Icelandic UFC Fighter Gunnar Nelson is set to compete against decorated veteran Demian Maia tomorrow at UFC 194 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For many fight fans this is a fantasy matchup, as both are decorated grapplers with black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Gunnar has said in interviews that he definitely hopes the fight “goes to the ground,” which would show which of them is the more skilled grappler.
We interviewed the calm and collected Gunnar last year, when he was about to face off against the Russian Omari Akhmedov. He has since fought against Zak Cummings, Rick Story, and John Hathaway, losing only to Rick Story.
While Gunnar Nelson is ranked #11 in the UFC welterweight division, his opponent is ranked #6, making this Gunnar’s toughest fight on paper.
Demian Maia has been on a win-streak lately, winning his last three fights. Demian believes that while Gunnar has an advantage with his strikes, he himself is the better grappler.
Both fighters have been respectful in the buildup to the fight, refraining from trash talk. The same cannot be said of Gunnar’s teammate, Conor McGregor, who is headlining the event against featherweight champion Jose Aldo, and has taken every opportunity to try to get under Jose’s skin.
This is Gunnar’s seventh fight in the UFC.
The Calm Warrior
Bouncing back and forth inside the octagon-shaped cage in Nottingham, England, Icelandic fighter Gunnar Nelson lands a kick to DaMarques Johnson’s head, evades a flurry of blows, and then pulls his opponent down to the canvas. Avoiding a shoulder lock, he then secures a hold of his opponent’s back and slowly but surely slips his right forearm under DaMarques’s chin, finishing him with a “rear-naked choke.” DaMarques taps out, forfeiting within the first four minutes, securing Gunnar his first win in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Mixed Martial Arts’ (MMA) premier league.