Gunnar Nelson back with matchup against Dagestani Omari Akhemdov
One of Europe’s most intriguing prospects is back. Icelandic fighter Gunnar Nelson, who has sat out most of the second half of the year while recovering from injury, has his return date set. It will come on March 8, when he faces rugged Dagestani Omari Akhmedov at a UFC Fight Night event in London.
The UFC announced the matchup on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Nelson is unbeaten in his career at 11-0-1, and has defeated both of his UFC foes since joining the promotion in 2012.
In both of those matches, he gained experience gaining bigger men. In one, he defeated former Sengoku middleweight champ Jorge Santiago. In the other, he choked out DeMarques Johnson after Johnson weighed in at 183 pounds for a 175-pound catch weight fight.
Those experiences will come in handy in facing Akhmedov, who has spent his career up to this point as a middleweight.
He debuted at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson, knocking out Thiago Perpetuo in less than a round. For that fight, Akhmedov weighed a comfortable 182, making his move to 170 a near certainty.
He is 12-1 in his career and has won 11 straight fights overall.
The London card, which emanates from the O2 Arena, features a main event of Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi Manuwa. The matchup is significant because if Gustafsson emerges victorious, he will once again become the light-heavyweight division’s No. 1 contender and set up a potential rematch with Jon Jones.
On Tuesday, the UFC also officially announced the welterweight pairing of Danny Mitchell vs. Igor Araujo for the card.