Upsetting Night in Stockholm (UFC Fight Night 53 Review)

ufc_fn53It is never an easy thing to move away from home and try to perform at the highest level possible in an intense competition. Yet that is what many North American fighters do time and time again as they consistently travel to every corner of the earth to fight whoever they can. Many times it is just out of necessity as they look to get as many fights as they can in the UFC to give them the best chance at making an impression. It also serves to make them a favourite of the UFC as they were willing to help the UFC out and travel to a different country to fight. The only problem with the travel is the adjustment that these fighters need to make when they go to a new country. Adjusting to the time difference can be one of the toughest parts as they need to be as aware as possible and jet lag can hurt them in a big way. Then there is the adjustment of the diet in a new country that is much tougher in some countries than others. Simply being away from home can affect a fighter as well with everything in a new country potentially making a fighter uncomfortable. It can mess up a fighters pre-fight rituals and for any athlete, messing up a ritual is one of the worst things. It can get into a fighter’s head and destroy their thought process heading into the fight. With the fight game being such a mental one along with physical one, having an unsteady mind heading into the octagon is one of the worst things that can happen to a fighter. So when everything is put together traveling across the ocean to fight in another country is never an easy thing to do. Yet that is exactly what Rick Story was looking to do when he travelled from his home in Vancouver, Washington to Stockholm, Sweden to main event UFC Fight Night 53. Story has his reasons for making the trip to a new country though as he has had an up and down career in the UFC. At times he looks like a legitimate contender with great power that can rival many of the top fighters in the Welterweight division. Then at others he shows his inexperience in being caught by a big punch or a submission. He has been unable to find his groove and continues to win some only to see any momentum he has built fall with a loss. Now with a win over Leonardo Mafra he had the chance to get something going and start rising in the division. That was going to be tough though as he would take on one of the best European fighters in the UFC right now. Gunnar Nelson has quickly become one of the fighters to watch in the division as he has put together an undefeated record in his MMA career. With a 13-fight win streak heading into UFC Fight Night 53 Nelson was clearly looking for another win that would move him up the rankings and into the title conversation. He would look to do this with a superior ground game that hye has used to finished plenty of fighters. It would be smart to take Story down who prefers to stay standing and beat people with his fists. That is exactly the fight would go as both fighters looked to take the fight where they wanted it to go. Story began showing his boxing while Nelson was looking to take the fight to the ground. As Nelson continued to try takedowns, surprisingly Story would not stay there springing up every time the Icelander took the fight to the ground. While on the feet Story would take damage but dish plenty out himself even knocking Nelson to the ground in the fourth round. The fight would end with nobody take the chance to finish the fight and leaving it up to the judges. In the end it was Story who took the fight via split decision in a close fight that was the biggest of Story’s career. The loss for Nelson was a big one and one that ended his 13-fight win streak. He now goes back to the starting point of another run but it won’t be the last time anyone sees him in the UFC. It was the biggest win of Story’s career as he puts one of the biggest names on his resume. He will likely move into the top 15 of the division and will begin his run at the title and if he can continue to string together wins against tougher opponents.

One traveller took the win on the night far away for home but he was not the only fighters taking the long trip from USA to Europe for a fight. Max Holloway would also make that trip as the co-main eventer against the home favourite in Akira Corassani. It has not been something that Max Holloway is used to as he has not travelled outside of the USA all that much. That majority of his career has been spent in the USA with only one trip to Singapore. Now he was travelling to Europe for the first time and taking going behind enemy lines against a fan favourite. Holloway tried not to let it phase him as he had a 3-fight win streak on the line in the featherweight matchup. His opponent, Corassani, was bringing in one loss to this fight as he was trying to get back on the winning track in his home country. The fight matched a pure striker in Corassani against a well-rounded fighter in Holloway. As Holloway entered a new place he hoped that his ability to take the fight anywhere and win would help him overcome the crowd that will be against him and the likely pumped up Corassani. It did not take long for the visitor to show that the travel did not affect him nearly as much as many would think. At the start of the fight it was big trouble for the American as he took a big shot from Corassani that sent him wobbling back. He did recover though and sent Corassani to the mat soon after with a big right hand. The home favourite recovered though, and continued his battle against Holloway until another punch found its home and dropped the Swede. Holloway jumped in and finished the fight in the first round with a big TKO win. It was Corassani’s second loss in a row as he is on a slide and could be on his way out especially if he cannot figure out how to get in the win column. For Holloway it was his fourth win in a row and is sure to put him into the rankings as he starts to make noise I the featherweight division.

 

Fight Bonuses

Performance of the Night
Max Holloway earned his fourth straight win and his fourth straight finish while now adding his second fight bonus to that stretch winning the Performance of the Night bonus for his TKO win over Akira Corasani

Performance of the Night
The main card started with a bang as Mike Wilkinson earned the Knockout and the Performance of the Night bonus for his 79 second knockout of Swede Niklas Bäckström in his first fight in 16-months

Fight of the Night
The Fight of the Night was not in the main card as fans had to tune in early to find the best fight of the night as Dennis Siver and Charles Rosa put on a thrilling three-round bout in the undercard that Siver eventually won with a unanimous decision

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Rick “The Horror” Story def. Gunnar “Gunny” Nelson
(Split Decision)

Main Card:

Max “Blessed” Holloway def. Akira Corassani
(TKO; Rd. 1)

“Książę Cieszyński” Jan Błachowicz def. Ilir “The Sledgehammer” Latif
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Mike “The Warrior” Wilkinson def. Niklas Bäckström
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Undercard:
Nico “Nico” Musoke def. Alexander “Thunder of the North” Yakovlev
(Unanimous Decision)

Dennis Siver def. Charles “Boston Strong” Rosa
(Unanimous Decision)

Cathal “The Punisher” Pendred def. Gasan “Cobra” Umalatov
(Split Decision)

Krzysztof Jotko def. Tor “The Hammer” Troéng
(Unanimous Decision)

Mairbek Taisumov def. Marcin Bandel
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Zubaira Tukhogov def. Ernest Chavez
(TKO; Rd. 1)

 

Upcoming Events

UFC 179: Aldo vs. Mendes II (Saturday October 25th; 10:00 pm ET)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Maracanazinho Gymnasium)
Main Event: Jose Aldo “Junior” vs. Chad “Money” Mendes [Featherweight Title]
Notable: Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis vs. Glover Teixeira
Notable: Fábio “Caipira de Aço” Maldonado vs. Hans Stringer

UFC Fight Night 55: Rockhold vs. Bisping (Friday November 7th; 8:00 pm ET)
Sydney, Australia (Allphones Arena)
Main Event: Luke Rockhold vs. Michael “The Count” Bisping
Notable: Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson vs. “Ragin” Al Iaquinta
Notable: Guto Inocente vs. Anthony “The Hippo” Perosh

UFC Fight Night 56: Rua vs. Manuwa (Saturday November 8th; 10:30 pm ET)
Umberlandia, Brazil (Tancredo Neves Gymnasium)
Main Event: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa
Notable: John “Hands of Stone” Lineker vs. Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall
Notable: Warlley Alves vs. Alan “Brahma” Jouban

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