UFC 192: Cormier vs. Gustafsson Date: Oct. 3, 2015 Location: Houston, Texas Venue: Toyota Center Broadcast: PPV UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier Daniel Cormier (16-1) is a former Olympic freestyle wrestler-turned-heavyweight powerhouse out of American Kickboxing Academy who has had a rollercoaster’s share of ups and downs in his life. An excruciating 2008 Olympic bid in wrestling led Cormier to be named team captain, but he was unable to compete due to kidney failure during his weight cut. Moving to MMA, Cormier made his pro debut and hasn’t looked back since. Training with Cain Velasquez a host of quality talent out of AKA, Cormier has developed an explosive stand-up game to go along with his dangerous Olympic-level wrestling. He used those skills to plow through the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix as a reserve replacement for Alistair Overeem, knocking off Jeff Monson (unanimous decision), Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (first-round knockout) and Josh Barnett (unanimous decision) en route to the ‘championship.’ Cormier closed out Strikeforce with a second-round TKO of Dion Staring, then moved on to the Octagon to dominate Frank Mir and then later Roy Nelson at UFC 166. He then dropped down to 205lbs and picked up two stoppage wins over Dan Henderson and Patrick Cummins to earn his shot at the UFC light heavyweight title, but he lost a hard-fought decision to the champ Jon Jones at UFC 182. He was supposed to fight Ryan Bader in the main event of UFC Fight Night 68, but after Jones got involved in legal issues stemming from a hit-and-run, the UFC yanked Jones’ title away from him and Cormier took on Anthony Johnson, winning the vacant title by third-round submission. For his first title defence, the UFC has decided to match up Cormier with Alexander Gustafsson, and the two will meet at a later date in 2015. UFC Light Heavyweight Contender Alexander Gustafsson Alexander Gustafsson (16-4) has made his mark on the UFC light heavyweight division in the last few years. The 28-year-old Swede’s first loss up until 2013 came to Phil Davis, but since then, Gustafsson has improved immensely as he has used his size and extraordinary MMA boxing to climb to the top of the light heavyweight division. After amassing a long winning streak, Gustafsson was then given the light heavyweight title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 165 as the rest of the 205lb division was trying to sort itself out. Jones and Gustafsson would then meet at Air Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, and what would transpire there was simply incredible. No one had ever been so competitive against Jones, the greatest fighter in light heavyweight history, and Gustafsson opened up a lot of eyes with his performance. The challenger Gustafsson was able to take the champion Jones to decision, and though he ultimately lost the nod on the judges’ cards, many fans were calling for a rematch. The UFC decided to pair Gustafsson up with Jimi Manuwa instead, and Gustafsson knocked him out in brutal fashion to earn another title shot against Jones. However, the Swede got injured and had to pull out. With Jones getting matched up with Daniel Cormier at UFC 182, Gustafsson instead fought Anthony Johnson at UFC on FOX 14, and was shockingly knocked out in the first round. But after taking some time off to think about his career, Gustafsson is ready to return and the comeback starts with a surprising title shot against Cormier later in 2015. Opening UFC 192 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Cormier a -280 favorite (bet $280 to win $100) while Gustafsson opened as a +220 underdog (bet $100 to win $220) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Cormier recently defeated Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 to claim the vacant title, while Gustafsson is actually coming off of a brutal KO loss to Johnson at UFC on FOX 14. It’s rare to see a title challenger get a shot at the belt coming off of a loss, but the UFC felt Gustafsson was the top contender and gave him the title shot over Ryan Bader. Outside of a loss to Jon Jones, Cormier has been perfect in MMA and at 205lbs is the best fighter in the division with Jones out. However, Gustafsson — even though he’s coming off of a loss –presents an intriguing style matchup as he has the height and reach advantage, and overall the striking advantage on the feet. Cormier, with his world-class wrestling, is the favorite heading into this one, but Gustafsson is not to be taken lightly, and an upset should not shock anyone if it does indeed happen.
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