in this one.

Paulo Thiago (DaveMandel/Sherdog)

De Souza: I’ve been waiting to see Siyar Bahadurzada debut in the UFC from the moment that it was announced that he’d be fighting Erick Silva at UFC 142. Obviously, that fight was not meant to be, as Siyar had to withdraw from that bout, but the debut of the Dutch-Afghan fighter was inevitable, and a meeting with Paulo Thiago seemed inevitable as well. The BOPE officer is coming off of a win over one David Mitchell at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, and in defeating Mitchell, the BJJ ace snapped a two-fight skid that included losses to Martin Kampmann and a reinvigorated Diego Sanchez.

Boiling this bout down to its core, both men are noted for one area of their game but are underrated in another. On one hand, eight of Thiago’s wins have come by way of submission with three of them coming by arm-triangle choke, and one submission win each by way of a D’Arce, an Anaconda, a rear-naked choke, a guillotine and a triangle choke. Many see the submission and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expertise of Thiago and forget about his UFC debut against Koscheck, which is arguably one of the biggest knockout and upset wins of recent memory. In contrast, ten of Bahadurzada’s wins have come by way of some form of KO, but many see him as the aggressive, direct-attacking striker who does not let up, and they forget that six of his wins are submission victories.

Bahadurzada is pretty well-received by MMA fans who are a fan of guys who bring it every time, and Thiago is also a favorite in the sense of always bringing his A-game to fights, but something’s got to give here. Thiago has some momentum going with his win over Mitchell while Bahadurzada is 6-0 in his last six bouts, and he didn’t sign with the UFC just to bow down to any of the UFC’s welterweight crop. Sonsidering Thiago is a part of that crop, one can anticipate him wanting to put on an emphatic performance and a successful debut against one of the UFC’s best welterweights on the rise. Thiago may be willing to test Bahadurzada’s chin, but if he should feel that confident in himself, he must expect that Bahadurzada will showcase the striking that earned him his current six-fight streak, and as a result, a mid-second-round TKO victory will spell out a successful UFC debut for “The Great”.

Symes: I, like Dale, was extremely excited to hear Siyar Bahadurzada had signed with the UFC. Originally scheduled to make his Strikeforce debut last year, some Visa problems forced the prospect’s debut to be delayed.

He’s been an absolute killer in the European circuit, knocking people out with ease. Of course the best way to test his true talent is to match him with a durable veteran like Paulo Thiago.

Thiago has firmly asserted himself as a welterweight gatekeeper and I mean no disrespect by saying that. It’s just a honest fact when you look at his record as he’s struggled against some of the upper level talents in the welterweight division.

Of course those struggles came against two guys with really good wrestling (Diego Sanchez/Jon Fitch) and one of the best technical strikers in Martin Kampmann.

Bahadurzada doesn’t bring top-notch level wrestling but he does bring some serious striking credentials.

The “Octagon Jitters” gets to a lot of debuting stars but I don’t see Bahadurzada wasting his shot after such a long wait. I’m going with a TKO victory for Bahadurzada.

MW: Alessio Sakara (15-8) vs. Brian Stann (11-4)

De Souza: Brian Stann seemed poised to be the contender that nobody saw coming in the UFC Middleweight division. The thought was solidified by victories over Mike Massenzio, Jorge Santiago and Chris Leben. Everything went Stann’s way and he looked to go 4-0 with a UFC 136 win over Chael Sonnen, but Sonnen exploited Stann’s susceptibility to a solid wrestling game and submitted him after dominating him early in the bout. Of course, there’s no shame in a loss to a fighter like Sonnen, but now is Stann’s moment to rebound.

In Alessio Sakara, Stann faces a man who is a striker by trade and a man who is 3-2 in his last five bouts, with a three-fight streak snapped by a then-debuting Chris Weidman. When we say “striker by trade”, we’re talking about a swift, accurate fighter who always stands, always trades, and always looks for that one big knockout shot. The ten-year veteran has the overall experience edge on Stann, but will it make a difference when he fights Stann in Stockholm?

Brian Stann (DaveMandel/Sherdog)

If it’s this guy you’re asking, then no, it won’t make much of a difference. Sakara may be a fantastic striker and a quick knockout artist, but in the realm of takedowns and wrestling, Sakara is no Sonnen, and on the feet, there is a definite question of whether his chin can handle the striking of Stann. Just to reiterate, Stann owns a win over Chris Leben by technical knockout, which is a feat that, prior to Stann’s victory over Leben, only Anderson Silva had accomplished. Sakara will have to mount some serious pressure on Stann in order to defeat him. Ahile Sakara will always have the chance to get his game off on Stann, Stann’s well-rounded attack should result in a hard-fought and impressive unanimous decision win over a game but nonetheless one-dimensional opponent.

McKenna: I had the pleasure of reading Brian Stann’s book recently, and it provided a very interesting look into the mind of the former Marine.  Early in his career, he would try to smother his opponent with as many strikes as he could throw at them, which lead to a lot of early stoppage victories for him.  But eventually, this style of fighting caught up to him and it wasn’t until he traveled to New Mexico to train with Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn until he really started to train properly and approach each fight with a gameplan installed.  The combination of existing skill that Stann had wrapped up with the new abilities and proper coaching that came along with it really took him to the next level. That earned him a high-profile fight against Chael Sonnen last October. But just as Dale said, a loss to the current No. 1 contender is nothing to hang your head on, but now it is time to move onto the next fight.

