ESPN reports that light-heavyweight contenders Alexander Gustafsson and Volkan Oezdemir will meet at UFC 227 later this Summer.
It appears that Alexander Gustafsson will be taking his talents to Los Angeles after all. ESPN reports that “The Mauler” will be competing at UFC 227 on August 4 against former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir. The bout pits two of the highest ranked light-heavyweights in the world in what is expected to be an exciting collision of European strikers.
Alexander Gustafsson has been targeted for the card for several weeks, most frequently in conjunction with former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, who has expressed interest in moving up. Gustafsson has not fought since May of 2017 where he defeated Glover Teixeira in one of the most exciting contests of the year. Prior to that, he had notched a victory over Jan Blachowicz following a failed bid to wrest the light-heavyweight championship from Daniel Cormier in 2015.
Volkan Oezdemir had a break-out year in 2017, amassing three victories in his debut year in the Octagon. All of them came over opponents ranked in the top ten, and it led to a title shot for “No Time” earlier this January. He came up short in his own shot at Cormier, and the bout with Gustafsson will be his first fight since then. Oezdemier was previously connected to a bout with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on July 22 in Germany but the has UFC opted to move him forward to August 4 for the date with the Swedish striker. Currently, the promotion is exploring options for a replacement opponent for Rua.
The bout comes at a crucial time in the light-heavyweight division. Champion Daniel Cormier has stated he does not plan to continue fighting past his 40th birthday on March 20 next year. With the UFC schedule, he figures only to compete two more times at maximum in that time frame. Depending on the outcome of Cormier’s upcoming bout with Stipe Miocic, the winner of Gustafsson vs. Oezdemir could figure to be the final bout of the light-heavyweight champion’s career.
UFC 227 is scheduled to be headlined by the bantamweight title fight between TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt. In the co-main event, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will look to make his twelfth title defense against top contender Henry Cejudo. It is expected that Gustafsson vs. Oezdemir will be on the pay-per-view portion of the card.