There is plenty of local talent filling up the fight card for UFC Stockholm, including a very interesting main event.
As is the case with most UFC events, the undercard, and even main card have loads of local talent to give the fans that extra emotion. This card is no different, with the hometown Swedish leading the charge with six fighters entering the Octagon on home court at UFC Stockholm.
For those who don’t know the Nordic Countries consist of, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland (also including territories). The term Nordic Countries refers to the Scandinavian region which the Norseman Vikings controlled. Fast forward a few centuries and we are looking forward to seeing the ancestors of those Norseman enter the cage for a different type of war. Overall there are eight Nordic fighters on the card.
Alexander Gustafsson is, of course, the most notable of the eight, and of the entire card. A title challenger multiple times in the making. The top ranked light heavyweight looks to earn a tough win and re-enter his name into the title contender worthy category. Gustafsson is a native of Stockholm, Sweden and will undoubtedly have the crowd on his side for the main event. Gustafsson is set to face a fighter he has something in common with, a previous defeat at the hands of Jon Jones. Arguably one of the top, if not the top, mixed martial artist to come out of the Nordic region, Gustafsson looks to once again book his ticket to the ever elusive world title.
As previously stated the Swedish fans have plenty to cheer for when it comes to local talent. Ilir Latifi has long been chasing the light heavyweight title as well. The 35-year-old Latifi looks to jump back into the win column but standing in his way is Volkan Oezdemir who is in desperate need for a victory. Latifi, a native of Malmo, Sweden now trains in Florida, but there is little doubt that being home to fight in the co-main event slot will feel more than special in the heart of Latifi, now a win is all that can help that feeling.
Let’s not forget some other local Nordic talent, there may be plenty of Swedish talent filling the card but other countries are well represented as well. Makwan Amirkhani, although born in Iraq, has considered Finland his true home for some time now. In fact, Amirkhani’s MMA nickname is “Mr.Finland.” Amirkhani has not fought since defeating former UFC fighter Jason Knight via split decision a year ago. What better card to make a return for, the Straight Blast Gym trainee Amirkhani looks to show the layoff was nothing in another main card fight, this time very close to home.
A Bosnian at birth, but worth the mention as he now calls Denmark home, Damir Hadzovic is looking for his third straight win on UFC turf. He will have a tall task in Christos Giagos another top lightweight prospect. Handzovic may not be a Nordic by birth but certainly will feel at home in this one.
The main card will begin with a former Ultimate Fighter cast member of Team Europe, David Teymur. Teymur, a native of Stockholm, Sweden will get full on fan favorite treatment when Bruce Buffer announces his name. Teymur was riding a five fight win streak before suffering a defeat at UFC Fortaleza. A winner of eight of his ten total fights, Teymur will look to open the main card with some happy European fans in a post victory speech.
Rostem Akman and Lina Lansberg
We aren’t done with the Swedish talent welcomed home on this card. On the prelims, we have Rostem Akman and Lina Lansberg looking to dominate in their home country. Lansberg, a native of Malmo, Sweden, may need a victory to continue her UFC run as she stands at an under .500 UFC record as of today, a victory over the dangerous Tanya Evinger could revamp her career. Akman, a fellow Swede, is an undefeated prospect making his much anticipated UFC debut on the prelims, at home. The Swedish welterweight has finished all six of his professional fights and shall look to do the same to his opponent, also making his UFC debut, Sergey Khandozhko.
Last but not least is Bea Melecki, only one professional fight under her belt, plus an Ultimate Figther season to add some experience, Melecki is a rare find. A Swedish native, the skilled prospect must go up against another top name and recent signee in Duda Santana. A lot of eyes will be on this fight to start off our pre-lims, but most of those eyes will be rooting for the hometown girl in Melecki.
UFC Stockholm takes place on Saturday, June 1, 2019, live from the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your live results and highlights throughout the week.