UFN 109: Gustafsson vs Teixeira- “Swedish Throwdown”

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Sunday afternoon is alright for fighting. Especially in Sweden. Stockholm’s own Alexander Gustafsson moved one massive step closer to an opportunity to rematch either Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier for the Light Heavyweight title. The Big Swede overcame Brazil’s Glover Teixeira in an epic battle, closing the show via knockout in the final round. A pretty eventful afternoon was highlighted by six knockouts, multiple underdogs coming through, a couple of late comebacks, and as always some questionable judging. With a 6-6 finish to my night, let’s take a look at what went right and want went wrong for each of my predicted fighters.

What Went Right
  • What a war! Both Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira put on a hell of a fight and show the Light Heavyweight division isn’t dead despite the recent subtraction of talent. Gustafsson was the quicker man, routinely landing first and getting the better of the exchanges as a result. An early eye poke could have inhibited Teixeira’s vision, but the effort on both sides was there. One of the best fights of 2017.
  • The odds were heavily in the favour of the Canadian veteran, but the fight was pretty competitive. Nordine Taleb relied on his wrestling to make the difference, scoring key takedowns to mute the young Swede’s offense.
  • In a fight that I expected to play out on the feet, Jack Hermansson made an unexpected and ultimately successful deviation. “The Joker” scored an early takedown and hammered down heavy GNP from top position before the official called off the fight.
  • The submission never materialized and it even appeared that Munhoz disengaged from potential choke opportunities, but a win is a win. Munhoz had a lot on the line against an unranked fighter like Stasiak, but in the end, it was a solid performance and showcase of his improving striking.
  • From start to finish, Trevor Smith dominated the fight and ground out a solid win over a fading Chris Camozzi. While he won’t crack the Top 15, the wrestling of “Hot Sauce” will give a large portion of the division trouble.
  • While it wasn’t the finish we were looking for, Darren Till put together a solid performance after a long layoff. His left looked sharp and he was simply the more impactful striker.
What Went Wrong…
  • There really isn’t much to say. Cirkunov got a little over anxious and rushed into a knockout. Oezdemir landed a single significant strike to “solidify” his spot in the ranks. It is a big setback for a fighter that had shown excellent composure through his first four fights.
  • Saunders was unable to get out of the gates and spent most of the fight trying to recover from an early knockdown. When a fighter has as many knockouts on his record as Saunders does, it has to be expected that his chin issues will rear their ugly head again.
  • Unable to secure the early stoppage, Razak Alhassan spent the majority of the fight dealing with the wrestling of Akhmedov. The formerly undefeated fighter had no answer for the heavy shot of the Russian and was unable to get the job done when he was able to remain vertical.
  • The Judge’s certainly didn’t help us here. I felt Madadi did enough to warrant the decision, but apparently only one judge agreed. Reza is pushing 40 and took the fight on short notice, that made it hard for him to maintain his offense late and opened the door for Silva to get back into the fight.
  • Adding to the pain of the Held defeat, Nico Musoke appeared to be ahead on the cards as well or at the least tied heading into the final round. The layoff seemed to compromise his cardio just enough to cost him in the latter half of the fight leading up to the knockout.
  • Held was most likely ahead going into the final round, but that changed quickly. He lost his last fight because he wasn’t active enough on top. Against Hadzovic, he lost because he didn’t cash in on his early opportunities.
Final Thoughts

While the Light Heavyweight division has taken several hits in the talent department, there are still some big fights on the horizon. Gustafsson had lost multiple high profile fights heading into Sunday’s card, but by beating Glover in a Fight of the Year Candidate, he will most likely get another shot at the title. I think I am more excited for that fight than the DC/Jones rematch.

I don’t know what to make of Oezdemir’s win. It didn’t show us much. I would much prefer to see a hard fought decision win when attempting to determine a fighter’s potential. It is a major disappointment for Cirkunov who had put together a more impressive over a longer time period. Hopefully, he can rebound.

My performance was frustrating, to say the least. In total, six underdogs cashed and I only picked one. I lost a tough split decision in the Madadi fight and was on the wrong end of a pair of come-from-behind upset wins early on the card. Finishing 3-3 on the main card hurts. June is a busy month and presents a number of opportunities to get hot.

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Draftkings Line up

Fighter 1: Misha Cirkunov $9300 
Fighter 2: Ben Saunders $8400 
Fighter 3: Abdul Razak Alhassan $9100 
Fighter 4: Jack Hermansson $8300 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 5: Trevor Smith $7300 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 6: Reza Madadi $7500 
Salary Remaining:
Fighter 1: Darren Till $9000 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med
Fighter 2: 
Fighter 3: 
Fighter 4: 

Alexander Gustafsson -269 vs Glover Teixeira +270 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Gus’s value has been on the decline for a bit which is discouraging. His track record in big fights has not been good. He is 0-2 in title fights and lost his title eliminator bout at home against Rumble. I have him winning this fight under more scenarios, but Glover is far from SOL. At this price I will most likely pass and see what else is out there.

**Update** The Value on Gus is starting to improve. He might find his way into a bet if it continues.


Same scenario here, this fight could be 5 rounds or it could be over quickly. The price on Gus is pretty rich compared to other options.

Misha Cirkunov -450 vs Volkan Oezdemir +400 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Big price on Misha against a fighter we don’t know a whole lot about. I’m not going to invest with such a poor return. I will look at a finish prop though.


Cirkunov has put up triple digits in all but 1 of his fights and finished each opponent. He has the ability to dominate early or take over late as Volkan slows down. I see him getting the finish and even at such a lofty price I will toss him into my lineup.

Ben Saunders -101 vs Peter Sobotta +100 

We come to our first bettable fight. Both fighters have put together a decent streak of late, but I think Saunders had faced the better competition. Saunders’s skill on the mat will give Sobotta issues and take away one of his key weapons. On the feet, Saunders isn’t flashy but he’ll put some decent volume together and keep Sobotta backing up. If this fight is close late and you are getting a decent return on a Live Bet for Saunders, take a shot. The judges have been favouring him in close decisions. Gold Play.


With his track record, a finish is not out of the question for Saunders. His aggression on the feet or the mat could certainly gain him some points and lead to a stoppage. He fits the budget nicely. Sign him up.

Abdul Razak Alhassan -229 vs Omari Akhmedov +221 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

I am certainly considering a play on Akhmedov. Fighters with a track record similar to Alhassan eventually (sooner, rather than later) will run into a fighter that can force them out of their comfort zone. That might occur as early as the end of round 1. Omari’s vulnerable and could very well become another victim, but I would recommend a small counter bet on him and look at the prop options for Alhassan.


Joining Cirkunov as a pricey purchase, Alhassan is on my team. He has never gone beyond the 90-second mark so if he win it will probably be a big point producer. With a couple of heavy dogs in play, I can afford him, so I will play him.

Nordine Taleb -470 vs Oliver Enkamp +400 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Nothing to see here. The short notice and low level of experience is concerning on Enkamp’s side and Taleb is getting up there in age. No Play.


A stoppage isn’t out of the question, but neither is a grinding decision. Pass.

Alex Nicholson +140 vs Jack Hermansson -152 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

This should be a pretty decent scrap. Both guys could take it to the mat, but their striking is their #1 weapon and I expect them to approach this fight as such. Hermansson’s volume and cardio should do the trick. Nicholson relies heavily on his kicking game which can wear a fighter down and make it hard to match a fighter that is throwing a more punch-centric offense. Round 1 will be close, watch for Live Bet options if Hermansson’s value improves, Nicholson will slow down. Gold Play.


Nicholson has been knocked out, but he has also shown a pretty stout chin. The “Joker” might be relying on his volume here to pile up the points. Against Askham, he hit the 88 point mark which is a fight that I feel will play out similar to this one. I could see Hermansson gaining a bit more of an edge in the second half in this fight. Add him.

Damian Stasiak +616 vs Pedro Munhoz -728 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Clearly, we aren’t investing here. Prop option is the way to go if at all.


I would like to sub Munhoz in, but at $9500 he is too expensive. I’m still $100 short if I consider trading him for Misha.

Chris Camozzi -180 vs Trevor Smith +170 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Camozzi’s TDD has been a constant issue, but he has found ways to win fights or at least keep them close despite getting taken down. In more recent fights, he has had issues keeping it close. Smith has the ability to take him down and keep him there. My biggest concern is the early exchanges when Camozzi still has some snap to his punches and Smith could get himself knocked out. Smith grinds his way to a win. Silver play.


“Hot Sauce” is very cheap. The Cheapest! Well at least in my lineup. He has submission skills which could score a finish or a combination of takedowns and position advances could produce for you as well. With the big hitters already locked in, Smith makes the math work and has promise.

