Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith, the two most recent title challengers at 205lbs, will throw down at this year’s UFC Stockholm card in June.
It’s no surprise that Alexander Gustafsson is set to headline the UFC Stockholm card. His opponent? Well, that looks to be none other than recent UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith. ESPN was first to report the news on Saturday. If the fight does go down, it will see the last two challengers to fall to Jon Jones go toe-to-toe.
Gustafsson is the man credited for pushing Jones the furthest, at UFC 165 in Toronto back in 2013. ‘The Mauler’ lost a unanimous decision that night, and has competed in two title bids since: against Daniel Cormier, at UFC 192, where he lost a split decision. And against Jones at UFC 232 in December, where the Swede was finished by a third round TKO.
Gustafsson has struggled to make it to the octagon consistently in recent years, fighting just once per calendar year the last three years. If all goes well, that could change in 2019. And without question, he’s the right choice to headline UFC Stockholm.
Anthony Smith (31–14) had his momentum, and a three fight win streak, snapped at UFC 235 by Jones. ‘Lionheart’ showed plenty of heart in the fight. However, he had no answer for the conundrum that ‘Bones’ poses. A five round unanimous decision loss was no surprise by the end. With Gustafsson possessing a similar skill set, it will be interesting to see if Smith can adjust.
On the outside looking in? Corey Anderson. The forgotten light heavyweight is himself on a three fight win streak, but seems to have been surpassed in the title hunt by Thiago Santos. A fight against Gustafsson had been rumored, but that will have to wait.
UFC Stockholm (UFC Fight Night 152) takes place June 1 at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden.
Update – 4/19/2019: Due to a change in UFC broadcast plans, UFC Stockholm is now UFC Fight Night 153/UFC on ESPN+ 11