UFC London is almost upon us folks and the juices for this one are in full flow. The contest that has me enthralled is the co-main event Gunnar Nelson vs Alan Jouban at welterweight. For those of you that don’t know – the Icelandic martial artist Gunnar Nelson fights out of John Kavanagh’s SBG gym in Ireland. In fact it was Nelson rather than Mcgregor that first started making waves in the UFC around 2012. Nelson is a Brazilian jiu–jitsu specialist. His background in Jiu-jitsiu is as follows
Nelson began grappling in 2006, receiving his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) blue belt from Matt Thornton of Straight Blast Gym International. From the age of 17, he continued his tutelage under John Kavanagh primarily, one of Thornton’s students. Nelson first met Kavanagh during one of his BJJ seminars at Mjolnir, and the SBG Ireland owner would remain his head coach until this day. By 2008, Nelson had already progressed far enough for Kavanagh to award him his brown belt, but with Kavanagh not being a black belt for more than six years at the time, he was unable to award Nelson his own black belt under IBJJF rules. Nelson subsequently spent a period at Renzo Gracie Academy in New York to earn his black belt and advance his game further.
Shortly after his arrival, he had competed for their team in various competitions, winning a silver medal in the 2009 Mundials brown belt category. He also won gold at the 2009 Pan American Championship (Gi), along with gold and silver (open class) in the 2009 Pan American Championship (No-Gi). At the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, Nelson took 4th place in the absolute category where he defeated the much heavier and touted BJJ Black Belts Jeff Monson and David Avellan. Gracie had already seen enough, and awarded him his black belt after less than a year with his academy. In 2011, Nelson was again offered a place in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship and had a good run (though not bringing home any medals), defeating the then present and twofold European Champion and multiple Finnish champion Marko Helen and the Brazilian and American champion and former World Champion Bruno Frazzato. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Gunnar has had only two loses in the Octagon one a decision and the other a split decision. It is by such fine margins a career can come to be defined. UFC London is a defining night for Gunnar Nelson. A win and he marches on to a legitimate shot at the Welterweight title but a loss at this stage could force him to consider his future in the UFC. It is almost one year since his last UFC fight and you can bet your bottom dollar that time has not been wasted, especially under the tutelage of John Kavanagh. Gunnar’s Professional Fight record is below.
Alan Jouban will be a very difficult nut to crack make no mistake about that – the contrasting styles of both fighters make this a mouthwatering prospect indeed. Jouban will be very aware of the need to avoid being taken by the hips to the ground early on. Nelson will be aware that if this fight goes the distance he will need to have done a better job of convincing the judges that he has dominated his opponent. I have a feeling though that the time spent out of the Octagon since his last fight and win has been time well spent and that Kavanagh and Nelson are coming to this event with a few new tricks up their sleeve.