Photo: per Häljestam/ USA Today SPORTS

Alexander Gustafsson returns to UFC for fight with ex heavyweight champ

Former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson is set for his UFC comeback, sources confirm

Swedish light heavyweight star Alexander Gustafsson is back, and he will be facing none other than former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. The bout will be contested at heavyweight, and will take place at heavyweight, July 25th, Fight Island. Brazil’s Combate first reported the fight, reliable sources close to the situation later confirmed these reports to MMAnytt.

Gustafsson retired from MMA last year following a submission loss to Anthony Smith. Since then, however, he has teased a return and even flirted with the idea of moving up to heavyweight. The Swede admitted that the tough loss on home soil may have spurred an earlier retirement than first planned. The bout at heavyweight will be Gustafsson’s first in MMA.

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Werdum is a crafty veteran, who won knocked out Mark Hunt to win the interim heavyweight title. He then unified titles after submitting Cain Velasquez in the third round. Werdum lost his first title defence to Stipe Miocic via knockout, and is on a 3-3 run since then. Currently, he sits on a two fight losing streak, most recently having lost a close split decision to Aleksei Oleinik. That was after coming off of a suspension for banned substances. Throughout his storied career, Werdum has defeated the likes of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fedor Emelianenko.

Gustafsson is currently also on a two fight losing streak, to Smith and current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones before that. Previous to those losses, Gustafsson held victories over Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira. Gustafsson has come up short in his three bids to capture the UFC light heavyweight title, perhaps his shot at UFC gold resides in the heavyweight division.

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With roots in muay thai and as an avid combat sports fan, Sebastian Vendel-Martinez grew up while the MMA scene was blossoming in Sweden. He became part of the MMAnytt team in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the most prominent MMA reporters in Scandinavia. Currently he continues to work as a writer, reporter, video producer/editor and head editor for MMAnytt.com

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