Following a six-week break, the UFC returned to action on April 14 from the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. The event marked the promotion’s second appearance on the cable network, Fuel TV. The card, the UFC’s first time in Scandinavia, was headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Brazilian Thiago Silva and Alexander Gustafsson, who was fighting in his homeland. The six-fight main card was aired live on Fuel TV, while the preliminary card streamed live on Facebook.

Gustafsson cruises to victory over Silva

Light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson ensured that the Swedish crowd went home happy by outstriking Brazilian Thiago Silva throughout their three-round affair.

Silva engaged immediately to start the fight, but Gustafsson dropped him with a right hand. Silva recovered and regained his feet, but suffered a cut across the bridge of his nose during the exchange. Silva flurried frequently, but could not get inside Gustafsson’s significant reach advantage.

Gustafsson threw Silva to the mat to start the second round. The Swede continued to keep Silva at bay with his length. Silva connected with a right hand late in the round that appeared to rock Gustafsson briefly, but he failed to capitalize.

In the final frame, Gustafsson scored repeatedly with his jab and front kick. When the pair clinched in the center of the cage, Gustafsson landed a number of knees flush to Silva’s head.

When the final horn sounded, all three judges rewarded Gustafsson for his efforts.

“I’m ready for whatever the UFC has next for me,” the Swede told Kenny Florian in his post-fight interview when asked about a potential title shot.

Stann dismantles Sakara

American Brian Stann rebounded from his first loss at 185 pounds by knocking out Alessio Sakara in less than a round.

Stann opened the fight with faints and leg kicks. The pair exchanged in the center of the cage with Stann unloading on the Italian. A series of knees from the Muay Thai clinch sent Sakara crashing to the mat. Stann chased Sakara to the mat, but it appeared that Sakara had recovered from the onslaught. A pair of heavy left hands from inside the guard of Sakara put the Italian out for good at the midway point of the round.

Bahadurzada stuns Thiago with brutal knockout

Promotional newcomer Siyar Bahadurzada wasted little time establishing himself in the UFC’s welterweight division. The Afghanistan native connected with a right hand as Brazilian Paulo Thiago barreled forward, knocking Thiago out cold. The end came just 42 seconds into the bout. Following the bout, an elated Bahadurzada speculated that he may have broken his hand with the punch.

Siver narrowly edges Nunes

Dennis Siver made a successful debut at 145 pounds, taking a closely-contested decision over Brazilian Diego Nunes.

Nunes and Siver exchanged a plethora of kicks to begin the fight. Siver looked for a takedown, but Nunes scrambled and kept the fight standing. The two searched for their range throughout the opening frame, with neither establishing an advantage.

The second stanza began with a wheel kick attempt from Nunes. Siver twice tried for takedowns, dipping under a spinning back fist on one occasion, but Nunes showed good balance to keep the fight upright. Both fighters struggled to find a rhythm.

Siver connected with a left hand early in the third, but Nunes countered and hurt the German fighter briefly. Nunes gained the Muay Thai plumb and delivered a few knees before Siver separated. With a minute remaining, Siver looked for another takedown along the cage, but could not secure it. Siver flurried late, but the fight went the distance.

All three judges felt Siver had done enough to earn the win.

Maguire uses superior grappling to finish Johnson

John Maguire moved to 2-0 in his UFC career by submitting fellow welterweight DaMarques Johnson with a second-round armbar.

Maguire scored with a single leg takedown in the opening minute of the bout. Johnson briefly looked for a guillotine, then attacked with an omoplata, but Maguire escaped. Maguire took Johnson’s back in the final minute of the round, but could not finish.

The second round started with Maguire landing an overhand left and followed with a takedown. Johnson reversed the position quickly, landing in Maguire’s guard. Maguire looked for a triangle choke from the bottom, but Johnson defended. Maguire scored with another takedown which Johnson countered with a kimura attempt. Maguire turned the tables and locked in an armbar that ended the fight.

Pickett chokes Page in high-paced battle

Bantamweights Brad Pickett and Damacio Page wasted little time in providing the main card with action, with Pickett scoring an impressive submission finish.

In a frenetic opening frame, the two fighters traded takedowns and big shots. Neither fighter threatened to finish the fight, but they maintained a relentless pace. As the round progressed, it was the Brit Pickett that got the better of the wrestling to earn the round.

The second round saw Pickett connect with a left hook in the opening minute that dropped Page to the mat. Pickett pinned Page against the fence and rained right hands. Pickett transitioned to the neck of Page and looked for a guillotine, but Page escaped. Back on the feet, Pickett again hurt Page with his striking, landing an uppercut and forcing Page to give up his back. From there, Pickett applied the fight-finishing rear-naked choke.

Undercard Summary

In his welterweight debut, James Head needed less than a round to dispatch of Papy Abedi. Abedi looked strong early, scoring a takedown and his lead hook. Head, however, found his range and hurt Abedi on the feet before finishing him with the rear-naked choke as the first round neared its end.

French striker Cyrille Diabate survived a strong first round from his last-minute opponent Tom DeBlass to take a majority decision win. DeBlass, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, dominated the grappling in the opening frame, but his conditioning failed him in the later rounds. Diabate took advantage and claimed victory on the scorecards.

Francis Carmont spoiled the Octagon debut of Swedish middleweight Magnus Cedenblad, scoring a second-round submission. Cedenblad took the opening round, after the pair traded takedowns and dominant positions. However, in the second frame, Carmont poured it on, raining heavy shots from the top and forcing the Swede to give up his back and tap to the choke.

Swedish-based Reza Madadi electrified the crowd in Stockholm by finishing off Yoislandy Izquierdo with a mounted, second-round guillotine. Madadi was forced to deal with Izquierdo’s pinpoint striking, but showcased his superior grappling throughout the fight.

Norwegian welterweight Simeon Thoresen handed Swedish fighter Besam Yousef his first loss in both fighters’ Octagon debuts. After a spirited first round, Thoresen took advantage of his huge reach advantage to hurt Yousef on the feet, before finishing him on the ground with a rear-naked choke.

British featherweight Jason Young used his technical striking to setup a number of takedowns and claim a decision over American Eric Wisely. Young claimed the first two rounds, but was forced to withstand a desperate Wisely in the final frame.

Main Card Results

Alexander Gustafsson def. Thiago Silva by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Brian Stann def. Alessio Sakara by KO (strikes). Round 1, 2:26

Siyar Bahadurzada def. Paulo Thiago by KO (punch). Round 1, 0:42

Dennis Siver def. Diego Nunes by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

John Maguire def. DaMarques Johnson by submission (armbar). Round 2, 4:40

Brad Pickett def. Damacio Page by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 4:05

Preliminary Card Results

James Head def. Papy Abedi by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 4:33

Cyrille Diabate def. Tom DeBlass by majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)

Francis Carmont def. Magnus Cedenblad by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 1:42

Reza Madadi def. Yoislandy Izquierdo by submission (guillotine choke). Round 2, 1:28

Simeon Thoresen def. Besam Yousef by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 2:36

Jason Young def. Eric Wisely by unanimous decision (30-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Photo: Alexander Gustafsson (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)