Rising star and welterweight prospect Gunnar Nelson was successful again at UFC Fight Night 46. The 25-year-old Icelandic MMA fighter pulled off his third submission victory inside the Octagon, putting away Zak Cummings with a rear-naked choke in the second round.
This puts Nelson at 13-0-1 in his MMA career and 4-0 in the UFC. After spending over a year on the shelf in 2013, Nelson has come back this year with a vengeance. He has been much more active, winning two fights by submission so far in 2014. Nelson has all the makings of a future title contender, and possibly even a champion, at welterweight. The next step for Nelson is to take a higher level fight in the top 10 of UFC’s welterweight class.
Nelson’s original opponent for UFC Fight Night 46 was supposed to be Ryan LaFlare, who is also undefeated and shares a 4-0 record in the UFC. However, LaFlare has withdrawn due to an injury. Honestly, this bout getting scrapped was a blessing in disguise. Both fighters are potentially rising stars and prospects, and it might have been too soon for this fight to be put together. If and when these two finally face off, they will be much bigger, established names in the Octagon. The fight will mean a lot more at that point. Plus, the fight would have run the risk of knocking off a future strong contender for the welterweight division.
Nelson’s next challenge should be someone much higher up in the welterweight rankings, hopefully in the top 10 of the division. Nelson currently sits at No. 13 in the rankings, but his placement could change after his performance this weekend. Looking at fighters who are coming off wins and are not matched up at the moment in the top 10 of the rankings, you have the likes of Tarec Saffiedine, Hector Lombard and Demian Maia.
Any one of these matchups would be interesting fights, along with tough tests for Nelson. These are the type of fighters Nelson will need to face in order to prove he can be a contender at welterweight. Regardless, so far so good for the progression of Gunnar Nelson’s UFC career.