FOX UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Johnson Crystal Ball Predictions
In the co-main event, MMA legend and former two-division champ Dan Henderson lays it all on the line to try and make another run against Gegard Mousasi.
In another featured bout, Phil Davis and Ryan Bader both fight to prove that they are ready for the next level at 205 pounds. Read our analysis and predictions below and then let us know who you’ve got in the comments section and on Twitter!
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Johnson
In the Stockholm main event, we’ve got the man who proved he has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the light heavyweight champion taking on a prodigal UFC son who has looked unstoppable for the past two years. The former is Alexander Gustafsson, who lost a controversial decision to Jon Jones in 2013, and has had injuries and stalling from the champ put off their rematch.
The latter, of course, is former welterweight Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, who dominated Gustafsson’s training partner — and the last man to convincingly beat him — Phil Davis two fights ago.
It’s impossible to tell how good Gustafsson will be after a decent lay-off and a knee injury. If he is anything as good as he was against Jones at UFC 165, he should be the favorite against Johnson. For his part, "Rumble" will want to get in the Swedish hero’s face and hit him with bombs, early on, and then have the conditioning to keep doing it for five rounds, if he wants a shot at "Bones," next.
That won’t be an easy task with Gustafsson’s reach and excellent footwork, however. As for takedowns, the man who mixes his strikes up best and who has the better timing will be the one with the wrestling advantage.
We get the feeling that this fight could end 10 different ways if the pair fought 10 times. In the end, we have to go with Gustafsson by virture of his proven conditioning and championship-level experience edge.
Prediction: Gustafsson via decision
Gegard Mousasi vs. Dan Henderson
With his solid chin, skilled stand-up striking and solid Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Gegard Mousasi is good enough to have given the Dan Henderson of 10 or so years ago a run for his money. Of course, the Henderson whom Mousasi will face Saturday night in Sweden is a 44-year-old version who has beaten just one man since 2011 and has taken a lot of punishment in just about every fight he’s been in for years now.
As such, Mousasi has to be considered the favorite in this fight. He’s fresher, younger, and quicker. That said, Henderson can never be counted out because of the power and conditioning he holds in his fists and heart.
Henderson is always one punch away from winning, but it would be great to see him use a smart gameplan for the first time in his career. That’s what would give him his best shot against Mousasi.
If Henderson makes a concerted effort to stay safe on the feet and swing mostly to close the distance, he could very well take Mousasi down, and keep him on his back or finish him. If Hendo insists on swinging for the fences, as he usually does, he runs the risk of being countered with strikes or being taken down himself.
We’d like to think the legend will fight smart and give himself a good shot at winning, but he’s likely too gutsy and reckless for that. So, we have to pick Mousasi, if he is sharp and aggressive.
Prediction: Gegard Mousasi by decision
Phil Davis vs. Ryan Bader
Though they’ve both come close, neither Phil Davis nor Ryan Bader have been able to break through to the very top of the light heavyweight division and challenge for a world title. Despite setbacks, however, both men have shown incredible fortitude to claw their way back into contention, and are each currently riding impressive streaks of wins.
Bader has won three straight fights, and Davis has won four out of his last five. Now, they meet to decide who will move forward in the division.
Because of the strength of his recent list of opponents, we believe that Davis has the advantage here. In his last three fights, the former NCAA wrestling national champion has faced Glover Teixeira, Lyoto Machida and Anthony Johnson.
He’s only lost to Johnson, beating both the former champ Machida and title challenger Teixeira. That says a lot about where Davis has evolved to in the division.
We see his funky strikes, at the end of his long reach, as well as his wrestling causing Bader problems. That said, if Bader can use footwork and get his timing down to make Davis pay for his pawing jab, he has the athleticism to threaten.
Prediction: Davis by unanimous decision
Draft Kings Picks:
In my first ever Draft Kings contest lineup, I mixed it up between underdogs and picks I felt solid in. First up, I drafted Phil Davis.
He’s in a hard-to-call fight against Bader, but I like the strength of his recent competition, over Bader’s and his awkward striking with his long reach.
Next, I chose Kenny Robertson over Sultan Aliev on the strength of his wrestling.
This next fight is a tough one to pick, but I like Albert Tumenov over Nico Musoke by decision.
Next, the dogs – I grabbed Anthony Johnson because, though I think Gustafsson is the man with more tools, "Rumble" is an exciting underdog because he can finish the fight at any time.
That’s pretty much the reason I chose Dan Henderson as well. Mousasi is the smart pick, but "Hendo" can always win big with a KO.
To make sure you catch all of the action from FOX UFC Fight Night check out our viewing and schedule guide for everything going down in Stockholm!