Twenty-six-year old Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson began boxing at 10-years old. Along with his striking background, He presently holds a purple belt in jiujitsu. Gustafsson began training for his MMA career in his native Sweden in 2006. Fighting out of Stockholm, he made his mma debut in Lahti, Finland at Shooto 3 in November of 2007. There he submitted Saku Heikola via rear naked choke late in the second round. Less than a month later he faced Mikael Haydari at FinnFight 9 in Turku, Finland. He finished Haydari via TKO in less than one minute of the opening bell. 8 weeks later, he made his home country debut at ZoneFC 1 in Stockholm where he TKO’ed Farbod Fadami halfway through the first round. 5 weeks later he flew to Dubai where he TKO’ed Florian Muller at Fite Selektor. In May of 2008, Gustafsson defeated Matteo Minonzio at ZoneFC 2; another TKO, another first round victory.
Gustafsson failed to finish for the first time in September of 2008 at KSW: Extra in Poland. He won a unanimous decision over Krzysztof Kulak in a two five minute round affair. The Mauler closed out his first year in the sport with a TKO victory over Pedro Quetglas at ZoneFC 3. The referee called the bout two minutes and eight seconds into the first round. Within his first year of fighting, Gustaffson recorded a record of 7-0 with 6 finishes, 2/3rds of which came in the first round. In his last fight on the regional circuit, Alexander KO’ed Vladimir Shemarov at Superior Challenge 3 in two minutes and thirty seven seconds of the first round. Less than 6 months after the Shemarov knockout, Gustafsson made his UFC debut at UFC 105 in Manchester, England.
In his UFC debut, Alexander knocked out Jared Hamman in forty one seconds of the opening bell. The 9-0 Gustafsson faced defeat for the first time at the hands of Phil Davis at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. Davis caught Gustafsson in his go-to Anaconda choke with five seconds to go in the first round. The Mauler rebounded with back-to-back submission victories of his own over Cyrille Diabate and James Te-Huna. Going 3-1 in his first four, Gustafsson’s contract was renewed and he TKO’ed Matt Hamill at UFC 133 in Philadelphia, PA; fighting for the first time on a stateside UFC card.
Gustafsson continued his win streak with a TKO victory over Vladimir Matyushenko at the 2011 year end event in Las Vegas, Nevada. He finished “The Janitor” in two minutes and thirteen seconds of the first round. Gustafsson then headlined his first card at UFC On Fuel TV: Gustaffson vs. Silva. He fought Thiago Silva for fifteen minutes and went to decision for only the second time in his career. Defeating Silva by unanimous decision earned The Mauler a shot at former Light-heavyweight champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Rua and Gustafsson faced off at UFC on Fox Henderson vs. Diaz on December 8th, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. 15 minutes of fighting later, Gustafsson walked away with a unanimous decision victory and a six fight win streak. He was expected to fight Gegard Mousasi in April but was denied by a Swedish athletic commission due to a laceration suffered in training. His misfortune turned out to be an opportunity in the end as developments within his division quickly pointed to him as the #1 contender and the next in line to face Jon Jones. Gustafsson will get his first title shot on September 21st, 2013 at UFC 165. It will be the first time this year that he has fought. The champion, Jon Jones, is coming off of an injury to his big toe suffered during his April 2013 bout with Chael Sonnen.
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