UFC Fight Night 109: Gustafsson vs. Teixeira is a night for the light heavyweight division. Number one contender Alexander Gustafsson headlines the event in his hometown of Stockholm on May 28th.
The light heavyweight division has been dormant since the downfall of Jon Jones, the former division champion. The UFC has been awaiting his return for some time now, and all this waiting has caused the division to go stagnant.
Another title fight between Jones and Daniel Cormier has been announced for UFC 214, but let’s not count our chickens before they hatch. The rematch has fallen through twice before, first at UFC 197 when Cormier pulled out due to injury, and then at UFC 200 when Jones failed a drug test. Number three contender Jimi Manuwa will be on the card, just in case he’s needed to fill in.
Fight Night 109 features a bout between the number one and two contenders in the light heavyweight division, Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira. There will also a lower-tier light heavyweight fight between Volkan Oezdemir and Misha Cirkunov.
Will the light heavyweight division finally come to life?
Here’s a look at the odds for Fight Night 109.
Alexander Gustafsson (-195) vs. Glover Teixeira (+135)
Gustafsson (17-4) and Teixeira (26-5) are the two top contenders for the light heavyweight division, but they’ve fought in the shadow of Cormier and Jones for some time now. Gustafsson has lost to both Jones and Cormier, while Teixeira has lost to Jones and has yet to face Cormier.
Outside of the big two, Gustafsson is the man to watch in this division. He gave Jones arguably the toughest fight of his career and narrowly lost to Cormier by split decision. He handed Manuwa his first ever defeat and most recently made easy work of Jan Błachowicz.
Teixeira has established himself as the number two contender in the division, but his fight record isn’t too impressive. He won his most recent bout against Jared Cannonier, but before that, was thoroughly outclassed by Jones, and knocked out within a matter of seconds by Anthony Johnson.
The winner of this fight will have to wait a while before receiving another title shot, but with so few noteworthy newcomers in the division, their time will come soon enough. Gustafsson has already had two title shots and came very close to winning both times. I think third time will be a charm for him.
Pick: Alexander Gustafsson (-195)
Volkan Oezdemir (+190) vs. Misha Cirkunov (-270)
Lower down the card, Cirkunov (13-2) and Oezdemir (14-1) meet for another light heavyweight clash.
Cirkunov has won all four of his UFC fights, most recently defeating the young Nikita Krylov. He hasn’t lost a bout since 2012 and has been extremely active in the last few years. He’s yet to fight a notable opponent, and Oezdemir may be his toughest opponent to date.
Oezdemir has climbed to fifth place in the official UFC light heavyweight rankings after he defeated Ovince St. Preux in his UFC debut. That’s not too impressive though, since Saint Preux has been pretty woeful as of late. The seventh-ranked Cirkunov will be a much tougher task.
As far as I can see, there’s not too much between the two. Volkan Oezdemir is listed as the underdog even though he’s higher on the official rankings, which doesn’t make too much sense. So why not throw your support behind him?
Pick: Volkan Oezdemir (+190)