Joaquim Silva -167 vs Reza Madadi +156 

I was a little surprised that Reza was the dog here. A “Mad Dog” yes, but the underdog- I like it. Silva has fought in just a single pro fight to go beyond the opening round. Madadi has never been finished. He might lose the opening round, but the combination of his durability and grinding style is going to be a lot for Silva to deal with in rounds 2 and 3. The short notice is concerning, but Madadi is an animal and is fighting at home. I like Reza to grind this one out and maybe even snatch a finish.


Madadi making my lineup follows a similar vein to Trevor Smith’s inclusion. Affordable, takedowns, and submission possibility. Not much else I need to say other than that. Add him.

Bojan Velickovic +130 vs Nico Musoke -125 

Musoke’s value is rising. The layoff is pretty sizeable, but fighting on home turf is going to help him. I simply haven’t been that impressed with Bojan. He can do some things well, but his lack of striking volume and less than stellar TDD are concerning. I see Musoke exploiting one or both of those issues on route to a decision win. The layoff has been dropping him back to a Silver play.


A decision seems like it could be in the cards. Pass.

Darren Till -330 vs Jessin Ayari +336 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

We got an aggressive Muay Thai striker against an elusive point fighter with a submission threat. Till is young, but he has been out of action. I think I will pass on this fight. If you are going to play Ayari, you might want to take a look at a decision prop to really bolster your return.


Till gets the call as a sub. He can take the place of either Misha or Alhassan. He is a little more affordable, but your options are still limited.

Damir Hadzovic +289 vs Marcin Held -327 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

Held has underachieved, but he still easily be 1-1. He is far from a Will Brooks level bust. That being said, he needs this win badly. If Hadzovic’s TDD is on point, this is his fight to win. I don’t see him keeping it vertical long enough to make it count, but your money is probably spent better elsewhere. No Play.


Held’s finishing skills are there, but his recent success and high price tag make him untouchable for me. Pass.


1. Pedro Munhoz -728 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

2. Alexander Gustafsson -269 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Misha Cirkunov -450 

4. Darren Till -330 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

5. Jack Hermansson -152 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med


6. Ben Saunders -101 

7. Nico Musoke -125 

8. Nordine Taleb -470 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

9. Reza Madadi +156 

10. Marcin Held -327 

11. Abdul Razak Alhassan -229 

12. Trevor Smith +170 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1. Reza Madadi +156 

2. Trevor Smith +170 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

3. Ben Saunders -101 

4. Nico Musoke -125 

5. Jack Hermansson -152 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

1. Omari Akhmedov: 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med Fighters with a roster built on quick knockouts usually hit a wall when they take a step up in competition. Alhassan’s is coming and it could be in the form of the big Russian. Take a small shot.






Exclusive Bet Pack Content.

Prop Bets

Alexander Gustafsson to Win by Decision +225 

While I think the knockout finish could materialize here, I see some value in the decision. Excluding Glover’s pro debut, both men have suffered just a single knockout each- both at the hands of Rumble Johnson. No shame in that. Close fight with both men having their moments, but Gus getting the better of it over 5-rounds.

Misha Cirkunov to Win by Submission +125 

The Under 1.5 is currently hovering around -115. Misha is a sizeable favourite and has won 4 of his last 5 fights by submission- 3 in the UFC. At plus money, it is hard not to take a shot at on the Latvian-Canadian. Oezdemir has a tendency to slow down (based on more than just his debut) and that will cost him once Cirkunov starts to break him down in the clinch.

Abdul Razak Alhassan/Omar Akhmedov Total Rounds Under 1.5 -156 

Alhassan has never gone beyond the 90-second mark. Whether that changes in this fight or the next, that will come to an end soon. He hits very hard and Akhmedov’s chin is a bit iffy. On the other side of the equation, Akhmedov packs some decent power and will be all over Abdul if he fades, potentially as quickly as the end of round 1. Play the Under.

Nordine Taleb to Win by Decision -104 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

While Taleb is a heavy favourite with several x-factors running against his opponent, his takedown-heavy style significantly increases the chance that this bout goes the distance. If you are going to make a play on this bout a decision finish is the way to go.

Damian Stasiak/Pedro Munhoz 

See Betting Scenario Section.

Darren Till/Jessin Ayari 

See Betting Scenario Section.

Damir Hadzovic/Marcin Held 12379140591570510706dholler_ok_svg_med

See Betting Scenario Section.