UFC London: Gunnar Nelson Defeats Takashi Sato After Two Year Layoff

Gunnar Nelson and Takashi Sato, UFC London
Gunnar Nelson and Takashi Sato, UFC London ceremonial Weigh-In Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Returning to action for the first time in well over two years was Iceland’s, Gunnar Nelson. Originally booked against Claudio Silva, a late withdrawal by the Brazilian resulted in Japan’s Takashi Sato stepping into the fight on short notice.

After 29-months away from active competition, Nelson got back into the win column.

Both fighters took the center of the octagon after a touch of gloves. A low kick from Sato started the fight. Nelson blocked a high kick. Nelson tried to clinch Sato, but it was defended. Body kick from Nelson lands. 2:54 left in the first round, and Sato defended a clinch from Nelson again. Two minutes left in the first round, and Nelson landed a takedown and immediately took Sato’s back. Nelson locked up a body triangle and started landing some heavy shots. The round ended with Nelson landing shots from Sato’s back.

Pretty dominant round from Nelson. Welcome back to action, “Gunni.”

Round two started with Sato coming out aggressive, landing a body punch. Nelson tried to clinch a minute into the round, but Sato defended twice. 2:57 left in the round, and not much happened. Nelson finally landed a punch, and then a takedown followed, putting him right into side control. Sato got back to his knees, but Nelson grabbed his back again. Nelson started landing hard punches again from Sato’s back. The rounded ended precisely the same as the first.

With Sato knowing he needed a finish, he again came out aggressive. Nelson clinched Sato and landed a nasty knee to the body. Sato landed a left hand that got Nelson’s attention. Nelson landed a power takedown with 3:15 left and got Sato’s back again. Nelson was landing his ground and pound from Sato’s back like he had been for the past two rounds. Nelson locked up a face crank with less than a minute left, but Sato defended.

Dominant win for Nelson in his return, and he snapped his two-fight losing streak.

Gunnar Nelson def. Takashi Sato via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)