Fight Island MAULING: Heavyweight Clash of Giants! Gustafsson vs. Werdum Prediction
A main card heavyweight tilt between two battle contested vets, looking to rejuvenate their careers.
Sat, Jul 25 / 8:00 PM EDT UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates.
Gustafsson out of Retirement, Move to Heavyweight
The jump from light heavyweight to heavyweight is never an easy task considering the massive weight differences some of the larger heavyweights posses. However, Gustafsson was always considered huge for the 205 pound division and at times had to cut 30-40 pounds to make the 205 limit. He has a huge 6'5 frame and I expect him to come into this fight around 240 pounds looking happy and healthy. I like the career move to heavyweight because as long as Jon Jones is the champ, I do not see Gustafsson getting another title shot unless he goes on a huge run in the 205 division. If his heart is in it, Gustafsson 2.0 should be able to utilize his technical striking, strong wrestling, and newfound heavyweight power to take over the division.
(3 piece and a soda, 'The Mauler Edition')
Post USADA Werdum
At 42 years old, Werdum is a legend of the sport and a former UFC heavyweight champion when he defeated Cain Velasquez in 2015. Since then, Werdum has rattled off a 3-4 record with wins over lackluster opponents such as Travis Browne, Walt Harris (took the fight on a day notice), and Marcin Tybura. In 2018, Werdum was popped by USADA and was forced to take an extended layoff until he fought Olineik in May 2020 where he looked slow and sloppy. It could have been the ring rust as he started to come on later in the fight, but I have a feeling Werdum's best days are officially behind him............ well unless he is back on the roids.
Gustafsson vs. Werdum Prediction
There are a lot of unknowns in this fight. I am unsure how Gustafsson's power will translate to heavyweight, but I am confident in his cardio and takedown defense to keep this fight standing for the duration of the contest. According to the UFC stats, Gustafsson has a remarkable 85% takedown defense, while Werdum's takedown accuracy is at an uninspiring 27% success rate.
After Werdum's last performance, I can not justify picking him in any way unless he can somehow drag Gustafsson to the ground and submit him. I see Gustafsson picking him apart at range with a lot of volume strikes, and looking to avoid Werdum in close proximity where Werdum can utilize his superior clinch work. Gustafsson at the current -350 Moneyline is not an intriguing number, so if you want to cash in you will have to do a prop bet unless you plan on doing a parlay with other fights. I can see Werdum slowing down considerably throughout the fight and I expect a refreshed Gustafsson to cruise to a unanimous decision victory.
Prediction: Gustafsson by Decision