Undefeated welterweight Gunnar Nelson is getting the most high-profile assignment of his UFC career in his next bout. The talented Icelandic fighter is set for his first main event appearance at Fight Night 53 on Oct. 4 in Sweden against ultra-tough veteran Rick Story. Both men are coming off successful efforts in their last appearances and are currently holding down top-15 positions in the welterweight rankings.
The No. 12 ranked Nelson registered a second-round submission victory over Zak Cummings at Fight Night 46 in Ireland. It was another cool, calculated performance from “Gunni” who banked a second consecutive Performance of the Night bonus. Nelson has gone 4-0 since joining the organization after arriving with plenty of advance hype because of his world-class submission skills.
The 26-year-old Nelson has showcased his impressive grappling skills and dangerous ground game with three submission victories inside the Octagon. He also generates impressive power in the striking department. Nelson has a highly unorthodox style and fights with an unusually calm demeanor. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has an impressive 13-0-1 career mark and seems poised to produce big things in the 170-pound division. Twelve of Nelson’s victories have come by knockout or submission.
Story returned to the win column in his latest effort against Leonardo Mafra at Fight Night 45 in Atlantic City. “The Horror” utilized his strong wrestling skills against the Brazilian to grind out a second-round submission victory. The No. 15 ranked Story is as tough as they come having never been knocked out, but he has been unable to produce back-to-back wins since 2011. His best UFC stretch was a six-fight win streak from 2009 to 2011 that included decision victories over current welterweight champion Johny Hendricks and Thiago Alves. He’s faced many of the division’s best during his Octagon tenure.
This should be a very interesting matchup in Stockholm. Nelson will undoubtedly receive a warm reception from the Swedish fans as he looks to continue his rise up the welterweight ladder. Story is a durable veteran who’ll be intent on playing the role of spoiler.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports