According to a report from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, a light heavyweight bout between former title challengers Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson and Anthony “Lionheart” Smith is set to headline a UFC Fight Night card on June 1 in Stockholm, Sweden from Ericcson Globe.
Prior to this news, Gustafsson had responded to a call out from Corey Anderson on Twitter with both sides agreeing to fight, but in the end, it appears as if the UFC preferred a matchup between Gustafsson and Smith.
Gustafsson’s Recent Run
“The Mauler” has been out of action since last December’s UFC 232. There he came up short against current champion Jon “Bones” Jones, losing their rematch via third-round TKO. Prior to that, he had won back-to-back fights over Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira.
Smith’s Recent Run
Smith, on the other hand, just fought earlier this month. Smith also took on Jones for the 205-pound title in the main event of UFC 235. Ultimately, he fell short in his bid for the title, losing a one-sided decision to “Bones”.
Heading into his first UFC title shot, “Lionheart” rode an impressive three-fight winning streak. His streak included consecutive stoppage victories over Rashad Evans, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and Volkan Oezdemir.
What’s At Stake
In regards to what’s at stake in this bout, both men will be fighting to remain relevant within the light heavyweight title picture.
Gustafsson has come up short in all three of his bids for the title. Losing twice to Jones and once to former light heavyweight champion (now heavyweight champion) Daniel Cormier. But he remains one of the best fighters in the division and a win over another former title challenger would once again prove that.
Smith, meanwhile, has experienced a career resurgence of sorts. This resurgence came since he moved up in weight in 2018. Yet, he was outclassed against Jones. Should he get the better of Gustafsson, however, he’ll prove that he does indeed rank amongst the top contenders of light heavyweight.