Rick Story upsets undefeated prospect Gunnar Nelson in Sweden

Rick Story takes out Gunnar Nelson by split decision in Sweden

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Rick Story derailed the Gunnar Nelson hype train with a masterful performance on Saturday, out striking and beating up the Icelandic prodigy for the biggest part of 25-minutes in Sweden.

The fight was supposed to be Nelson’s introduction to the top 10 of the welterweight division as he headlined his first show after going undefeated through his first four fights in the UFC. Instead, Story was the crafty veteran who beat him to the punch, stuffed his takedowns and out worked him for five rounds.

When the fight started it looked like a typical Nelson performance as he took the center of the Octagon and tried to lure Story into making a bad decision.  The Icelander put Story down with a nice inside trip as just about everyone watching wondered how long it would take for him to lock on one of his fight ending submissions.

Unfortunately for Nelson, Story wasted no time getting back to his feet where he started to systematically dismantle his opponent’s lead leg with kicks.  Once Story got Nelson thinking about the leg kicks, he started to come over the top with combinations that battered the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and left him bewildered on how to counter with offense of his own.

In the fourth round, Story hammered Nelson with a huge shot that slipped through his defense and sent him crashing to the mat.  Story followed up with a big barrage on the ground, but Nelson survived to the final five minutes. It didn’t get much better, however, as Story stalked and landed two and three punches before his opponent could really return fire.

When it was all over, Story was clearly the superior fighter although the first judge of the night Jim Bergman returned a 48-47 score, calling Nelson the winner.  Thankfully judges Mark Collett and Paul Sutherland saw it for Story and he gets the win by split decision, handing Nelson his first career loss.

"He’s a stud, I have the highest respect for him," Story said about Nelson after the upset victory.  "Right now, I don’t know what the standings are, I don’t really pay attention to them, I just know I belong up there. I don’t care who I face next, line them up and I’m ready to fight."

Story has always been a threat to the top fighters in the welterweight division and he’s currently the only active competitor on the UFC roster to hold a win over champion Johny Hendricks.  His move to the MMA Lab in Arizona where he’s working with coach John Crouch seems to be paying huge dividends and now Story can jump back into the thick of the top 10 for his next matchup.

As for Nelson, the loss is certainly a set back considering the amount of attention he’s received in the last couple of years.  A move down to 155-pounds might be the logical next step, but this also may serve as a lesson learned so he can improve and come back even better than before. 

Full results for the entire fight card below:


Rick Story def. Gunnar Nelson by split decision (47-48, 49-46, 50-44)

Max Holloway def. Akira Corassani by TKO (strikes) at 3:11, R1

Jan Blachowicz def. Ilir Latifi by TKO (strikes) at 1:58, R1

Mike Wilkinson def. Niklas Backstrom by knockout at 1:19, R1


Magnus Cedenblad def. Scott Askham by unanimous decision (29-28 on all cards)

Nico Musoke def. Alexander Yakovlev by unanimous decision (30-27 on all cards)

Dennis Siver def. Charles Rosa by unanimous decision (30-27 on all cards)

Cathal Pendred def. Gasan Umalatov by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Krzysztof Jotko def. Tor Troeng by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)

Mairbek Taisumov def. Marcin Bandel by TKO (strikes) at 1:01, R1

Zubaira Tukhugov def. Ernest Chavez by TKO (strikes) at 4:21, R1