UFC Light Heavyweight Bout: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Johnson
Betting Pick: Johnson
Bet on this fight at Bovada
All the way from across the pond, UFC Fight Night on Fox 14 comes to us from Stockholm, Sweden this Saturday, January 24th. On the top of the card is the fight that could determine the next opponent for Jon Jones. Alexander Gustafsson will square of against Anthony Johnson. As we all remember, Gustafsson was as close as anyone to knocking Jones off the throne in their last fight as he came up just short. Anthony Johnson and his struggles have always been a headline in the UFC due to the undeniable talent that he possesses. Johnson has been on a tear as of late and Gustafsson hasn’t been in the octagon since last March will make for a fight no UFC fan will want to miss.
#3 Contender – Anthony Johnson 18-4
Anthony Johnson has been a wrecking ball in the UFC ever since his last reinstatement. Johnson hasn’t lost a fight since January 2012, and I don’t believe Johnson believes that is going to change. After Johnson quit trying to cut weight and began to fight in his normal weight class, we’ve been able to see the true talent this kid has to offer. Johnson comes into this fight with heavier hands, a better takedown average, and more effective takedown defense. Johnson is going to want to keep this fight on his feet. If you really crunch the numbers, Johnson has a 5% advantage in avoiding strikes from his opponent. If Gustafsson is ever to feel at a disadvantage on his feet, Johnson will more effectively be able to avoid any sort of takedown Gustafsson may try. My advice for Johnson would be to keep the physical advantages Gustafsson may have by keeping the fight in close proximity. With his knockout ability, any well significant strike could end the fight and his chances of landing one of these will be much higher from close range. Johnson is a slight underdog according to the odds makers at an average of +225. Being that this fight to most is a coin-flip, this could be a great bet.
#1 Contender – Alexander Gustafsson 16-2
To most, including himself, Gustafsson has the advantage in this fight. As stated earlier, Gustafsson has been the closest to knocking Jon Jones from his throne in their last bout. Gustafsson has every skill needed to win this figh,t he just needs to be able to use them at the right time. First off, if Gustafsson somehow is able to take this to the ground, Gustafsson has a significant advantage on the ground over Johnson. His submission skills are significantly better in every way and at some point in the fight; he needs to consider if that would be tactically smart. Looking at the number, striking is almost like a toss-up. With the slight reach advantage, Gustafsson should be able to keep this fight at somewhat of a distance. He doesn’t have the knockout ability of Johnson but looking back at many of his previous fights, he has the smarts to work a fight in ways that makes his advantages over his opponent shine. Gustafsson is going to keep this fight on his feet with Johnson, that’s just how its going to go but Gustafsson has slight more skills than Johnson has, and has seen better opponents in his career. Johnson also has a slightly poor defense when it comes to striking. Despite his rock-hard chin, if Gustafsson consistently lands what he normally does, this fight will get ugly, quickly. The odds makers have Gustafsson the favorite in this fight for good reason. Sitting around -280 averages in the sports books, Gustafsson to me is a scary bet. You’re looking at more of a coin-flip type of fight and needing to bet $280 to win a $100 just seems a bit worry-some to me.
This is going to be one hell of a fight. You’re talking about two fighters that, presumably whoever wins will get the spot to fight against Jones in his next title bout. For me, I like Johnson in this one with regards to betting and winning the fight. First off, Johnson is just a better bet when it comes to making money. This fight is basically a toss-up and his odds are high enough that you can make a pretty coin off of it. Secondly, I think he just has the mental advantage. He’s been on a tear since his last reinstatement and whole-heartedly doesn’t believe that even with the fight in Sweden, that’s ending anytime soon. Johnson will keep Gustafsson close and make him work to land anything significant.
Prediction: Anthony “Rumble” Johnson by third round T/KO.