The experience edge in this fight goes to the man opposing Stann, Alessio Sakara.  While he isn’t a name that the average fans of the sport think of as a top level middleweight, he is still dangerous in his own right.  Sure, Sakara is a striker at heart and will look for a quick knockout, but what Dale left out of the equation is the black belt that the Italian holds in jiu-jitsu.  Sure, he has only two submissions to show for it, but that sneaky fact is something that will always be in the back of the head of whoever is standing across from him.  A lot of people don’t like messing around on the ground with black belts, which causes them to be more apt to standing against him.

The only problem with Sakara wanting to stand and bang, is that Stann really enjoys standing and banging too.  I would figure that the “All-American’s” fight against Sonnen humbled him to a point where he got back in the gym and worked all sorts of wrestling and takedown defense even though it may not be that necessary in this particular fight.  It is that level of preparedness and heart that Stann brings into the cage which will give him the edge in this fight over Sakara.  Stann by second round TKO.

Symes: This bout has fireworks written all over it given the tendency of both Brian Stann and Alessio Sakara standing and trading shots. Both men are fan favorites and love to put on a show which may or may not happen.

Alessio Sakara (DaveMandel/Sherdog)

I say that because if both men choose to stand and bang then we are looking at the classic power versus technique striking battle. Sakara no doubt has the experience with his boxing background but as we’ve seen in his previous fights, the Italian loves to look for that one-punch knockout instead of working combinations.

I will give Sakara this, he mixes his punches to the body very well for MMA and it will definitely be something new for Stann to see.

Speaking of new things for Stann to see, I’m sure he’ll present a newer, better version of himself on Saturday. Like the guys said, losing to the No. 1 contender is nothing to be ashamed of, but Stann was embarrassed none the less. Look for him to come out and work his angles like he did against Chris Leben.

I could honestly see Stann using some wrestling or clinches to wear down Sakara and score some points. Stann’s always had a tough time with strong wrestlers so maybe he will try to turn his weakness as an advantage.

Sakara’s only one punch away from victory but if Chris Weidman the wrestler can out-strike him then I got to believe Stann and coach Greg Jackson can figure out a gameplan to knock off the longtime UFC stalwart. Stann via TKO.

LHW: Alexander Gustafsson (13-1) vs. Thiago Silva (14-2)

Symes: Honestly this has to be one of the best free-show main events in UFC history. Both men have become big fan favorites and have rarely disappointed inside the Octagon.

Alexander Gustafsson is coming into the bout on a four-fight winning streak that has seen the Swede finish all of his opponents. Gustafsson has spread the love as far as finishes go with two submission victories and two TKO victories.

Aside from his record which only shows one blemish, a loss to another top prospect in Phil Davis, Gustafsson has some impressive physical features that some fans believe could rival that of champion Jon Jones.

Thiago Silva meanwhile is coming back from a year-long suspension after swapping out samples for a urine test. Silva looked great against Brandon Vera but then again doesn’t mostly everyone look great when facing Vera?

I don’t know whether it was the PED’s or an improved Silva so this should be a good barometer at telling us where Silva ranks among the light heavyweights.

This should be a great fight for fans. If Silva can get Gustafsson to the mat he has a big advantage and Gustafsson has been submitted before. Look for the Swede to use footwork and straight punches to control the distance. Gustafsson by UD.

Thiago Silva (R) works from the clinch (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

De Souza: Gustafsson has come a long way from what he was before Phil Davis defeated him, and in all honesty, he might be a better fighter now than what his potential suggested when he first debuted. He’s come into his own as a striker and maintained a great grappling game along the way. Be will be tested when he faces a returning Thiago Silva on Saturday.

Of course, we all know Gustafsson is a phenom with many tools to win and a bright future ahead of him, but what can Silva do after over a year away from the cage?

Silva has two losses, both to former UFC champions, and thanks to a failed drug test, Silva has a no-contest in his UFC 125 bout with Brandon Vera. Nevertheless, Silva does have a little bit of experience over Gustafsson, and he also carries 11 of his finishes by way of some form of KO. In retrospect, that means that unless Silva has developed an awesome submission game that few truly know about, he’ll threaten the hometown boy on the feet just a little bit more than any opponent that Gustafsson’s faced thus far in his career.

Silva may not have stopped training since the Vera fight, but training and competing are two different animals, and I’d expect just a slight bit of ring rust as Gustafsson grounds Silva and works his ground game en route to acquiring a first-round TKO in his own hometown.

McKenna: In his time with the UFC, Gustafsson has done a nice job to rise up the ranking in the light heavyweight division.  Sure, in just his second fight with the promotion he lost, but it has proven to be a loss that has ultimately made him stronger.  His last two victories were against legitimate fighters which were basically stepping stones for him to get this fight, his first main event with the promotion. This fight is no doubt his biggest fight of his career, against his toughest opponent to date in Silva.

But Silva may be a little rusty, like Dale said.  A year away from the cage is a long time, and getting back into that groove may prove difficult for the Brazilian.  The problem with evaluating Silva right now is that his last performance is tainted.  He looked absolutely outstanding at UFC 125 against Brandon Vera, but you have to remove that performance from your mind due to the bout being turned into a no-contest. With that in mind, however, you can see how dominant he has been in his career. The guy has only lost to two fighters, both of which have held the UFC light heavyweight championship in Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida.  As far as overall talent is concerned, Silva has more of it than Gustafsson.

The issue for Silva is the ring rust, and where this fight takes place.  The arena in Sweden will be absolutely rocking when “The Mauler” makes his way to the cage the Swede will take that momentum and carry it into the cage with him. I think that this fight will be very close, but the edge will go to Gustafsson as he takes a close decision from Silva.

Top Photo: Alexander Gustafsson (RyanO’Leary/Sherdog)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.